Record Store Day at Rough Trade: Lengthy Lines, Exclusive Vinyl Releases, and Live Music


Derek Dignan, an avid vinyl collector, eagerly approaches the numerous crates of exclusive records on sale at Rough Trade for this years Record Store Day. His eyes dart rapidly along the line of crates, hoping to find the vinyl records he came for today.

In his head, Dignan is praying that the exclusive releases he came for, Fidlar's self-titled picture disk, Bleachers' MTV Unplugged recording, and Swans' Die Tur Ist Zu, is not sold out. Reaching arms from other hopefuls extend out to the crates all around him, making Derek nervous that they might grab the exclusive he has his eyes on before he can.

It's National Record Store Day, and it's also Derek's only moment to purchase the exclusive Record Store Day releases that are on sale today.  He has been waiting in line for this moment, amongst other vinyl collectors, for almost 4 hours now.

This is just a small snapshot of Record Store Day at the infamous Rough Trade, a spacious music store located on North 9th Street in Brooklyn, New York. Rough Trade, on days other than Record Store Day, is already known for its wide selection of records. Upon entering the store, one is greeted with warehouse-like architecture, and to the left of the entrance, one is able to explore rows and rows of vinyl collections, which range from new hip-hop releases, all the way down to vintage, classic rock box sets.

Derek Dignan, our eager vinyl collector, says that he knew he could depend on Rough Trade to get all of the exclusive releases he needed. "Rough Trade is the only place that I can be 100 percent sure has all of the exclusive titles available," Dignan said. "As great as they [smaller stores] are, smaller record stores don't always have everything I need."

PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge / BLENDED ( Derek Dignan and girlfriend Cassidy Grady with the records he purchased at Rough Trade )

PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge / BLENDED (Derek Dignan and girlfriend Cassidy Grady with the records he purchased at Rough Trade)

Many other Record Store Day goers had the same realization as Derek. In fact, enough to bring those in hopes to snag a Record Store Day exclusive to wait in line outside of Rough Trade as early as 9 p.m. the night before. The line of people with the same motive would eventually go on to accumulate a 4 hour wait by early noon.

On waiting in line, Dignan says, "Honestly it was fine," he said, "Everyone in line was super cool and talkative, and the staff was super helpful." Derek's point was proven truthful, as he introduced me to the older man behind him that he had befriended that day. The man wore a big smile, and a hopeful attitude for both him and Dignan. Later, when the man saw that Derek got the Fidlar record he had hoped for, the man let out a joyful scream, and raised his hands up in the air to high-five his buddy of the day.

Speaking of wants, some of the most called for exclusive releases of the day included Ella Fitzgerald's Ella Live at Zardi's blue and pink opaque vinyl, Sufjan Stevens' Mystery of Love translucent pressing, and a compilation record from various artists of the 60's, titled, Iconic Performances From The Monterey International Pop Festival. These titles were some of the first to sell out at Rough Trade for Record Store Day.

Record Store Day at Rough Trade is not only a Black Friday-esque ordeal, but a day that celebrates the music itself. The boisterous music emporium also includes a quaint venue in the back of the house, which held free performances on Record Store Day from noon until 4 p.m. Doors of the venue opened up to visitors at 11:30 a.m. with a different artist or group taking the stage every hour. The artists that performed on the Rough Trade stage during Record Store Day included Bambara, Chris Stamey, Wooing, Titus Andronicus, and The Shacks.

PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge / BLENDED ( Titus Andronicus’ performance from the balcony of  Rough Trade’s venue )

PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge / BLENDED (Titus Andronicus’ performance from the balcony of  Rough Trade’s venue)

Justine, 21, who payed a visit to Rough Trade for Record Store Day, said that she spent her time at Rough Trade not because of the exclusive releases, but for the live music. "I've been going to Rough Trade for Record Store Day almost every year now," she said, "I enjoy it here because of the free sets they have during the day, and the free signings." On the exclusive releases, Justine says, "I admire the people who have the patience to wait in that line."

Record Store Day, with its first official day being on April 19, 2008, was created to celebrate the culture that surrounds the establishments of record stores. This includes everything from those who work at the stores, to those who enter the doors of a record store on any given day to purchase music. According to, the celebration of Record Store Day spans past the 1,400 participating stores in the United States, with Record Store Day participating stores up and running on every continent except Antarctica.

"It's become a tradition,” said Justine, "Record Store Day is about getting to meet new people, and talking to new people about new music."

Lead Image Credit: Sarah La'Berge / BLENDED

Team Blended