Witney music shop Rapture tunes up for open-air 10th birthday concert

Ags Connolly

Oly Ralfe of the Ralfe Band

Duchess

First published in News Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Music Editor. Please contact me on 01865 425494 and follow me on Twitter: @OxMailTimHughes

WEST Oxfordshire’s only independent record shop is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a day of open-air live music.

Rapture, in Witney’s Woolgate Centre, is staging a free programme of bands and solo artists under the centre’s clocktower on Saturday in conjunction with worldwide Record Store Day.

The events will feature sets by alternative folk act The Ralfe Band, dance-pop group Duchess, singer-songwriter Paul McClure, Finstock country singer Ags Connolly, Friday Street and Little Brother Eli.

Store owner Gary Smith, from Burford, said: “It’s a double celebration. We opened in June 2004 but signed the lease on April 20 – so it coincides with Record Store Day. It has been a fantastic 10 years. We’ve had a few ups and downs but generally it’s been really good fun.”

As well as live music, the store will attract music-lovers by offering a selection of limited releases issued to celebrate Record Store Day.

The day celebrates smaller music outlets which continue to survive in the face of competition from supermarkets and Internet downloads.

Witney Gazette:

Gary Smith

Mr Smith said: “We’ve got some great stuff, with limited releases by The Pixies, REM, Bonobo, Linkin Park, Joy Division, Grateful Dead, Deep Purple, David Bowie, Black Lips and more.

“Every year we have people queueing to get this stuff – with some waiting from 6am. It’s a really good day for us and we all enjoy it.”

Rapture is one of only two independent record stores in the county, the other being its sister shop, the Truck Store, in Oxford’s Cowley Road.

Truck Store manager Carl Smithson said the secret to both stores’ success was individual service and staff’s musical knowledge.

He said: “There’s so much out there and people haven’t got the time to go and trawl through reviews. Our role is to give people guidance. Music-lovers have a personal connection with the shops and love to come back.”

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