Cold temperatures, coffee, doughnuts, live music and vinyl records awaited a crowd that amassed Saturday morning in the Old Market.
Before downtown record stores opened their doors at 10 a.m., hundreds stood in line for Record Store Day, an annual event that promotes independent record stores and features the release of several hundred exclusive titles on vinyl, cassette and CD.
Outside Homer's music store, the line stretched down Howard Street from the entrance of the store to 13th Street. Store employees said customers came from Lincoln; Sioux City, Iowa; and Des Moines.
Those in search of vinyl records began lining up as early as 6 a.m. in an effort to track down exclusive releases by bands such as Dave Matthews Band, Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers, the Black Keys and hundreds of others.
While they waited on the chilly spring morning, Boston rock band Pretty & Nice entertained the crowd by performing several acoustic songs.
“This one goes out to warmth,” said singer Jeremy Mendicino as he rubbed his hands together.
The band, which releases its album “Golden Rules for Golden People” on April 30, played three original songs and a cover of “That Thing You Do” from the movie of the same name. Later, band members hung out inside the store and signed a few copies of their Record Store Day-exclusive release, “Q_Q.”
At Drastic Plastic in the Old Market and Saddle Creek Shop in north downtown, as many as 25 people lined up prior to opening. Both reported strong sales of Record Store Day titles.
“I don't know if it's a testament to people knowing where we are now or to the popularity of Record Store Day,” said Nate Welker of Saddle Creek Shop, which opened in 2011.
Once the doors opened at each store, fans flooded in and tried to snatch up records.
At Homer's, customers had a tough time getting through the store aisles. Even after waiting in line to get in the store, customers had to wait longer to reach sections of the store that contained the Record Store Day releases.
The store ordered dozens of some titles hoping to keep some in stock over the next several months but sold out of many of the 313 titles, said Mike Fratt, Homer's general manager. It was a very successful day for the store, he said.
“It was a historic day here. It was unbelievable,” Fratt said. “We're very appreciative of everyone who came. It's been phenomenal and exciting and fun. I hope that everybody that came really enjoyed themselves.”