Like every event everywhere, Record Store Day 2020 is no stranger to rescheduling due to coronavirus.
For the first time in its 12-year history, there’ll be no in-store parties or live gigs.
Instead, the annual celebration will be socially-distanced with pre-booked buying slots for collectors.
But at a time when the music industry has been virtually silenced, this year’s edition is seen as vitally important for stores struggling to stay open.
‘We’re celebrating music again’
“We were all so relieved when they said it was going ahead,” says Hannah Tinker from Wilderness record store.
Based in Withington, a small village on the outskirts of Manchester, Wilderness opened on 13 April 2019 (which happened to be the date of last year’s Record Store Day).
“Our first year’s been an odd one,” she says.
“We spent our birthday in lockdown… Of course, lockdown’s been really hard. Obviously, you don’t really know what to do. We’ve never been in this kind of position before.”
This year’s Record Store Day was originally due to take place on 18 April.
It was then pushed back to 20 June, before moving to a new format with three “drop dates” over the next three months starting on 29 August.
“Record Store Day is the first big music event that hasn’t been cancelled,” says Hannah.
“It’s such a relief because the music industry needs a push right now. It feels like we’re celebrating music again… and reminding people that records stores are here.”
‘Starved of music’
Stores will be taking part in the event in different ways, ranging from bookable browsing slots to operating socially-distanced queues.
For those customers who do not wish to visit a store, special releases will be made available online after fans have been given a day to visit shops in person.
As well as the record store owners, the artists involved in this year’s event see it as a chance to reconnect with fans after a summer without festivals.
“We’ve had a few opportunities to perform as the band but the whole industry has been affected,” Biffy Clyro’s James Johnston tells Newsbeat.
“People have been starved of music, starved of being in a field at festivals… but Record Store Day is almost more than the music… it’s the community that comes with it.
“To get it coming around again is hugely positive.”
The band will be releasing covers of Frightened Rabbit and David Bowie on vinyl as part of the event.
Christine and the Queens, Tom Grennan, Elton John and Tyler, The Creator are also among the hundreds of acts putting out limited-edition releases in a bid to support the UK’s record retailers.
This year’s Record Store Day ambassadors The Big Moon have also recorded three live tracks direct to vinyl which will be available on the day.
As well as giving fans a chance to get their hands on new music, James says this year’s event is “a huge thing for so many people” in the recovery of the music industry following lockdown.
“Even before COVID it’s been really tough for local record stores,” he explains.
“Record Store Day is an important part of the musical landscape.
“The venues, the staff, the people behind the scenes that you might not think about… they’re the people who are probably finding it most difficult to be honest. My heart really goes out to them.”
‘Excitement and apprehension’
Like a lot of newer independent record stores in the UK, Wilderness doesn’t just rely on selling records to stay afloat.
It doubles up as a bar, cafe and music venue to create, what Hannah describes as, a “hub in the local area”.
Having a bar and café on site means Wilderness was able to re-open slightly earlier after lockdown than some other record stores, which have stayed closed until this weekend.
“There are so many stores who haven’t been as lucky as us to keep going,” explains Hannah.
“We know a lot of people who haven’t had jobs for a while. So Record Store Day’s a weird mix of excitement and also apprehension and hoping everyone’s alright and keeps safe.
“But it’s just nice to have something to look forward to… a celebration for record stores, the industry, artists and especially independent businesses.”