Record Store Day 2020 - how it will work and this year's best releases

Friday, 28th August 2020, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 31st August 2020, 10:18 am
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Now in its 13th year, Record Store Day was due to return on 18 April 2020, marking one of the biggest annual events on the music calendar. As with many other events, the coronavirus crisis meant it could not go ahead as planned.

But, having already been delayed twice earlier this year, Record Store Day will return on Saturday, with hundreds of limited-edition vinyl releases up for grabs.

Shops will be adopting social distancing measures to make sure vinyl collectors can still get their hands on this year’s limited releases.

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But, unfortunately, it seems as if many of the performances and events shops would usually have organised to mark the occasion and encourage music aficionados to pay a visit are out of the question.

Here's everything you need to know about how Record Store Day will work during the pandemic.

When is Record Store Day 2020?

This year’s event was originally due to take place in April, but was delayed due to coronavirus and the national lockdown. It is now being held on Saturday 29 August.

However, that is just the first of three planned weekends that Record Store 'Day' will be taking place on. The usual one day event has been spread out in an attempt to curtail the scenes of long queues and packed shops that the event usually prompts.

Record Store Day is also being held on 26 September and 24 October in 2020.

What social distancing measures will be in place?

As you might have come to expect by now, things won't quite be the same as they usually are this Record Store Day, even in the outlets that do plan to open their doors.

Social distancing measures will be in place to ensure the safety of record buyers and staff alike, as the coronavirus crisis rolls on.

Bigger shops may have the luxury of being able to simply implement standard social distancing measures, such as spacing out shoppers and encouraging the sanitising of hands.

But other, smaller stores may not be able to accommodate the expected rush of vinyl hunters, and may have to adopt stricter rules. That could mean anything from welcoming shoppers by pre-booked appointment only, to customers only being allowed into the shop for a limited amount of time.

Some retailers may even move proceedings outside, while most will be offering punters the option to order ahead and collect their chosen records at a pre-arranged time.

Every store will be different, so to ensure you know the drill before heading out, it's best to check the social media channels of your chosen outlet for updates or to give them a call directly.

Of course, it remains mandatory to wear masks when in shops.

What are this year's best releases?

The much-anticipated release list this year includes specially created records from the likes of Christine and the Queens, Charli XCX and Tom Grennan, Paul McCartney, Primal Scream, and My Chemical Romance.

Other limited releases include records by David Bowie, Denzel Curry, The Fall, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, The Lovely Eggs, Mansun, and Refused.

Not all of the releases will be made available at the same time. Some are coming in the August "drop", others in September, and a final batch in October.

You can see a full list of the special releases for RSD 2020 - and when they will be released - here.

Note that not all shops will stock all indie-only releases, so it's recommended you check with your store in advance.

Who are this year’s ambassadors?

British indie rock band The Big Moon have been announced as the ambassadors for 2020's event. They follow in the footsteps of previous ambassadors The Mighty Boosh, Rag n Bone Man, Sir Elton John, and Kate Tempest.

Organisers said the band have played a huge role in supporting the culture of independent record shops over the last few years.

In March, The Big Moon recorded their RSD release live in front of an audience at Metropolis Studios. It will be put on to vinyl and sent to record stores across the UK ahead of the national event.

Organisers believe it was the first time in history that an artist has recorded three tracks in a single take in front of a live audience in the studio.

Talking about the role, bassist Celia Archer spoke about her love of record shops, “We’re so excited to be ambassadors for RSD. When I was a kid music was still a really tribal thing.

“If you were into alternative music the record store was a really important space to hang out and spend weekends browsing through things with mates discovering whole new sounds and genres.”