Five local bands came together to perform at Avalon Records for Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16.
The bands, including Willie Reavis & His Weary Boys, Local Ghost, Boss Rhino, Machine Animal and Baby Cakes performed outside downtown where locals gathered to listen, dance and take advantage of record store sales.
In addition to supporting local record stores, the event, which Avalon Records has participated in for eight years now, brings the community together for a fun celebration.
“You miss out on so much that music has to offer if you don’t get that record store experience,” Avalon Records owner Chris Lamb said. “This day focuses all that enthusiasm into one event.”
One of the best aspects of Record Store Day is that anyone can get involved, Baby Cakes drummer Kevin Chryst said.
“It gives a lot of new people the opportunity to come see the bands that wouldn’t have that opportunity otherwise. Whether it’s an age limit of 21, not being able to come to the bar shows, families with kids that aren’t out late at night or [people] who have to work through the day and the week,” Chryst said. “Here we are, midday Saturday. It’s free for all ages and that’s really important for all access.”
“When you buy a record, take it home, open it up and put it on it’s like this ritual you’re a part of.”
The transition from gathering at a record store for music to online playlists has hurt the independent record store industry.
In today’s digital culture, people don’t go to record stores as much for music anymore, but Record Store Day brings people back to that, Willie Reavis from Willie Reavis & His Weary Boys said.
Tom McKay, musician in both Willie Reavis & His Weary Boys and Local Ghost, was one of many record enthusiasts who were vocal about the benefits of owning vinyls rather than digital copies.
“I think it’s got this nice permanence whereas music on the internet always seems an extension of the kind of disposable culture,” McKay said. You don’t really connect with it at all, it’s just on the surface. When you buy a record, take it home, open it up and put it on it’s like this ritual you’re a part of.”
The partnership between local bands and the record stores allows mutual support in the Bellingham community.
Each year different local bands are introduced in addition to returning favorites like members of Moon Grass, some of whom have been playing together since elementary school before they split into the country-style Willie Reavis & His Weary Boys and the more rock n’ roll Local Ghost. Another crowd pleaser was Baby Cakes, which covered hits new and old as well as originals, including instruments ranging from keys to saxophone and three-part vocals.
Local Angela Hope spent the day listening to the different bands and enjoyed the event because both the good music and the effect it has on Bellingham.
“It’s important to support what’s in your community. Whether it’s through music, your favorite restaurants or the art that’s around,” Hope said. “That’s what is also important, bringing everybody together.”
Events like Record Store Day seem to thrive in communities like Bellingham, where local businesses are supported and community events prosper.
“Bellingham is such an oasis that allows things like this to happen and flourish,” Lamb said. “I feel blessed to be able to come into this position and an obligation to keep it going for at least another 30 years.”