Record Store Day is an annual event - a day to celebrate music and the independent music retailers that take the time to get to know us, to special-order, to make recommendations, to create an atmosphere. Most record stores that participate in Record Store Day offer some form of on-the-day entertainment, instore performances and/or guest DJ spots. There are sometimes spot prizes or discounts - and then there's the mega-list of special, Record Store Day exclusives; vinyl releases - both brand new product and reissues - that have been timed for the day, many of them only available for a limited time.
One of the big-ticket/hot-ticket items this year is R.E.M.'s Unplugged shows; yes, shows - plural. A 4-LP gatefold set houses the complete performances - never before released - from 1991 and 2011.
Here in Wellington Slow Boat Records has already announced instores from Louis Baker and Julia Deans and has one more exciting instore to announce.
Record Store Day was started in 2008. I've made an effort to be involved in some way every year. I usually go down for a stroll through the stores, make a few purchases, catch some of the entertainment. I missed last year's David Kilgour instore - fortunately he played a gig in town that night too.
But in a way, Record Store Day isn't for me. I'm aware of the stores, and I support them. Heading down to the local record store is part of my beat. It has been since I was about 10 or 11 years old. And it's still a regular Saturday morning ritual - or Friday afternoon...
Part of the aim of a dedicated day in celebration - in raising awareness - is to attract new customers, to get the family along, to thank customers for their support too - as much as anything it's a chance for the record stores to make themselves known.
Every year I do my best to help promote the event in whatever way I can - including offering up this blog as a platform (so if any other stores would like to get in touch I'll happily broadcast any special events) in hoping to engage with some of the target audience for Record Store Day.
Every year someone makes a comment about not needing the stores, about records being archaic and it being a snobby event; someone else will talk about how it's absurd and there might as well be a Supermarket Day, a Toy Store Day, a Dinner Set Day.
This is a music blog - so it always seems a good place to mention Record Store Day.
The event first started in 2008 and it's grown every year. I know Slow Boat Records has celebrated Record Store Day every year.
This year's ambassador for the event is Chuck D.
And the official film of Record Store Day 2014 is Jaco - the documentary about Jaco Pastorius.
What are your thoughts around Record Store Day? See any must-haves from the list of special items? And do you know of any other events happening on the day - or any tie-in gigs that evening perhaps? Feel free to mention any gigs or events from your local store or if you'd like more of a plug, closer to the event, please get in touch.
Record Store Day is a fun day out for record lovers, for music lovers.
This year's Record Store Day is Saturday, April 19 (aka Easter Saturday).
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.