Fred's Records celebrates International Record Store Day

Fred's Records, an institution in St. John's for more than four decades, celebrates International Record Store Day.

'We were always improvising. We were always positive,' says manager Tony Ploughman

Fred's Records has been selling music for 44 years. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

International Record Day celebrates and spreads the word about the thousands of independently owned record shops around the world and Fred's Records in downtown St. John's is joining in the celebration Saturday.

Fred's Records is Newfoundland and Labrador's only independently owned record store and has managed to stay relevant in the music business for years by being creative and nurturing local music.

"Local music is quintessential as far as our agenda goes. We carry music from all over the world, vinyl is a big part of our business here and I guess we're a typical old fashioned record store, been at it for about 44 years and we provide a little something for everybody," said manager Tony Ploughman.

Tony Ploughman, manager Fred's Records, started working with the store 32 years ago in 1984. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

"It's been a very, very important part of the process for us over the years to be involved in the development of the Newfoundland and Labrador music industry … getting behind the artists," said Ploughman, who started working at Fred's in 1984 — 32 years ago..

"We were always improvising. We were always positive, we always catered to our hard core clientele … we weathered a few storms, there's no doubt about it."

Celebration of unique culture 

Fred's Records carries music form all over the world, but has made a point of nuturing homegrown talent. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

Record Store Day was officially launched by Metallica in April 2008 at San Francisco's Rasputin Music — ambassadors for this year's event.

Stores from every continent except Antarctica participate.

Ploughman said his store will be filled with a lot of energy as well as hundreds of vinyl releases and limited editions that have been made specifically for the day.

"It's the record store at it's most fun and energetic. It's kind of like an Easter egg hunt. People come in and just go for all the racks looking for that rare item … it's not surprising for us to have a major lineup out our front door," he said, adding there will be many in store specials.

People can check online to see what kind of releases will be available, said Ploughman, but all the racks at Fred's will be covered Friday evening and things kept secret until they open the next day as part of the fun. 

'Element of pride'

The store says younger customers are starting to buy vinyl and CDs again. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

Ploughman said he feels privileged to be working in the music industry in this province, watching the success and rise of local artists.

He added that it's been an honour to be able to talk to people about their music and promote it.

"I think there is a great deal of pride in how the industry has evolved, how diverse, dexterous, varied the talent is — how rich the talent is and we've seen the industry association here evolve in leaps and bounds," Ploughman told CBC's Weekend AM.

"Especially all the kids growing up, music fans, they see what's going on here. They recognize good talent, good work so I think there is definitely an element of pride in that."

He said there is no "typical Fred's customer" these days, and it's great to see so many young people buying music again like they used to.

"They weren't necessarily buying physical product five and 10 years ago ... I mean our customer base is all over the map and musically we carry everything from the blissful to the sublime to the ridiculous."

with files from WAM