By Fearghus Roulston
Cockburn Street’s iconic record store, Avalanche Records, closed its doors for the final time last night after a set from Leith band The Last Battle. The store has been a staple of the Edinburgh music scene since 1983. It is not closing permanently, however- owner Kevin Buckle plans to move to a larger space in the Grassmarket next month. The change in location is part of a wider scheme to reimagine the west end of the Grassmarket as an arts hub. Avalanche Records intends to collaborate with its new neighbours, Red Dog Music and The Lot, to create a new artistic scene in this corner of the city.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mr. Buckle explained his plans for the store, which has earned a lot of affection within the Scottish music scene for its persistent championing of local musicians. He said he intended to discuss future plans for the new premises with customers, and with other potential partners such as Analogue Bookshop.”It’s such a big space, there’s so much to do, there are so many options working.”
Mr. Buckle also enthused about the current state of the Scottish music scene. “People come from abroad especially to look for Scottish music…they used to go away with one or two records, now they go away with six, seven.”
The success of Avalanche Records suggests that the future for independent record stores lies in diversification and collaboration. After successfully curating gigs at the National Portrait Gallery, the store has been asked to curate similar events in Paris, Rome and Berlin. Despite the prevalence of digital media in the music scene, and the increasingly important role of the internet in disseminating music, places like Avalanche Records can adapt and flourish.
Jon Savage, the author of England’s Dreaming, explained the appeal of record stores in an interview with the Guardian music magazine. “The best record shops…offer an education and an arena. They bring people together rather than leave them atomised on the computer: you can meet like-minded souls, start a conversation, hear something that you’ve never heard before.” By moving to its new premises, Avalanche Records hopes to continue to offer an arena for independent Scottish music.