Whether you’re a casual music listener or a full-fledged audiophile, Record Store Day 2019 is the perfect opportunity to indulge your senses.
“It’s a day for local independent record stores to celebrate still thriving in the digital age,” said Blake Lundell, co-owner and operator of Lavender Vinyl on Historic 25th Street in Ogden.
Record Store Day, an annual one-day event, happens this Saturday. It is exclusive to independent record stores, many of which are spread across the Wasatch Front.
“We have been involved since day one,” said Dustin Hansen, general manager of Graywhale, whose locations in Sandy, Taylorsville and Ogden will all be participating. “We’ve watched it grow every year, and this one is expected to be pretty big.”
Started in 2007, Record Store Day is “a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1,400 independently owned record stores in the U.S. and thousands of similar stores internationally,” according to the official website for the event.
“It’s just a really awesome day to celebrate not just us as a store, but to celebrate the customers and our staff,” Lundell said.
Every year, collectors have been known to line up for a chance to grab an album that was previously unreleased on vinyl, or a limited pressing of one of their favorites.
“The release list this year is really large,” said Hansen. “There are about 350 special, limited-edition releases available.”
Some of the albums available this year include the soundtrack to the Academy Award-winning “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse,” a “Baby Shark” picture disc, and a live Pearl Jam album recorded at Easy Street Records in Seattle. The members of Pearl Jam are also the ambassadors of this year’s event.
“Previous ambassadors have included Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Dave Grohl, but Pearl Jam seems to be bringing a lot of old guys out of the woodwork to buy records,” Hansen said.
Founded by members of the Department of Record Stores (DORS), Record Store Day is now in its 12th year. Hansen is a member of the board of directors for DORS.
“The first year, the advent of vinyl coming back was just starting,” said Hansen. “At the time, all these record stores were closing, CD stores were going out of business; it was all digital.”
Working in conjunction with the Alliance of Independent Media Stores (AIMS) and the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS), Record Store Day is now an international event.
“It’s a good group of people that genuinely care about independent retailers and independent markets,” said Hansen. “They know how important it is to have a store where you can get physical media, and working with the record labels to remind them that as much as they want to go all digital, they can’t. You need something tangible for people.”
Participating retailers frequently take the opportunity to make the event as engaging for the customer as possible, typically scheduling events all day. Lavender Vinyl will be offering numerous sales and exclusive t-shirts. Last year, Graywhale had an LP painting station at the Ogden store, and this year it will have different events happening at all three locations — all of which open at 8 a.m. Saturday.
“We work with local vendors,” Hansen said. “We’ll have local artist Furturtle at our Taylorsville location selling his posters, DJ Hitchhike will be in Sandy spinning records, and we’re hosting a free pancake cookout in Ogden.”
Some events even continue after the shop doors close.
“We’re partnering with the Lighthouse Lounge,” Lundell said. “They do a vinyl night every Wednesday where you can bring an album in and they’ll play a side for you, but we’re doing a special event on Saturday, including an afterparty show featuring local musicians.”
Customers are encouraged to arrive early and to not be discouraged if they don’t find exactly what they’re looking for.
“It’s really hard to order as much as we want for everyone,” Hansen said. “There’s always someone disappointed because we get allocated; you can only have so much because everything’s so limited. We place our orders almost a month in advance.”
Because the event isn’t tied to a specific business, if you don’t find what you’re looking for at one store, you can always try another.
“It’s better to have all these places and be able to celebrate them on a day like this,” Hansen said, “as opposed to everyone closing down and all of a sudden you don’t have any options.”
One brand new item being unveiled at this year’s event is the RSD3 Mini Turntable from Crosley.
“It plays plastic three-inch records,” Hansen said. “These are limited to 4,000 pieces for just independent record stores.”
Popular in other parts of the world, the mini turntable is launching in America through Record Store Day. It includes a 3” single from the Foo Fighters, and additional blind box sets will be available from Epitaph Records and Blind Man Records.
“It’s a really cool item,” Hansen said. “It’s a novelty, and while it’s not the greatest sound quality, it’s fun.”
If you don’t have a vinyl collection but have always wanted to start one, this yearly event might be the perfect jumping off point.
“Record Store Day is a good introduction to records if you’re just getting into them,” Hansen said. “It’s collectable pieces that are rare, that are yours. The whole idea behind vinyl, besides it sounding nice, is that it’s collectable. For whatever reason, as humans, we like to collect stuff, and this is fun stuff.”
No matter what your musical tastes are, Record Store Day 2019 is bound to have something for everyone.
“It’s a crazy fun event that you have to see for yourself,” Lundell said. “Everyone will love the vibe that’s going on that day. It’s kinda like Christmas to us; it brings that much joy.”
For a full list of Record Store Day 2019 releases and participating retailers, visit http://recordstoreday.com.