Music fans turn out for Record Store Day

Vinyl revival as punters flock to pick up rare releases

Independent record stores in Dublin enjoyed a vinyl revival yesterday when music fans came out in droves to support international Record Store Day.

Customers queued outside Tower Records and Freebird Records in Wicklow Street from early yesterday morning, hoping to nab one of the many limited-edition releases by Irish and international acts.

Record Store Day is now in its sixth year, and the 2013 celebration has shaped up to be its busiest yet. The initiative was set up in 2008 to try and encourage people to put down their downloads for just one day and engage with music in a more tactile, sociable way.

In its first year, there were 10 special releases to mark the day; this year, 400 special releases were available for music fans, including records by David Bowie, Kate Bush, Jimi Hendrix, The xx, Gram Parsons, Nick Drake, Phoenix, Mike Oldfield, Michael Buble, Foals, Morrissey and Villagers.

Flaming Lips released a special four-disc vinyl box set of their experimental album Zaireeka, whihc is designed to be played simultaneously on four turntables, while a picture disc version of David Bowie’s 1973 single Drive-In Saturday was also available. One of the biggest homegrown sellers was a single by Cavan teenagers The Strypes, who recently appeared on Later… with Jools Holland.

Both Tower Records and Freebird Records had their best sales day of the year. It was "even better than Christmas", according to Freebird Records' Gareth Averill, who believes the recent closure of HMV has left a gap in the record-collectors' market which is being filled by the surviving independent stores.

“It’s almost turned full circle now, and the key demographic is now people under 18,” says Averill. “They’re coming in and buying Nirvana and all the classics. The biggest fear was that the younger kids would grow up with iPods, but they’re growing out of their iPods. The physical product is becoming desirable again.”

“I’m looking for the David Bowie seven-inch,” said Gemma Behan (21) from Kildare, a student at Trinity College. “I prefer buying singles and CDs to buying digital. There’s nothing like having the physical thing. When you buy a download, you’re paying almost the same price for something that basically doesn’t exist.”

About 2,000 record stores around the world took part in Record Store Day, including the US, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada and, for the first time this year, Mexico.

“Deadly buzz down @Freebird Records. Great to see so many people buying records,” tweeted Dublin band Biggles Flys Again, who performed at Freebird Records during the day.

Other bands performing at Madison on Wicklow Street and Twisted Pepper on Middle Abbey Street included The #1s, Nanu Nanu, Tieranniesaur, Jennifer Evans, Squarehead, The Hot Sprockets, Gypsy Rebel Rabble and I Am The Cosmos.