Indie store flies flag for Kingston on World Record Day
Banquet Records team: L-R Adam Sait, Tom Drakett, Max Nixon, Piers Kemp, Mike Smith and Manager Jon Tolley
Proudly independent music store Banquet Records have a buzz about their work – and it is not just the beat of the music playing that keeps them so switched on.
On top of specialising in indie, punk, emo, electro, house, drum 'n' bass and dubstep, the store is reputed for organising top gigs and events in Kingston and developing its own flourishing record label.
Quite simply, they are “the real people on the street”, as part owner John Tolley explains and provide an experience than cannot be replicated by iTunes or a supermarket more accustomed to selling milk, bread and washing up liquid.
And it is that very uniqueness that Tolley was keen to promote during World Record Day on Saturday, April 21, which celebrated the independent music outlet industry in danger of decline.
On the day the store opened its doors at 8am, so music lovers could get their hands on special edition CDs and records from artists such as Bloc Party, the Black Keys and Refused.
Tolley, who was a customer at the store before he bought it from the brink of bankruptcy seven years ago, says: “This is a big time of year for us, even busier than Christmas.
"The buzz is about people opening up their CDs and not just downloading from a faceless company.”
Last year customers queued up to three hours before the shop was open for first picks on the underground music collection.
Tolley says: “On Mother’s Day you make a fuss about your mum and on Record Store Day you make a fuss about your local record store.”
Tolley puts the success of Banquet Records down to its loyal customer base, but perhaps that success is in part due to the fact the store is in turn loyal to its customers and takes its role in the community seriously. The store is proud sponsor of Kingstonian FC, contribute to good causes in Kingston and encourage musicians too. And that humble attitude means it doesn’t get carried away when meeting famous artists.
As Tolley says: “You don’t get star-struck taking Pete Doherty through the back door or giving Example a beer anymore. It’s just great to see a customer’s reaction to seeing their heroes.”