Sunday, 19 April 2015

Record Store Day - 18th April 2015

Record Store Day has been running since 2007 and it's something I've always meant to attend. Unfortunately, I've missed the past few due to either being in transit or out of the country. So 2015 was going to be my year!

A quick internet search told me that it was probably going to be a long day and, for the UK version of RSD, this proved true.

In my case, that “bit of a wait” turned into three hours. Only a single store in our county was taking part, hence the huge queue at 8.30am on a Saturday morning. Hardly surprising considering that Leicester has quite a musical heritage. 

The queue at 8.30am. The store is somewhere in that arcade!

One of the beautiful things about RSD is that it not only gives people the chance to get their hands on exclusive, one-day-only-limited-print-run releases, but it also champions the little guy. Those stores that would otherwise go out of business thanks to the likes of Amazon, ebay, and HMV now get the chance to draw in new customers. And they got me hook, line, and sinker.

So, 8.30am on a Saturday morning in April, I joined the back of a very long line. I had a list of four of the day's releases and I knew that there were two I probably didn't have a hope of getting (and would probably have to resort to ebay later if I felt that I needed them). The line kept growing.

And growing.

And growing.

I have no idea how many people were waiting for this store to open but it was A LOT! Friends who attended other RSD events were shocked at just how long we queued for. But, when you finally got into the store, you realised why.

Rockaboom Records is TINY! Teeny tiny and perfectly formed with racks of records along the walls and a twin rack at its heart. RSD for them was a two man job as there really wasn't room for anyone else. Think your grandma's front room and you've probably hit the total floor space of this store.

But they took amazing care of the people standing in line. As well as a special queue area, they had staff members constantly walking the line to make sure that everyone was okay. They handed out cakes and generally made the wait as easy as possible.

Record Store Day is an amazing opportunity to discover new places, find new bands, and meet new people. As well as finding a new independent store to support, I know that I'll definitely be attending again as well as exploring the other record stores Leicester has to offer.

A few pieces of advice for if you are planning on going next year:

  • Wear comfortable clothes and take water and snacks. You might be in for a bit of a wait.
  • Releases are limited edition (normally to around 2000 or less) and not every store will have equal amounts of each release. Some may only have a single copy while others will have 30+. Some stores will tell you in advance how many they have in stock, some won't tell you at all so as to retain the hype and mystery. Don't get your expectations on what you want too high. Chances are, it'll be sold out when you get to the front of the queue (unless you were the first person in the queue, of course! But even that's not guaranteed if the store are holding copies of a certain release for someone). Go with a list that has back up records that you're happy to own. I wanted the Metallica and Foo Fighters ones but knew I probably wouldn't get them. Instead, I came home with Stone Sour and Slayer. I got to have a day out and a bunch of fun so I'm a happy bunny. It would be sad to spend time waiting only to leave empty handed, as I saw several people do. At the end of the day, you're helping an indie store stay in business. The more business they do, the longer they'll be with us.
  • Get there as early as you can. Because of the distance to my nearest participating store and the times that public transport started, I didn't have a choice but to get there when I did. I know that the people at the front of the queue arrived at 5am.
  • Everyone in the queue is there for the same reason so make friends with the people around you. I did just that (Hi, Dave and Hannah!) and had an absolute blast! The three hours absolutely flew by and I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! It also helps if you need to go for a bathroom/cigarette break or if you need to make a run for food and drink.
  • If you're not feeling sociable, take a book/MP3 player/phone.
  • Most of all, enjoy the day and encourage other stores to get involved for the following year! The more stores that do it, the more fun we can have!

Did you attend Record Store Day 2015? If so, what were your experiences? Feel free to leave them in the comments or on the Facebook page!

My "haul" from Record Store Day 2015

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