At Ballard's Bop Street Records, thousands of records are waiting to be picked up by a vinyl enthusiasts on Record Store Day.
Vinyl and Booming Amps: fifth annual Record Store Day celebrated in Ballard and internationally
On Saturday, April 21st, in Ballard and around the world, independent record stores opened their doors and vinyl collections to celebrate the sixth annual Record Store Day.
Founded in 2007 by Brian Poehner, Carrie Colliton, Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Amy Dorfman, and Don Cleave, Record Store Day is a celebration of the unique culture surrounding independent record stores and musical artistry.
According to RecordStoreDay.com, 23 record stores and affiliates in Seattle celebrated Record Store Day this year.
“It’s a day that makes people aware that independent record stores are still here and viable,” said Jason Hughes, owner of Sonic Boom Records located on Market Street in Ballard.
Sonic boom records has had a busy month building up to the Record Store Day celebrations by hosting performances earlier this month by the Lumineers and We Are Augustines.
On the day itself, Sonic Boom Records hosted an in-house performance by Star Anna as well as a side walk sale and a listening hour featuring Jack Whites new album, “Wonder Bus”.
Hughes, who has owned the store for 15 years said Record Store Day is the busiest day for sales besides Christmas.
And Sonic Boom wasn't the only Ballard record store entertaining a crowd on Saturday. Across the street, Bop Street Records had thousands of records in their collection waiting for record enthusiasts to flip through.
“Of the half a million records in the store, all are at the VG + (Very Good Plus) standard, with the exception of the classical/opera records. They are at the mint minus standard,” said business manager, Bob Jacobs while holding up a gleaming Ray Charles record.
Records are inspected under what Jacobs called “full spectrum lighting,” in which every rudiment of dust and sliver of hair is illuminated against the black sheen surface of the vinyl LPs.
“Any record that is below VG + is donated to a local thrift store,” Jacobs said pointing to a large box of records ready for pick up.
For Record Store Day, Bop Street offered no charge for sales tax if customers mentioned a secret word that they have covertly placed in media outlets around Seattle.
“The whole promotion was meant as a collaboration with the music industry and independent record stores to showcase musicians work… we have over 150,000 45’s and 78’s, 8 tracks and cassettes, and out of print albums – over half a million pieces of music in almost every genre you can think of, ” said Jacobs.
Dave Voorhees, owner of Bop Street Records and known in some circles as a “vinyl savant”, said that vinyl record sales have been steady and that Record Store Day is a time to have a full staff to answer questions about the records.
“I sell fifty to one hundred [vinyl records] for every CD, and I never had any inclination to switch to CD’s and to not sell records,” he said.
Voorhees, who started selling vinyl records out of his parents home 28 years ago has moved his store to various locations in Seattle, but has been in Ballard since 1984 and at his current records store location since 2010.
“My wife and I love it in Ballard, so we stayed,” said Voorhees.
For local stores Record Store Day was once again a celebration of music, discovery, and as Jacobs of Bop Street said, “a vinyl feast.”