Record Store Day

At the tender age of 14 years old I bought my first album, ‘Lizard’ by King Crimson from a local independent record shop, Left Bank, in Exeter.  I spent an inordinate amount of my teenage years flipping through 100s of vinyl albums. Sometimes I’d take a potential purchase to the counter and ask for it to be played in the shop’s booth. It was a delightful oasis of music of every genre. 

It originally opened, plus coffee bar, in 1963 by Richard Wilson prompted by an idea from his wife Charlotte and was still running at least 20 years later. “We opened only a few months after the release of the first Beatles’ single and just before their first LP but the biggest seller, by some way, was Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters which topped 600”.

Although many independent record shops have bitten the dust, like Left Bank, Record Store Day first started in 2007 when a gathering of record shop owners came together in the US to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture of record stores.

The first official event took place on April 19th, 2008, and today it is celebrated by thousands of record shops all over the globe in what’s become the biggest new music event of the past decade.

Record Store Day is a day for the people who make up the world of the record shop – the staff, the customers, the artists, the labels – to come together and honour the special role they place in their local communities. In the UK, over 270 shops participate in every corner of the country. 2024’s Record Store Day Ambassador is Kate Bush who joins an illustrious list of artists including Taylor Swift, Elton John, Noel Gallagher and the 1975.

“What a huge honour to have been asked to be Ambassador for this year’s Record Store Day. It really is a great privilege” Kate Bush. 

Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events to mark the occasion.

Multi-Platinum singer-songwriters Olivia Rodrigo and Noah Kahan team up on a special live recording of Olivia Rodrigo ‘Stick Season’/Noah Kahan ‘Lacy’ on BBC Radio 1 that will be available in participating independent record stores.

Support your local record shop or lose it! 

The Vinyl Curtain, 47a St James’ Street. Resident Music, 27-28 Kensington Gardens. Rarekind Records, 104 Trafalgar Street. Bella Union Vinyl Shop, 25 Church Street. Cult Hero, 16 Brighton Place. Family Store Records & Gallery, 74 North Road. The Record Album, 8 Terminus Road.

Words: Kairen Kemp

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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