MANKATO — Matt “Arkie” Griffin parked his camp chair outside Tune Town at around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

He had several limited edition albums on his wish list and he wasn't taking any chances other Record Store Day die-hards would snatch them up before him.

He waited 6 ½ hours to be the first one through the doors of the Old Town record store. The first hour's wait was the hardest, he said. He worried a passerby might assume he was a prowler and call police again like someone did a few year's ago. And the hours go by a lot faster once others arrive and the conversations about music and vinyl commence.

Patrick Erdner and Matt Lindblom joined Griffin at around  4 a.m. It also wasn't their first time camping out to be among the first to get into Tune Town on Record Store Day.

Started a decade ago, the annual event aims to promote independent music stores. Limited release albums make their first appearances on store shelves and stores across the country have live music and other promotions.

The trio at the front of the line said they started shopping for CDs at Tune Town years ago and Record Store Day special vinyl only releases from their favorite bands lured them into becoming fans of vinyl.

Erdner said he discovered vinyl produces a better sound than any other medium that's hard to describe.

“It's a warmer feeling sound. It's just so much better,” he said.

The line outside Tune Town was a few dozen people deep when the store opened at 9 a.m. They were let in 20 at a time, given only 10 minutes to shop and weren't allowed to purchase more than one copy of any title.

Erdner said the enthusiasts with multiple items on their wish lists study album covers in advance to help them find everything they seek within the 10 minute time limit (which doesn't include waiting in line to pay for their selections).

By late morning the line outside was gone and music lovers were allowed to enter and shop as long as they pleased, but the line to purchase their selections was consistently at least a dozen people deep.

Confidence that his must-have new release was so obscure it wouldn't be immediately snatched up allowed Mike Green to sleep in. After picking up his new album of rare releases from The Brian Janestown Massacre, the Mankato resident sifted through boxes of used records in Tune Town's new bargain basement.

Tune Town owner Carl Nordmeier said when the basement that was previously used as warehouse space came up for rent he decided it was perfect opportunity to thin his used inventory, much of was in storage. In addition to thousands of records, there are CDs and DVDs for sale, all for $1.

Nordmeier said he was exhausted from getting the basement ready in time for his store's ninth time participating in Record Day, but was excited to see it packed with bargain hunters.

Green said he'd been perusing for over an hour and had made it through only one table. He planned to stay until he'd looked at every record, he said.

The counselor who works with people recovering from addiction said his favorite early finds included Simon and Garfunkel's greatest hits, an Aerosmith single and a Jackson 5 anthology.

Green said he doesn't notice a huge improvement in sound between vinyl and newer music-playing devices. It's just fun to sometimes play music the same way he discovered it as a young child.

And places like the bargain basement mean he can afford to experience a vast variety of music from the past. Every time he takes home at least one musician he's never listened to before.

“You get to discover music you never would have otherwise,” Green said.

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Public safety and K-12 education reporter 507-344-6354