Record Store Day: Brownswood pop-up record store

Photo: Gina Morris

With a generation of young people who have access to free (and largely illegal) music downloads, it is more obvious than ever how important record stores are in the lives of the music fanatics.

They have different purposes: from kids placing adverts asking for fellow band mates, to being a place where you can listen to records you’re just not too sure about and providing space in which everyone can hang out peacefully knowing the common interest is music. This is what downloading and online shopping can never compete with. Record stores are a physical experience for all in which everything is new and discovering your next musical love is just around the corner.

In celebration of Record Store Day, Old Street was hosting the Brownswood pop-up record store. It was bustling with people drinking, chatting, flicking through vinyl and generally soaking up the atmosphere. Hosted by Gilles Peterson, it felt like a fun and friendly venue with people coming together to celebrate their true love of music.

Following live performances from acts such as RocketNumberNine, Obenewa Orsii and Eliphino was the vinyl auction. Donations were given by people such as Thom York, Zane Lowe and Jamie Cullum with one-off records up for sale. After serious vinyl fans waved their hands in the air paying up to £135 per record, there was a full set from Jesse Hackett (from Owiny Sigoma Band) and spectacular grooves from bPm on DJ duties.

All the proceeds from this pop-up event will go to the Steve Reid Foundation which was set up by Gilles Peterson in 2010. Reid died from throat cancer without having enough money to buy treatment to save his life. He had played with James Brown, Miles Davis and Fela Kuti through to his own Steve Reid Trio as well as Kieran Hebden (Four Tet). Proceeds of this charity will go to other struggling musicians in need of help and support, through the Musicians Benevolent Fund.

It was a great day to see music fanatics out in force especially after seeing the New York Times reporting a 20% fall in CD sales in 2010. It was a great opportunity to watch those crazy vinyl fans searching for that one-off record and attend free gigs hosting new artists so everyone could come together and support the indie record stores fighting for survival. Here’s hoping this magical yearly tradition continues before digital technology takes over forever!

By Gina Morris

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