Massive brawls broke out between vinyl enthusiasts and police at several independent record stores Saturday, leaving an embarrassing scar on the 10 year anniversary of ‘Record Store Day.’
Record Store Day is an annual event first conceived in 2007 to “celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store.” The day brings together fans, artists and thousands of independent record stores from all over the world. A number of records are pressed specifically for each country, with a unique list of releases for each participating store worldwide.
The chaos began before many shops even opened their doors, preventing thousands of vinyl lovers from taking advantage of special, once-in-a-lifetime limited releases.
The incidents ranged from minor melees to mass evacuations and lockdowns.
Chicago PD spokesman, Sgt. Barry Judd, said a large group of 40 somethings had gathered in the parking lot of Championship Vinyl before a huge, “battle royal style brawl” had broken out – prompting the store to cancel the event.
“[The crowd] kind of morphed from this general feeling of hostility to a full-fledged riot,” Sgt. Judd said, “we had no choice but to evacuate the lot and close the store.”
Unfortunately for Rob Gordon, owner of Championship Vinyl, that meant losing out on business. “Record Store Day is my biggest sales day of the year,” said Gordon, “I’ll be lucky to recover from this.”
Santa Monica, California
New wave record store TRAX, located on the historic Santa Monica pier, wasn’t open a full hour Saturday before eight unruly patrons, aged between 49-51, were arrested after fighting over copies of Just Say 50: Sire Records 50th Anniversary Box Set.
Phil “Dukie” Dale, who was involved in the fracas but lucky enough to escape charges, said he would do it all again if needed. “Look, this isn’t some slight variation of the CD boxed set from 2005. This has a top-to-bottom track list makeover that takes a broader view of Sire’s storied history,” he said.
New York City, New York
Brian at NYC’s Vinyl Museum called police after several customers became violent after learning the last copy of Ramones ’76-’79 Singles Box had been sold.
“Grown men acting like total pinheads,” he said, “my life’s not worth minimum wage and the occasional free picture sleeve.”
One NYC police officer was assaulted trying to break up a fight and suffered a 7-inch gash across the forehead. The assailant’s identity is still unknown.
Security hired for the event had no other choice but to place Vinyl Museum on lockdown.
Delaware, New Jersey
Empire Records owner, Joe Reaves, says he’s suffering from PTRSD, post traumatic record store day.
“What a nightmare,” Reaves said, “If I have to deal with one more snobby hipster I’m going to blow my fucking brains out,” he said.
Empire Records was forced to close early in the day after Joe began showing signs of a mental breakdown.
Maybelle Stubbs, owner of Motormouth Maybelle’s Record Shop in downtown Baltimore, says this is it for her, she will no longer participate in Record Store Day.
“It’s getting out of control,” the 70-year-old R&B lover said, “it’s just not the same anymore.”
But not to worry, Maybelle’s not closing her doors anytime soon. “Motormouth Maybelle’s my name and sweetheart, dancin’ is my game!”