A Marathon, Not a Sprint: My First
Record Store Day

This was my first official Record Store Day. My plan ­was to hit all the record stores I could. This is Record Store Day we’re talking about, go big or go home right? I had a schedule of when each store was opening, and I had my list of “must have” RSD releases. I even restrained myself from buying music in preparation for this day because I knew I was going to drop a good amount of money. I was pumped and ready to go.

I started the day off strong paying a visit to my local Arlington store the CD Cellar. They opened at 10 am, the earliest out of all the stores. I was there with about ten other people scouring the shelves for RSD releases. The first one I picked out was Mississippi John Hurt, The Immortal LP. The Foo Fighters release was in high demand and was quickly taken off the shelf.

I picked up the Eric Clapton and John Mayall 7” and The International Submarine Band LP with the exclusive 7” included. I saw the John Hammond LP I wanted, Skip James, the Mumford and Sons/Laura Marling 10”, and a few others on my list. There were also a couple of albums that were in the bins that I of course needed to have. I realized this could really get out of hand.  My plan was to buy something from every record store, and I needed to pace myself. This was a marathon, not a sprint. I restrained myself, purchased the first three records, and went on my way to D.C.

It was 11:00 a.m., time for SMASH! Records according to my schedule. As I made my way up 18th Street, it was apparent that this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. There was a line outside of Red Onion about thirty deep, and another line wrapped around the ally for Crooked Beat. These stores weren’t even opening until 12:00!  I made a strategic decision to get in line. I chose to go with Red Onion since I had been to the other stores before, plus it had the smaller line.

While waiting in line, people were on their phones talking with friends at other stores checking on their status in line. There was talk back and forth about which store would have certain releases. One person I met had a significant other in Nashville who wasn’t able to get any RSD releases because it was so crowded. I heard that Crooked Beat had The White Stripes 7” releases. I knew going in to this day that there was no chance I would get my hands on those. Being The White Stripes fanatic I am, those 7” releases would have been the epitome of an RSD purchase.

Waiting in line wasn’t all that bad, even with the rain. Everyone in line was really friendly and in good spirits. We were all out there standing in the rain together, so we weren’t alone in our craziness. (It is slightly crazy to stand out in the cold rain for hours just to purchase vinyl.) It was, however, cool to know that all across the US, other crazy people were lining up outside their local record stores.

In the end, I got into Red Onion around 1:45. It was another thirty minutes or so until I got my turn at the RSD releases. (They kept them behind the counter so it was not a free-for-all.) When I got my turn, I picked up the Skip James LP and the Jimi Hendrix 7”. There were still a few on my list that I couldn’t get at Red Onion, so I went back to the CD Cellar and picked up rest of the releases I was eyeing during my first visit. Despite the rain and the long lines, it was a successful Record Store Day. Once I recover financially, I will go back to the stores I missed and will continue to show my support.

My intention was to hit all of the local D.C. record stores in effort to show my support, but after standing in line for about three hours, it just wasn’t going to happen. The lesson I learned is that RSD isn’t a day for getting to every store; every other day is. Record Store Day is about rallying around independent music stores and making people aware that vinyl and record stores are alive and well. It also doesn’t hurt that we get a chance to purchase some really awesome and rare pieces of music. It was fantastic to see so many people come out and show their love. Now we get to carry that love and support for our local record stores all year round by going back.

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  • Olivia

    I went to the CD Cellar in Falls Church first, then hit up Som, Red Onion, Crooked Beat, and Smash (and then Som again). Wish we’d met up!!


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