How to Spend Record Store Day 2023 in Indianapolis

Used Record Display at Luna Music

Photo courtesy of Luna Music

“There’s just something about stepping inside a record store that feels different than any other place,” said Patrick Burtch, co-owner of Square Cat Vinyl. “It’s a cornerstone of a neighborhood and a culture.”

Indy is home to a variety of local vinyl stores that sell both new and used records—for audiophiles, collectors, or simply anyone who enjoys music. These indie stores across the region mirror the culture of Indy’s art scene. Stepping inside feels like you’ve been let in on a special secret, but they’re simultaneously approachable and welcoming to all who enter through their doors. 

Of course, vinyl records have been in existence since 1930. But the idea for Record Store Day (RSD) was conceived back in 2007, when record sales were experiencing a major revival. The first Record Store Day took place in 2008—and now, RSD has become a nationwide celebration of the independent record store experience. 

Each year, Record Store Day is held on a Saturday in April—with a variety of exclusive and limited release records released only on RSD. They also organize a Black Friday event to bring more business to independent, locally owned stores. 

In 2023, Record Store Day falls on Saturday, April 22. The release list is already posted in advance of the day-long event, and record stores across the Indy region are gearing up to make RSD an unforgettable day for music lovers across genres and generations!

Check out our guide on how to support local businesses and artists this Record Store Day (with hacks on how to seem like a natural when you walk in a record store!)

Listening Booth at Square Cat Vinyl

Photo courtesy of Square Cat Vinyl

Records at Square Cat Vinyl

Photo courtesy of Square Cat Vinyl

Record Store Day is practically a holiday for independent record stores.

Indianapolis is no exception to the Record Store Day festivities. In fact, record stores across the region organize their own special events and programming throughout the day to celebrate music’s impact on the community. Luis Garcia, manager of Luna Music in South Broad Ripple, said that since he started in 2015, no two Record Store Days have been the same. 

“Each year, we try to bring on board local artists to show just how much talent there is in our community,” Garcia said. “Just like there’s a new set of releases each year, we bring in different artists—both musicians and visual artists—in celebration of music, record store culture, and the appreciation of the arts in our community. We host all of our performances out back, and nothing requires a ticket. Anyone in the community can walk right up and be part of the experience!” 

Starting at noon, Luna Music will showcase Indianapolis performers Jennasen, S.M. Wolf, Nat Russell & Friends, Mark Tester and Landon Caldwell, Mana, and 81355. The entire concert experience will be hosted by iconic Indianapolis DJs Mr. Kinetik and Rusty Redenbacher.

But Luna Music isn’t the only record store with live music for RSD. Down in Fountain Square, Square Cat Vinyl has their own concert throughout the day. 

“This is the first year live music will be back at Square Cat for Record Store Day since 2019 [pre-pandemic], so it’s really special this year,” Burtch mentioned. “We’ll have six different bands take the stage in our store from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.”

The musical artists performing at Square Cat include Joshua Powell, Wet Denim, Living Dream, Wasting Paper, Window Dancer, and Faerie Ring. All of these artists are Indiana-based and fall within the subgenres of rock and roll—whether that’s psych, post, punk, or goth rock. 

These artists’ names may sound familiar if you’ve seen them perform at The Vogue Theatre, Hi-Fi, or other venues in the city. Joshua Powell also leads the Indy branch of Sofar Sounds, an intimate discovery concert experience that frequently highlights local artists.

Local Releases Section of Luna Music

Photo courtesy of Luna Music

Exterior of Luna Music

Photo courtesy of Luna Music

Dozens of limited-edition vinyls drop on Record Store Day.

One of the biggest draws of Record Store Day is the list of exclusive and limited-run vinyls—available only at indie record stores. Most record stores also keep a selection of rare used vinyls in reserve, so they can sell them on RSD alongside the new releases. 

But if you want one of the exclusive vinyls, you’ll need to act fast. The first thing experts tell RSD newbies is to get there early! 

“It’s an early morning for many people,” Garcia said. “People camp out the night before because they checked the Record Store Day release list and made a list of their own.” 

There’s a special Taylor Swift vinyl on the RSD release list this year, and Square Cat plans to have it in stock. So, the team is expecting an even longer line and crowd throughout the day. 

“If you’re someone who HAS to have something, be there early,” Burtch advised. “I’d say 3 a.m. or earlier. If you’re new to the experience, go into the day with the philosophy that you may not get everything you want, but there will be a camaraderie that feels exciting to be part of!”

Beyond these RSD special releases, customers can also expect a host of surprises to celebrate the occasion. Luna Music, Square Cat Vinyl, Indy CD & Vinyl, and Karma Records will all have giveaway raffles to keep spirits high and excitement alive throughout the day. These raffles will include special-edition vinyls, gifts from labels, tickets to upcoming concerts, and other merchandise.

Some of the local stores even have free doughnuts and coffee for the first few people in line, as well as gift bags for the first wave of customers. Line up early to get these bonus treats!

Indy comes together to celebrate music for Record Store Day.

Record stores aren’t the only ones who celebrate Record Store Day! Here in Indy, many other small businesses and local artists find ways to join the RSD experience. This year at Luna Music, local ice cream shop Circles Ice Cream will be selling sweet treats, while local brewery and music bar Black Circle Brewing will be pouring beers. 

In addition to its collection of vinyls, Square Cat Vinyl also serves coffee and beer at the bar in the back of the shop. Customers can stop by throughout the day and enjoy a beverage while browsing records, listening to the performers, or simply absorbing the atmosphere. 

Many of Indy’s music venues have also planned concerts to help celebrate the occasion. You can watch Lady A perform at Murat Theatre or catch DirtySnatcha at The Vogue. Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press will be performing at Hi-Fi Annex, and Marilyn Maye is singing at Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel.

There are also live performances across the region at Daniel’s Vineyard in Mooresville, Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler, The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, and more. There’s even a Sofar Sounds show on the books! Whatever your taste in music, Record Store Day will truly be a day filled with the arts here in Indianapolis.

“Music fans of all types come together and celebrate music and independent organizations on Record Store Day,” Burtch said. “There’s an energy that’s hard to explain, and it’s what makes Record Store Day one of my favorite days of the year—both as a business owner and as a customer.”

Live Music at Square Cat Vinyl

Photo courtesy of Square Cat Vinyl

Check out Indy’s record stores all year long!

Record Store Day is undeniably the hottest time to hang out at the local record store. But don’t save your love of music for just one day of the year! Indie record stores are constantly offering new music and live events that could use your support. 

You can support independent record stores all year by just picking up a record or two when you can,” Garcia explained. “Even if it’s a used record or purchased online at their site, it still supports your community. Plus, we have eyes and ears in the community and try our best to stock what we know people want. We want to know what people want to see at our store!”

Stores like Square Cat Vinyl also host a variety of live music events inside the shop. These events are always open to everyone, whether you consider yourself a record collector or not. 

“We do shows all year round and have the coffee shop and bar open at Square Cat,” Burtch said. “Even if you don’t own a record player, you can support small businesses and artists in your neighborhood by coming in and grabbing a drink and enjoying good music.”

Burtch said there’s often a barrier of intimidation that keeps people from going into record stores for the first time. But don’t let that stop you from participating! Here in Indy, our record stores make a conscious effort to welcome everyone—and not appeal to the “pretentious stereotypes” around vinyl shops. 

Still, if you’re worried about sticking out like a sore thumb on your first Record Store Day, we’re here to help. Garcia and Burtch shared some tips and tricks to make you seem like an expert from the moment you walk in. 

8 Tips to Shop Like a Pro on Record Store Day

  1. Start by finding independent record stores in your area. Some of the most popular ones in Indianapolis are Indy CD & Vinyl, Luna Music, Square Cat Vinyl, and Karma Records. 
  2. Follow their social media accounts to get the latest information on concerts, giveaways, used record drops, and more. 
  3. Check out the Record Store Day release list before you go. That way, you can come prepared with a list of records you’d like to get. 
  4. Get to your chosen record store early! It’s up to you whether you camp out overnight or come later in the day, but the limited edition vinyls tend to sell fast. 
  5. Bring your friends to experience the day with you! Standing in line is always more fun with friends. 
  6. Have a tote bag on hand to fill as you shop. This makes it much easier to carry around your records as you browse for more.  
  7. Check the counter for RSD-specific releases before browsing the aisles. Most of the exclusive releases will be behind the counter for purchase. 
  8. Don’t have a record player? Don’t worry! Plenty of cassettes, CDs, merch, and other items will be on sale. Plus, you can always come for the live music, beer, and community camaraderie.

So, mark your calendars for April 22—and get ready to experience Indianapolis’ music scene alongside local artists and music lovers! We’ll see you on Record Store Day!