Record Store Day is 10 on Saturday – marking a decade of the global celebration of independent music shops.
The unlikely comeback of the vinyl format has shown no signs of slowing down – sales topped three million last year, the highest UK total in 25 years. More than 3.2 million records were sold in 2016, a rise of 53 per cent on the previous year.
This weekend shops across Sheffield will be taking part once again. Queues are expected as customers vie to secure copies of the usual limited edition releases, while many stores are planning special events to add to the atmosphere.
Record Junkee, which recently moved to Earl Street, is marking the day for the first time in its new location, opening at 8am. There will be acoustic performances in the shop throughout the day and, after hours at 10pm, Jon McClure of Reverend and the Makers is playing a DJ set.
“It’s growing year on year,” said Martin Leverton, owner of Record Junkee, which has signed up to Record Store Day for the past five years.
“We’re all excited, really. There are lots of quality releases for the day, and obviously the best thing about it is that it’s just for independents, to get people to come our to support shops.
“It’s first come, first served, everything is in the racks, and whoever’s in the queue will get first dibs.”
The full list of exclusive releases runs to more than 500 titles – items likely to be coveted include an unreleased 7” demo version of The Smiths’ The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, and a freshly-pressed reissue of Elastica’s self-titled 1995 debut album.
“It’s a misconception that things are too expensive,” said Martin. “Stock is arriving now and it’s quite sensibly-priced. I think people want an actual product, rather than a file on a computer.”
The attractive artwork is also a factor, he added, and artists can track how many copies have been sold. “If you buy a record you know artists are going to get paid.”
Elsewhere in Sheffield, in Meersbrook, Spinning Discs on Chesterfield Road is teaming up with its neighbours, Mexican restaurant Wah Wah and The Tramshed bar for a day of music, food and drinks.
The shop will open at 9am, but there will be free tea and coffee served for the queue from 8.15am.
Anyone who spends £50 on records is entitled to a free tote bag to carry their haul, and those who buy more than £100 worth of records will receive a Pete McKee T-shirt.
Wah Wah will host live music from midday to 7pm, with free admission. Artists on the bill are Joe Charnley, Richard C. Bower, Penny, Long Strung Creatures, Rehash, Tom Baxendale, Otis Mensah and High Hazels.
Meanwhile, LP Record Store on Arundel Street also has a role in Saturday’s festivities. After opening for the day’s trading, owner Mark Richardson will decamp to The Washington pub on Fitzwilliam Street for a night of live music from 8pm.
Bear Tree Records in Orchard Square, Tonearm Vinyl in Walkley and Record Collector in Broomhill – where hundreds of people have lined up outside in the early hours of the morning in previous years – are all involved on Saturday too. Bear Tree is running a £15 ‘blind buy’ sale in aid of the Cathedral Archer Project.
As well as the return of vinyl, there are also signs of an equally surprising revival of cassettes, but Martin said the trend hadn’t reached Record Junkee yet. “For us it’s predominantly vinyl. But the whole vintage thing is back.”
He held out the tempting offer of free coffee and bacon sandwiches, courtesy of The Moor’s bosses, for those waiting on Earl Street on Saturday.
“There will be a queue. Hopefully it’ll be a good day for all independent shops in Sheffield.”