Exile on Main honors Record Store Day with its own event
April 22, Record Store Day, was forecasted to have storms but turned out to be an amazing day with the sun shining and music playing in downtown Champaign.
Record Store Day is an event that started about 10 years ago as vinyl records revived in popularity. It was started to encourage communities to check out their local independent mom and pop shops, as exclusive vinyl records would be sent out to these places to encourage vinyl enthusiast to come in.
Exile on Main Street is a record shop in downtown Champaign that participated in this year’s celebration. Previously located next to Mary Ann’s, they have since moved to 100 N. Chestnut St. This new location has allowed them to do more for Record Store Day. This year they had a two-stage set up, where musicians alternated between performing inside and performing outside.
Record Store Day, however, was not without its difficulties, says Mike Ingram, who is a booking and local music coordinator at Exile on Main Street.
“It’s difficult to make everyone happy,” Ingram says, “but it’s become such a huge thing nationwide, and even internationally, so sometimes you get people calling to see if they can get a certain thing that they saw online, however it might be a UK exclusive and then they have to try their luck online.”
Online sales present a problem for record stores, as sometimes individuals who come to buy records simply sell them online the next day, with no intention of listening to them. Record storeowners can usually spot these people out by their general indifference towards everything else going on and focus only on getting specific records.
Exile has a system to make sure that people get what they want fairly. They give people a number and ask them what the top records they want are. Then Ingram will go set those aside, if they have them.
This system helps to guarantee that those who put in the time to get records will get them. It also helps alleviate fighting over records as people may know beforehand whether certain items are no longer available. Customers can also now browse around other records they may have wanted to get that day instead of having to run to the register.
Flipping through vinyls on Record Store Day is an extremely satisfying experience for some.
“You’re flipping through the records and the stickers describe things that you didn’t even know existed or wanted, but now I do, because I’ve taken the time to look,” says Ingram.
Customer feedback is important. Ingram is always asking customers about how they feel about Record Store Day and what the store could do to improve.
Another aspect of the experience was the live music, which featured a lot of local musicians. Every year Ingram and Jeff Brandt, the owner of Exile, sit down together to bounce ideas of whom they will ask to play. They try and make sure the same artists don’t play every year so that there are a variety of musicians each time.
“I want it to be fresh new list every year which will hopefully bring in new people and for the people who come every year they get to see something different,” says Ingram
This year they had bands from Chicago like the 92’s and the Districts, the latter being from Philadelphia. The Districts played an acoustic set, which was very different from their later set at the Accord featuring the full band.
Some of the exclusives that could have been found at Record Store Day at Exile on Main Street were the Dave Mathews Band “Live at Red Rocks” box set, a promo rarities box from David Bowie, Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy,” one of the Head and the Heart seven-inch vinyls and a few others.
For those planning on attending next year, there is always a line before the doors open, sometimes even from the night before, so get there early.
For more information on Exile on Main Street visit their website at exilemainstreet.com.
Record Store Day for 2018 is on Saturday, April 21.