August 19, 2020
Record Store Day is the one day audiophiles look forward to every year. It’s a day when they make it a point to get up early, frequent the local independent record store, and peruse hundreds of newly released, and often limited run, vinyl pieces from artists that span the spectrum of music.
Since its inception in 2008, Record Store Day has become the world’s largest single-day music event.
But the world is different now and this year’s Record Store Day, like a lot of things in 2020, is going to look different as well.
Split three ways
The one-day event has been divided into three Record Store Day Drops on three separate Saturdays: Aug. 29, Sept. 26, and Oct. 24. This spreads the fun over three days and promotes safe, socially distanced events by dividing the amount of product available into thirds.
In turn, the increase in number of events should also help get more people into the stores more often, right when these independent stores need it most.
Locally, you will be able to find most of this year’s Record Store Day drops at any of Fort Wayne’s three Wooden Nickel Records locations as well as Neat Neat Neat Records and Music.
Wooden Nickel is celebrating its 38th year in 2020. According to Bob Roets, owner of Wooden Nickel and Neat Neat Neat, they will have a limited number of goodie bags filled with free stuff again this year, but unfortunately will not be able to host the usual beer tent and food truck in the North Anthony parking lot.
They also are sad to say they will not be able hand out any of Cindy Roets’ famous homemade cookies this year nor have any live entertainment in the stores. Still, there will be plenty of highly sought after product available for purchase.
Unlike in past years where most of the vinyl was concentrated at the North Anthony Wooden Nickel location and store openings were staggered so people could get in line at all locations for more chances to get what they want, Roets is planning on opening all four stores at 10 a.m. on those Saturday mornings.
“We are also dividing the product up amongst the four locations,” Roets said. “The reason we are doing it that way is to help spread out the usual crowds and be responsible in social distancing.”
Hand sanitizer and gloves will be available and masks will be required.
From classics to cutting edge
Most of the pieces scheduled for the original Record Store Day in April are still set for release on one of the Record Store Day Drops. But Roets said, “About 25 of the titles originally scheduled for Record Store Day have been released already because the artist didn’t want to wait.”
Some of the Aug. 29 titles Roets expects to be highly sought after include Live at Third Man Records from Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney’s McCartney, and releases from The Black Keys, David Bowie, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Gary Clark, Jr., The Cure, Def Leppard, Dio, Ace Frehley, Jethro Tull, Elton John, Judas Priest, and John Lennon, just to name a few.
The Alternate Rumours, an album full of previously unreleased versions of all the songs on Fleetwood Mac’s seminal album Rumours, leads the lineup for the Sept. 26 drop. A live five-album set from The Grateful Dead, recorded in Buffalo on May 9, 1977, is a highlight of the Oct. 24 drop.
The full list of available titles is at recordstoreday.com, though Roets says he likely won’t have every title. Because of the limited quantities of some of the titles, he is never sure which releases he will get until just a few days before the event.
While Roets said his stores were closed for 40 days during the pandemic, 2020 has still been a big year for his family as they were able to add Neat Neat Neat Records and Music to the fold late last year and reintroduce it to the community with a wider and fuller product range this year.
The store was previously owned by Morrison Agen, a fixture of the local music scene who decided to sell the store in order to pursue other opportunities. The store was bought by Roets in order to continue to allow that store to serve a part of the city that desperately wants and needs a record store.
“Because the store was so well respected, we wanted to keep the name the same,” he said, “but we added stock and made a few changes.”
When the virus hit a few months after the acquisition and the store had to close, Roets’ son Christopher, the manager of the store, put a cot up on the stage in the store and stayed there for about four weeks, working on improvements night and day.
“He had so many things he wanted to do,” Roets said, “like building dozens and dozens of new bins, adding a wall of T-shirts and a wall of guitar and drum accessories and bringing in more equipment like turntables and speakers, that he just decided to stay there. Even now, he keeps expanding the product base by continually adding more brands.”
Now the store is fully stocked and in great shape to handle the additional traffic flow from the Record Store Day Drops, as well as continuing to serve the needs of music aficionados on a day to day basis.
“We were so glad to save that store and keep the name and identity,” Roets said. They can’t wait to show it off on Record Store Day.
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