The Vinyl Vision, Fantasyland Records offers nice shopping amongst affluent Buckhead

Located in the Buckhead Village, Fantasyland Records has a vast collection of different records and CD’s that cover decades worth of music. Photos by Justin Clay | The Signal

Among the pastels, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and The Velvet Underground’s banana litter the walls. Below and expanding the store, there are crates and crates of records down in Fantasyland.

Modestly run by a few, Fantasyland Records has been selling and buying vinyl and LPs since the ‘70s. They have the largest selection in town of mint condition pre-owned vinyl.

“We’ve been in Buckhead since 1976. We were here before it became our ‘Beverly Hills’,” Mark Gunter, the store manager, said.

Gunter has worked as the store manager since the 1982. It is owned by Andy Folio, who named it Fantasyland due to the high percentage of comics sold at that time. There are still comics, albeit few, sold in the back room of the store. The staff entails simply the two with some extra help enlisted on Saturdays and Record Store Days.

The neighborhood of Buckhead is characterized as the opulent side of Atlanta, with boutiques, restaurants and big name stores that don’t make for a casual day on the wallet. Fantasyland remains a part of the area that is isn’t highly priced and capable for regular visits.

“I think people find it comforting to still see a piece of old Atlanta remaining amongst all the new glamor and glitz going up around us,” Gunter said. “A local indie record store right next to glittering ‘Buckhead Atlanta’.”

Due to the “glittering” aspect of the area also means the foot traffic has been of the star studded variety. Fantasyland has received various big names, some multiple times.

“We’ve had quite a few of the celebrity types come in the store over the years.” Gunter shared.

Robert Plant, who bought a stack of 8-tracks, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke, Elvis Costello, Peter Buck & Mike Mills of R.E.M., Fred Schneider of the B-52’s, Questlove and Chris Robinson are some of the famous faces Gunter is able to recall.


The Collection

Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Like many record stores, alternative and rock music reign supreme with the vinyl format.

However, Fantasyland houses all genres. The dominant category throughout the stacks is 1960’s to 1980’s classic rock and new alternative rock from the 1990’s to now.

It isn’t all just rock throughout the store, the various genres that can be found in Fantasyland are:


  • Classic Rock
  • Indie/Alternative Rock
  • Punk/Hardcore
  • Jazz
  • Pop
  • R&B
  • Soul
  • Hip-Hop
  • Country
  • Classical
  • Folk
  • Blues
  • Electronic
  • Spoken Word
  • Foreign
  • 1950’s and 1960’s vocalists
  • Soundtracks
  • Political/Historical


Why Vinyl?

As shown by the subculture in Atlanta’s very own Little Five Points, there has been a resurgence in vinyl buying and stores in the past few years. What was once considered by some a relic of the past is now bought regularly at stores such as Fantasyland.

“Over the last few years, young people have discovered the indie record store culture for the first time. They see how much fun it is to seek out, purchase, listen to, and collect records,” Gunter said. “They feel a part of a community. They see how much more personal experience it is to have an actual piece of vinyl, that you have to listen to all the way through. Instead of downloading individual songs, they’re hearing albums the way artists meant them to be heard.”

Whether the music discovered be from the 1960’s or something much more recent, Gunter laments that a specific community has been given room identifying them as ‘the cool kids.’

Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

In addition to the vast collection of records, Fantasyland sells CDs, cassette tapes, stickers, t-shirts, comics and posters that are hung up around the shop.

The medium of vinyl is also just as a draw as the community is. With a vinyl album, there is 12” x 12” album art with sometimes extras inside such as posters, stickers and booklets.
“You can`t get all of that with little CDs or downloads.  It’s fun building your own personal record collection,” Gunter said. “Someone’s record collection can tell you a lot about their personality. Plus, vinyl sounds so much better.”

Presently, there is a generation discovering vinyl being raised by the generation that personally grew up and watched vinyl come and rise. This combination creates a special instance where music lovers can share something timeless.

“We’re also seeing a lot of people who grew up with records in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s buying new turntables and going back to vinyl,” Gunter shared. “We’re seeing entire families coming in together to look for records.”

In the Buckhead cozy and soft-hued shop, the intimately numbered staff can be less like walking through an antiquated pastime and more of a colorful addition in a music lover’s life.

“Watch the film ‘High Fidelity’, that’s basically us,” Gunter joked. “Though, we’re nicer to our customers.”


A Pick for You:

Mark Gunter recommends:


“Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys

“I always say, pick up a copy [of “Pet Sounds”]. Listen to it, be amazed by the incredible beauty of it. You’ll end up
taking it to your desert island.” Gunter said.




Special Vinyl Dates


The Third Saturday of April

Record Store Day is an annual event founded to celebrate the culture of the independently ran record store. On this day, people go out and support their local record shop.


Black Friday, Nov. 25

There are dramatic markdowns on all records.


Photo by Justin Clay | The Signal

Sell Your Discs

Along with selling, Fantasyland will buy used records for money.

The qualifications are it has to be the type they are looking for and the record itself has to be in near mint condition with no scuffs or scratches.


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