Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

The vinyl countdown for fans of records


Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published April 4, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

It’s the day we celebrate the independent record store. It’s the day we celebrate music and community. And it’s the day music lovers have celebrated since 2008.

This year, Record Store Day is on April 13, and the excitement begins in Fort Wayne at 8 a.m. inside all three Wooden Nickel Music stores and at Neat Neat Neat Music on South Calhoun Street.

Neat Neat Neat

Head downtown to Neat Neat Neat Records and Music and you’ll find that owner Morrison Agen has stepped his game up this year with some exciting changes and additions to how his Record Store Day celebration will run.

The store underwent a bit of a transformation last year, adding the ability to sell liquor, and has begun the process of adding a kitchen in the hopes of offering food options in the not-too-distant future.

Always looking for ways to improve the shopping experience for customers, Agen has switched up the way Record Store Day releases will be sold at his store this year. Because some of the pieces are ultra-rare and almost all of the pieces released that day are limited in supply, Neat Neat Neat will reward those who are willing to wait in line the longest.

Agen and his staff will take lists from the first persons in line and fill everything on them until they either run out of product or run out of people. The former is more likely, but it’s his innovative way to make sure your time spent outside in the unpredictable Indiana weather will be worth whatever sleep you’ve sacrificed in the name of music.

“In the past, most people usually begin to arrive around 6:30 or 7 a.m.,” Agen said in a Whatzup interview. “But there have always been people who have waited a lot longer than that. I’m not sure when people will arrive this year.”

Agen hopes this new idea will give an incentive to those willing to wait longer. And yes, Agen said he will once again have a portable toilet available for use near the line for those feeling the need to camp out for the chance to buy their favorites.

Agen thinks some of the hotter pieces will include the mono release of Pink Floyd’s A Saucerful of Secrets and the new vinyl releases by local bands Rosalind & The Way and Metavari, “but I’m usually wrong when I try to predict everything that is going to be hot,” he admited. “I mean, who could have predicted the popularity of the Space Jam soundtrack” a few years ago.

Bands start playing inside of Neat Neat Neat at 11 a.m. and continue with a new band every hour through a closing performance by Neat Neat Neat recording artist James & The Drifters at 9 p.m.

The Poem Market pop-up store runs from noon-4 p.m. and Bravas will be on site offering up food to fill bellies of hungry patrons, with Upland Brewing Company serving up tastings from 3-5 p.m.

Agen said there are other surprises in the works but they hadn’t been confirmed as of press time.

An afterparty featuring Near Mint recording artist Sirius Blvck takes place at The Brass Rail starting at 10 p.m.

Wooden Nickel

At Wooden Nickel, owner Bob Roets centers most of his attention around the North Anthony location, although all locations will have some of the more than 400 unique pieces of exclusive Record Store Day product available.

Roets has booked 11 bands to play in the North Anthony store, beginning every hour on the hour. Free stuff will be plentiful as the first 600 shoppers to enter Wooden Nickel stores receive “goodie bags” full of music-related items and everyone can enter a drawing once in each location for the chance to win one of several giveaways including Wooden Nickel gift certificates, a Bluetooth turntable, Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti box set, Metallica’s Master of Puppets box set, and a 50th Anniversary Beatles box set.

Old Crown will provide free coffee at the North Anthony Wooden Nickel and Cindy Roets will once again have an ample supply of her famous homemade cookies as well. Also, Sol Kitchen’s food truck will be parked outside offering up their delicious cuisine.

A new Wooden Nickel T-shirt, designed by Tricia Cavender of Rhapsody Art Gallery, will be available for purchase this year, with a portion of the proceeds once again benefiting Community Harvest Food Bank. This is the first time Roets has used a local artist to design his RSD shirt, fulfilling his promise to involve more of the community each year.

Last but certainly not least, legendary radio host Doc West will be on hand chronicling the action on WXKE and giving tickets away to several events at The Clyde Theater by hosting Doc’s Trivia Contest in between bands.

In addition to the happenings inside the store, the North Anthony Corridor Group is getting in on the action again this year with an outside beer tent featuring six bands, scheduled to begin every hour on the half hour.

“This will allow us to have music non-stop the whole day,” Roets said in a recent interview with Whatzup. “When bands are transitioning in our store, the bands in the tent will already be playing and vice-versa.”

Also sponsored by Rhapsody Art Gallery and Dogfish Head, the tent festivities kick off at 11:30 a.m. Some of the other businesses in the strip mall, including The Rhapsody Art Gallery and Sweets So Geek, will be offering special items and sales that day as well.

Roets said the special release from Greta Van Fleet, their first album From The Fires pressed on vinyl for the very first time, will be one of the items with the biggest demand this year. But he also cited the RSD3 Mini Turntable, an actual mini turntable made to play a special 3” vinyl, as an item that will sell out quickly.

Labor of love

An exhausting day to say the least, and no one will be more exhausted at closing time than Roets and Agen. But it’s a labor of love and it’s a day they both look forward to every year. Record Store Day was conceived to help independent record stores fight the big box stores, and it appears they are winning the fight as few big boxes actually carry music at all these days.

Vinyl sales are up dramatically over a few years ago while music sales in general continue to fall, indicating that a once-dead medium has actually become the saving grace of the industry.

“We’re lucky to have a couple of days now that we can count on to get people in the store, thanks to Record Store Day,” Agen said. “It’s a community celebration that takes place all over the world and one that we are excited to take part in. Watching people pick up that one piece that completes their collection or that hard-to-find item that adds to their collection is what it’s all about. We hope people come in and get what they want, but they are always welcome to stay the whole day. And we hope they do.”

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