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Local Life

Day of note for record stores

Annual event brings vinyl fans in for rare releases


One of the best things about the annual Record Store Day event, where local record stores all over the metro area open their doors to an intense rush of passionate music fans, is meeting people who share a passion for music.

“Record Store Day really feels like a community event,” said Chelsea Bashford, one of the employees at Arvada’s Black and Read book and music store. “You get a chance to meet other people who live in the area and love music just as much as you do.”

Record Store Day falls on Saturday, April 21, and as has become the trend in the nine years since the first day, this year will be bigger and busier than any that have come before.

“Record Store Day is by far our biggest day of the year,” said Paul Epstein, owner of Twist and Shout Records in Denver. “Every year Record Store Day becomes the biggest day in our history. We try to make it a fun event for everyone who comes in on the day.”

On Record Store Day, special vinyl, tape, CD releases and various promotional products are made available exclusively for the day. These items include rare releases, never-before-heard songs and albums, and uniquely colored vinyl — in other words, a music collector’s dream.

“There are items every year that sell out super quickly, either because the musician has a lot of fans, or because the piece is really rare,” said Aaron Bogue, media buyer at Angelo’s CDs and More, which has locations on Broadway, East Colfax and in Aurora. “Those first 30 to 40 minutes are my favorite part, because you get to watch people go after a physical thing that means a lot to them.”

The annual day was created as a way to celebrate the world of record stores — not only owners, their employees and the musicians, but also customers who keep these local businesses alive at a time where so much of music is consumed via the internet.

Record Store Day encourages shoppers to celebrate their local stores, which are a vital part of the community and economy and provide a place for people with a shared interest to gather. In a celebration of brick-and-mortar business, many go all out for the day — Twist and Shout offers coffee and food for those who first arrive, Black and Read will have local bands performing throughout the day, and Angelo’s will have special free items available to shoppers.

“We open early and do our best to make sure we have at least one copy of all the releases in all three of our stores,” Bogue said. “It’s something people look forward to, and we want to do our best to ensure we have the releases.”

Some people line up hours before store openings, so if one is really interested in getting a particular release, arriving as early as possible is recommended. After 10 years, most record stores are experts at moving people through the process, but a little patience goes a long way.

“We try to spread stock out throughout the store so people aren’t all grouped in one place,” Bashford said. “There’s no holds or anything like that in advance, so it really is first come, first served.”

Despite some jostling when everyone is trying to get in, Epstein said that most people get what they’re in for. And even if not, there are so many quality releases that shoppers might discover something they didn’t even know they wanted.

“I got into this business because I’m a vinyl guy and a collector, so in that role, there are always some releases I’d like to get my hands on,” he said. “As a member of this community, Record Store Day is special because people go out of their way to support you and thank you for being around.”


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