Record Store Day began in 2008 as a way to showcase independent record shops. On Saturday, I headed down to Rough Trade to see what the 2016 edition had in store.
Rough Trade was due to open at 8am. By the time I’d dragged myself out of bed (this is a Saturday morning we’re talking about) and driven into town, I arrived at around 8:10 – rookie mistake. There were already about 150 people waiting outside and I joined the back of the queue just outside Hartley’s.
It turns out that Rough Trade had actually opened at 6am to serve breakfast (although the shop itself didn’t open until 8). For some people, this still wasn’t early enough – while I waited to get inside I saw on Twitter that some folks had arrived at 5am and, as evidence by a sprinkling of snow on my drive over, it had not been a particularly warm morning.
To be fair to them Rough Trade did a great job with the crowd, allowing people into the bar upstairs to grab a bite to eat or a coffee and then using a raffle ticket system to let people into the shop in the right order. I was given raffle ticket 199 and I have no idea how high the numbers would have got to during that morning. As we waited to be let into the shop I sat on the stage and made full use of the free Wi-Fi.
Eventually, 20 of us were called to replace those who had made their purchases and left. A mild mannered hipster scrum broke out as people started searching racks of vinyl for those ultra-rare records. For my part, I managed to find what I was after – an alternate mix of Clouds Taste Metallic, the 1995 album by The Flaming Lips which came with a comic book drawn by lead singer Wayne Coyne.
By the time, I got into the store, they only had two copies left and the other had gone by the time I joined the line to pay – I was starting to see why some people had been up at 5am in hope of getting some of the really rare stuff. All in all, it took me around two and a half hours from when I joined the queue until I paid for the record. Even then, when I left the shop there were still around twenty people waiting to get in. I fear there may have been some people disappointed that they weren’t able to get what they wanted.
For me this is part of the problem with the day – I’m sure that most of the people in that queue with me on Saturday morning were serious music fans who would probably often shop in independent record shops anyway. How many of them were just casual music fans? In fact how many of them were just up early to flip a few records on eBay and make some money?
Take nothing away from Rough Trade though, they ran the day brilliantly, putting on DJs and live music throughout the day. I’m just worried that if something else comes out next year that I really want, I might have to get up even earlier.
Record Store Day – 16/04/2016 at Rough Trade
Originally published on the On Nottingham website