Nfld. & Labrador

Why stream when you can spin? Record Store Day unites generations of vinyl fanatics

Music nerds flock to the shops for the annual celebration of all things vinyl.

Shoppers lined up outside Fred's Records in St. John's to search for new tunes

Music lovers lined up to shop special Record Store Day deals in St. John's. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Bruce Gilbert can't remember which record he bought first.

It was probably Deep Purple's Machine Head, or maybe it was Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

There's also a chance it might have been the Stampeders with From the Fire.

Gilbert can't say for sure. It was over 40 years ago and he was just a teenager.

But since then, Gilbert's collection has exploded. He's been collecting records ever since, through 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs.

"We watched all the formats change over the years," said the 60-year-old Gilbert of his generation. "Some of us are more stubborn than others about changing formats."

'One of the biggest days of the year'

Gilbert, a regular customer at Fred's Records in downtown St. John's, joined hundreds at the shop on Saturday. It's Record Store Day, an annual event celebrated by music sellers across the world.

Stores like Fred's offer special promotions to mark the occasion which began in 2008. Many artists produce limited-run releases available only on vinyl.


"It's one of the biggest days of the year. It's certainly the only day we have a massive lineup outside," said Tony Ploughman, the manager of Fred's Records.

"It goes all the way down to the end of the block, so it's a big day."

Thrill of the hunt

Gilbert, who has a Spotify account to stream music online, said records offer a unique listening experience.

Plus, there's the thrill of the hunt.

"For me it's used records, the hunt for the gem," he said. "The one you could never find."

These days, Gilbert is consulting heavily with Fred's staffer Andrew Smith who is already cultivating his own collection.  

Record Store Day, celebrated by music sellers worldwide, is an annual appreciation of all things vinyl. Stores like Fred's Records offer special deals and artists produce limited-run, vinyl-only releases. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The two trade recommendations, which is a common sight at the shop, according to the 21-year-old Smith.

"It's a community hub," Smith said. "The same as a coffee shop or book store. It's a place you can learn about things."

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Weekend AM and Jeremy Eaton