How to support Bristol record stores during the coronavirus outbreak: links and updates

How to support Bristol record stores during the coronavirus outbreak: links and updates

Posted on: 10 Jun 2020

Here's a long list of Bristol record stores, how they're tackling the obstacles raised by coronavrius, and how you can support them through the pandemic. 


It’s obvious: among other things, to support local music, you should buy local music. And what better place to buy local music than your local record shop?


But record shops aren’t just static, hollow shells stacked with vinyl. No, local record shops offer so much more than their basic function – to buy and sell music. They can foster community, and act as a hub for a local music scene.


They're a trusted source of music recommendations for many, and every single shop, in its own right, can offer unique opportunities for music discovery.


They can even provide support and exposure for local artists wanting to get their sound heard further afield.


Take Idle Hands: a dance music emporium, overseen by shop boss Chris Farrell. Idle Hands, as well as being a specialist dance music retailer and label, often doubles up an event space, providing a platform for local artists.


Earlier this year, for instance, Idle Hands hosted Open Decks – an event organised by Mix Nights (which is a DJ workshop programme for womxn) for newbies to test their skills.

Mix Nights Open Decks @ Idle Hands, January 2020Mix Nights Open Decks @ Idle Hands, January 2020 | Photo: Ash Reynolds


Or, take North Street’s Friendly Records. Just last week, Friendly was featured in the latest edition of Q Magazine with their music recommendations.


Now, thanks to the article, Bristol artists Pet Shimmers and Tara Clerkin Trio are in the national press! Brilliant stuff.


There’s no doubt, then, that Bristol’s record stores play a crucial role in local music. But still, like any local business during the ‘strange and unprecedented’ times of coronavirus, they need your support to survive.


So here’s a list of local record stores, and what they’re doing to stay afloat during the pandemic, complete with links and important updates. It’s time to get digging – even if that means digital digging for now.

Idle Hands 


As ever, the Idle Hands online shop is full to the brim with eclectic electronic music; from breakbeat and jungle to techno and electro.


Even better, you'll get free shipping on orders over £50. Alternatively, you can pick up your order instore Monday to Friday from 15:00 until 17:00, or on a Saturday from 12:00 until 17:00. 


Chris has also mentioned on Instagram that he’s working to find a safe way for the physical shop to reopen, so check back for updates.

Chris Farrell inside Idle HandsChris Farrell inside Idle Hands

Friendly Records


North Street’s Friendly Records have also got an online shop, alongside a brand-new membership scheme, ‘Friends of Friendly.’


Become a member and get a limited-edition, locally-printed t-shirt, 10% off all records instore and more.


At the moment, Friendly is also having a sale on its online shop. Get stuck in and bag yourself a musical bargain.



Specialist Subject Records 


Specialist Subject, a label and record store located above The Exchange, focus on current punk, indie rock and hardcore on vinyl, tape and CD.


Whilst their physical store is closed, the team are posting out online orders every day from Monday to Friday.


Hint: don’t forget to check out the zine and merch section of their online store. 

Supporting local music: a SP staff member holding Slagheap’s debut albumSupporting local music: a SP staff member holding Slagheap’s debut album


Gastro Vinyl


For now, Park Row’s record store Gastro Vinyl is open for takeaway coffees and cakes only.


They’ll let us know when it’s safe to start digging again in-store, but for now, take a look at their Discogs page

Coffee at Gastro Vinyl

Wanted Records 


St Nick’s Market’s cosy rare and collectable vinyl record store, Wanted Records, has launched an eBay shop.


Wanted is also buying records at the moment. To sell vinyl to Wanted, get in touch via the website contact form.

Inside Wanted Records

Collector Cave UK


Collector Cave is the brainchild of two old friends who “simply wanted to do something they both loved.”


Collector Cave is gearing up to reopen its online shop in July, according to their Facebook page, so keep watch for further updates.


In the meantime, have a listen to their very first vinyl and CD mix, which you can find on Mixcloud


The Centre for Better Grooves


Inside Paul Roberts Hi-Fi on Gloucester Road, you’ll find the Centre For Better Grooves.


To support the local vinyl business, which stocks loads of jazz, funk and soul, head over to their Discogs store. The Centre is offering free delivery within a 10-mile radius of the shop.


Also, follow them on Twitter for tweets about vinyl and information on how to reserve them.




Located on Park Street, radio/ON is an independent record store with an emphasis on feminist, queer and experimental releases.


At the moment, radio/ON is still accepting online orders, but they’re delaying delivery for the time being.


In a post on their website, radio/ON said: “all orders will ship as soon as it is safe for non-essential work to take place.”


But for everyone who places an order in the meantime, they will be eligible for free delivery… forever.


According to the store’s Instagram page, customers will also receive a few more surprises in their delivery too. Find out more here.


Plastic Wax Records 


Plastic Wax, located on Cheltenham Road, is one of Bristol’s longest established record stores. They’ve got a huge range of used vinyl and CDs across genres.


Good news for vinyl buyers and sellers, Plastic Wax has announced on Facebook that they plan to reopen on Monday 15 June, from 12:00 until 17:00.


They said: “We have hand sanitiser on the shelf as you enter and gloves available at the counter.


“We will also be wiping surfaces down at regular intervals and are confident that Plastic Wax will remain a safe and pleasurable shopping experience.”

Plastic Wax Records

Longwell Records


Keynsham’s Longwell Records has an online Discogs store with a strong focus on Rock vinyl.


According to their social media pages (Twitter and Instagram), customers can have their orders shipped, or they can pick them up from the store door.


The team is also operating a free, Bristol and Bath bike delivery service at the moment.


And with what their customers don’t spend on delivery, Longwell Records is asking that customers donate what they would have spent to Keynsham’s food bank.



Rough Trade Bristol


The major record store chain has announced it will reopen its Bristol store next week, on Tuesday 16 June, at 11:00. Read more
Rough Trade Bristol

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Article by:

Kate Hutchison


Kate Hutchison

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