The Atascadero establishment will be open at 9 a.m. on April 23 on Record Store Day

ATASCADERO — For the last 14 years, audiophiles have been lining up outside of independent record stores to snag limited edition LP releases and participate in Record Store Day. And for the fourth consecutive year, Atascadero’s very own Traffic Records will be opening its doors to celebrate Record Store Day’s 15th year at 9 a.m. on April 23.

Record Store Day Manuel Barba 3
Traffic Records is offering official Record Store Day totes. Photo by Manuel Barba

“We’ve been doing it [Record Store Day] for three-plus years. This is our third official one,” said Traffic Records owner, Manuel Barba, who started participating in Record Store Day as a consumer when it first started. “Technically this is our fourth year because they do Record Store Day in two disbursements. There’s a spring one and a fall one. We were allowed to participate in the fall, the Black Friday version [in 2018]. So this would be our fourth year.” 

Traditionally, Record Store Day takes place every April, but they’ve been splitting the drop in half with the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing some albums in spring and others in fall. Three-quarters of the list or more will be dropping on April 23, but there will also be a small drop this July.


“I have over 400 pieces coming into the store [for Record Store Day]; it’s probably going to be close to 500,” added Barba. 

“I didn’t even get one of everything. Like there are things I didn’t even get on the list,” he adds of all the special edition releases dropping April 23.

Record Store Day is a first-come, first-serve day of vinyl digging. So if you have your eyes set on something specific, you might want to get to Traffic Records early. Barba says that he expects people to start lining up between 5 and 7 a.m., although, because of its location, Traffic Records doesn’t see the intense lines that other record stores can see. And with open container laws in Atascadero, you’ll also be able to sip on Bloody Marys and Mimosas and nom on breakfast burritos while you stand in line before snagging your perfect Record Store Day finds.

“I think people seek our store out because it is a little less dense and less traveled. It’s fun. It’ll be a very relaxed environment, but fun and festive,” adds Barba. “I throttle the flow into the store, so I only let in about six people at a time. And then we work them through, get them out the door, and then the next round of folks come through.” 

This year, Traffic Record’s festivities will include DJ sets by Soul Dust Productions’ Jason Perez, live music, food by Taqueria Don Jose, drinks by The Raconteur Room, giveaways for all, free swag (including totes and Taylor Swift Record Store Day Ambassador buttons), and a Traffic Records limited edition poster designed by Kevin Varner for purchase.

“Next year, when we’re on our fifth one, it’ll be our five-year anniversary and our fifth Record Store [Day]; we’ll go real big on that,” Barba said. “This one, you know, we’re still barely waking up from [the] pandemic, and it didn’t feel right to cram a bunch of people in here and a bunch of activity. I want people to feel safe. So we’ll regulate the flow, and I’m sure we’ll have a line down the street like we usually do.”

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