San Diego Metal Swap Meet - The Event For Metalheads That Miss "The Social Aspect Of Being In A Record Store And Discovering New Bands"

October 12, 2022, a year ago

By Benjamin Niebla II “Lord of PR”

feature heavy metal san diego metal swap meet

San Diego Metal Swap Meet - The Event For Metalheads That Miss "The Social Aspect Of Being In A Record Store And Discovering New Bands"

Since 2009, the San Diego Metal Swap Meet has brought a unique event to Southern California. The event provides a place for metal merchants to sell their clothing, art, CDs, vinyl, patches, and just about anything else heavy metal related. It also offers a DJ, playing everything from early heavy metal favorites, to obscure metal gems. This is not only a merchandise central event, but it is also a social event, where old friends meet, and new friends are made.

The San Diego Metal Swap Meet has a tradition of offering an all ages avenue for the younger crowd to experience the record store vibe of the 80’s and 90’s, while also seeing a well-known live band, to close the event, all for a very affordable door fee.

Past performers and special guest: DJ Katon (from HIRAX) / Derek Riggs (legendary Iron Maiden artist) / Exhumned / Cage / Thanatology / Slaytanic / Cattle Decapitation / Sadistic Intent / Dreaming Dead / Gravehill / Condemned / Anger as Art / Hellhunter / Sons of Satan (Venom Tribute) / Ruines ov Abaddon, Eukaryst / Lou Rusconi / Peter Beste

San Diego Metal Swap Meet promoters Brian Parker and Israel Pelayo speak with Benjamin Niebla II about the event being held this Saturday, October 15 from 11:00 AM – 6:00 pm (Pacific) and the Setting Sun Sake Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA.

What circumstances led to the creation of the San Diego Metal Swap Meet?

Brian: "I worked at the famous Blue Meannie Records here in San Diego, and when it closed, I felt that this left a void for metal merchandise, as well as a meeting place for metalheads in San Diego. From there I talked with my buddy Israel Pelayo, and we thought it would be a cool idea to host a "Metal Swap Meet" in my driveway. We planned, promoted it, and it was successful. We had 15 vendors and over 200 people came out."

Israel: "Pretty much the decline of the record industry basically led us to creating our own event showcasing the sale of physical metal media."

What were the initial plans for starting the metal swap meet as well as your future goals for the yearly event?

Brian: "The plans were to have fun. We were happy to see attendees and vendors happy, and we knew we may have stumbled across something special. In the future we would like to have more special guests. Musicians, artists, and anyone who metal fans would like to meet, get an autograph or picture with. We believe anyone into this music would really enjoy the Metal Swap Meet experience."

Israel: "Brian and I didn’t really have much of a plan when we first did it. We just wanted to hang out with friends and trade some cds and vinyl. We were very shocked when we suddenly had hundreds of kids in our driveway so the response was a pleasant surprise. After the first one we decided to make the event something more formal and more organized."

What have been some of the major obstacles of putting such an event for the past 12 years?

Brian: "Basically, learning how to do all of this. Neither of us have a background in events, so we had to figure it out. We are lucky to have a great group of volunteers that help us out every year. Some obstacles have been having to move locations. We were on the verge of not having the event after our downtown venue moved to a smaller location, but happened to get lucky enough to meet Josh from Setting Sun Sake, and he offered to host us that year." 

Israel: "Some of the bigger challenges involve booking a venue that will let us host an all-ages event with bands and with alcohol."  

Is there a big metal scene in San Diego, California?

Brian: "It's never had a huge metal scene, but I've seen it grow a lot in the last 20 years. We now have a club that has at least weekly metal shows, in Brick by Brick. They are sustainable, and have had tons of packed shows."  

Israel: "The Metal scene in San Diego is kind of small when it comes to local events, most people just come out when big bands like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest roll through town. We have a lot of people that come from out of town for our event so it helps quite a bit."

What personal accomplishments have you achieved over the years in the history of promoting the San Diego Metal Swap Meet?

Brian: "Getting to see an event go from my driveway, to where it is now is pretty incredible. Seeing kids that attended a few years back form their own metal bands is pretty surreal. We have met so many bands and fans that have now become friends. It can be a lot of work, but we also get to see the smiling faces come through the door, and that's pretty rewarding." 

Israel: "For me, the time we had the Metal Swap Meet in downtown San Diego was the biggest highlight for me. Having Jag Panzer perform live and getting Phil Anselmo and Superjoint do a meet n greet was just phenomenal."

What artists are on your short/long list for future events?

Brian: "I don't have any bands in particular. We are trying to get bands that seem like they would fit in to the community feel of our event."  

Israel: "I think that a band like Cannibal Corpse or Maiden would be in our ultimate wish list. We want to grow slowly into the premier metal event in So Cal so we have to measure our growth and make the right moves to keep the event happening on a yearly basis".

Why do metal fans need to attend the 2022 San Diego Metal Swap Meet?

Brian: "It's a damn good value! $20 at the door gets you 70+ vendors, 5 amazing bands including thrash legends Evildead, Slough Feg (first time in San Diego, I believe), the 'Atomic Clock' himself Gene Hoglan, as well as DJ Katon of Hirax, and original Iron Maiden artist Derek Riggs. There will also be food and drinks for sale, and it's all ages! The best part? Hanging out with a great group of metal fans! It's just once a year, so come on out and let yourself have fun." 

Israel: "I would say that if anyone misses the social aspect of being in a record store and discovering new bands and albums and also meeting with like-minded individuals then this is your type of event.  This is a 100% family friendly event as well so you can bring the kids, enjoy a cold beer and buy as much metal merch as your heart desires.”

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