Like the polar ice caps, the rainforests, and the Yangtze finless porpoise, the record store remains in peril. However, there is hope.
Over the last seven years, Record Store Day has become an increasingly visible global phenomenon, encouraging fans, artists, and proprietors to unite and breathe life into this once-thriving cultural entity.
For 2014, Grand Central will be joining the festivities in an unofficial capacity with Miami Record Store Days: 1975-2000, a live concert, record sale, and photo expo.
See also: Miami's Five Best Record Stores
Expect legendary local rocker Charlie Pickett and the eclectic sounds of Jim Camacho, formerly of The Goods -- not to mention Nuclear Valdez and Forget the Name, a pair of seminal Miami bands reuniting specifically for this event.
Co-organizer and music business veteran, Alex Jimenez, notes the irony of nostalgically celebrating quality music and the record-buying experience, just as shops are dwindling in number. "We're having a record store day when there's only a handful of record stores left in the country, much less South Florida."
For his part, Jimenez not only wants to pay tribute to the shops that remain. He also wants to recognize the long-lost ones that once populated the area, as well as the people who worked in them.
"I used to work at Peaches, it was real laid-back record store in South Miami," he says. "A colleague who worked at the head office about seven years ago was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, so I wanted to get the old Peaches gang back together and see if we can do something for the benefit of those dealing with Parkinson's disease. But then I thought, Well, why not do something with the old Peaches gang and make it a tribute to the whole era."
The Peaches record store chain blossomed throughout the '70s and '80s in South Florida. But with the plummeting of sales in the face of evolving technology, the shop's demise is an all-too-familiar story. And the former Fort Lauderdale location has become the home of a Hustler store, adding a slightly unique twist.
"That particular store is an iconic one," Jimenez explains. "People of my generation would make a pilgrimage there to visit it. You could spend two or three hours there, going through albums by old bands, current bands, and the store always had in-store appearances. Sometimes, you would even run into artists shopping."
Such recollections will no doubt conjure up memories for music lovers over a certain age. Alas, the communal vibe of the record store has largely been replaced by the solitary hunt, hunched over the laptop for the easily getable download from iTunes.
"People would come in looking for music, they'd hum it to you, sing you lyrics, and you would to try and decipher what they were looking for," Jimenez reminisces. "If you found what they were looking for, it made them so happy! That's a feeling that I dearly miss, to be honest with you."
Of course, though, it's not all long lost, because Record Store Day and events like Jimenez's retrospectively inclined get-together prove that there are masses still hungry for these sort of lamentably antiquated experiences.
"People want a physical product. They have gravitated toward wanting something collectible now, and each RSD there's more and more special items available," Jimenez enthuses. "It shows that there is still a demand for music out there, that it's not just purely digital and about convenience. People still want that tangible thing that they can put on their shelf. They want to own something that's worth celebrating."
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Miami Records Store Days: 1975-2000. With live performances by Nuclear Valdez, Charlie Pickett, Jim Camacho, and Forget the Name, as well as a record collector fair and photo exhibition. Presented by Alex Jimenez and Alan Jackowitz. Saturday, April 19. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The event begins at 5 p.m. and tickets cost $10 to $20 plus fees via ticketfly.com. All ages. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
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