Record Store Day Celebrations at VP Records

VP Records’ celebration of this year’s Record Store Day could be felt from blocks away. The first signs of it arrived as tremors coursed through the concrete, carrying familiar reggae bass lines out into the cool Saturday afternoon. The closer you got, the clearer the music became – yes, there was no mistaking the voices of legends like Half Pint, Dennis Brown, and so many others, erupting from the vinyl-fuelled sound system at VP’s flagship retail store in Jamaica, Queens.

Hundreds of guests flowed into the space, everyone drawn by the music in one form or another. Some showed up to hear what tunes would emerge from the record crates sitting behind the DJs Pretty Posse, Glamour Wayne, Empress Breeze, DJ Gringo, Skywalker, and Super Force. Others came for the chance to add Record Store Day exclusives to their own collection – perhaps the Every Man Ought to Know LP by Max Romeo or the 7” of Bob Marley’s “Mr. Chatterbox.” Maybe both.

From noon until early evening, the selectors took turns weaving together reggae-dancehall gems, restoring cherished memories to longtime fans and compelling curious passersby to stop, if even for a brief moment. The event brought reggae, vinyl, and Jamaican culture into the spotlight, and stood as a testament to what Record Store Day is all about: Community. “It’s been years since I’ve been to something like this,” one visitor told his young daughter.

For hours, guests floated between VP’s booming parking lot, its “A Reggae Music Journey” exhibit, and its record store sandwiched between the two. Veterans like Johnny Osbourne, Marcia Aitken, and Lady Ann passed through and mingled with supporters, while VP Records’ matriarch Miss Pat spent the day welcoming visitors to the celebration, which was coordinated by Dane Bogle and the VP team.

Patrons clutched complementary goodie bags, plates of food, and totes stuffed with vinyl, CDs, and clothing as they swayed to the music. No one seemed to resist when, at one point, a recording of Anthony Malvo’s voice sprung from the speaker boxes, putting forward a simple request: “Let the music blow your mind.”