Radio-Active Records shop manager Natalie Smallish tears open fresh boxes of special-edition vinyl — a money-green-colored rerelease of Notorious B.I.G.'s Mo Money, Mo Problems, the 1984, pink-pressed Japanese version of Madonna's Like a Virgin, a rainbow-speckled clear maxi-vinyl of AIR remixes, and yes, the exclusive Justin Bieber Purpose 12-inch picture disc, limited to just 7,000 copies worldwide.
She laughs as she admits how many customers have called inquiring about that last release, one of literally hundreds of new and limited-edition vinyl pressed in honor of this year's Record Store Day.
Conceived in 2007 as a way to "celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1,400 independently owned record stores in the U.S. and thousands of similar stores internationally," Record Store Day has evolved into an international phenomenon indicative of a universal yearning to return to that old, deliciously crackling format you can hold in your hands and hug to your chest.
Fort Lauderdale's Radio-Active Records has carried the torch locally for years, turning the annual occasion into a music lover's most coveted holiday. This year, as in years past, it's planned a 14-hour extravaganza at its outpost off of Federal Highway featuring DJs, food trucks and beverages, $1 sidewalk sales, newly purchased personal collections featuring hundreds of rare used vinyls, and of course, plenty of those sought-after RSD2016 special releases.
Daniel Ash of the pioneering British gothic-rock group Bauhaus will provide a highlight at the event taking place this Saturday, April 16, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The influential guitarist will be in the store for a two-hour meet and greet in the evening, signing records and taking photos with fans before heading down to the Wynwood venue Gramps for a special DJ set.
Also in store for this year's RSD at Radio-Active is a special-edition split-tape cassette compiled and produced with Cheap Miami Records. The two local music purveyors put their heads together to create two sides of music — Radio-Active's side A features live performances by nationally touring acts like Rachel Goodrich and Turbo Fruits recorded live in the shop, while Cheap Miami's side B features unreleased studio recordings of local bands like Mo'Booty, Party Flag, and Killmama. The first 100 customers in line will be the recipients of that tape.
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Smallish, who's been with Radio-Active for seven years, says that despite the growing hype and massive lines that now begin forming by 6 p.m. the day before, everyone who comes out to participate in RSD is "pretty respectful and knows all the rules." She notes most of them have been coming for years.
And while the all-day event can get intense — last year, Smallish says a 17-year-old girl nearly passed out waiting in line due to heat — the shop is adamant about keeping guests hydrated by passing out water. That girl made a quick recovery inside and stuck around to enjoy the rest of the event.
Radio-Active has partnered with Gramps, Red Bull, Hard Rock Energy, Pabst Blue Ribbon Miami, and MIA Brewing to provide free beverages all day. Food trucks onsite will include the Boba Station and Box of Chacos, according to Smallish. They've also teamed up with local coffee roasters Argyle to create their own Radio-Active coffee roast, which will be passed out for free to guests from 7 to 9 a.m.
For a free local Uber ride to RSD2016 at Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale, use the promo code RARSD16.