While rising rents and pandemic-related closures have changed the landscape of West Sixth Street these past few years, Waterloo Records remains. The iconic local music store celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, kicking things off Friday, April 1 with its first in-store performances since March 2020.
Ray Wylie Hubbard opened the celebration at 3 pm. A social media post on the store’s Facebook teased that Ringo Starr and Willie Nelson would be joining Hubbard for his set, but alas, it was an April Fools' prank.
Heartless Bastards are set to take the stage at 5 pm. The show is limited capacity and mask-required; attendees get one guaranteed wristband with each purchase of the band's latest album, A Beautiful Life.
The party doesn’t stop there. Between now and April 6, the store is offering discounts of $4 or more off of 40 titles to celebrate its 40th year.
The iconic record store opened its doors on April 1, 1982. And while Austin’s live music scene was well established by that point (thanks, Willie), South by Southwest would not further cement the city’s international live music appeal for another five years. In the meantime, Waterloo’s laid-back, customer-centric policies made the store an immediate success. Customers could listen to any album in the store before buying, and they had up to 10 days to return it — no questions asked and full exchange provided, so long as the item returned in good condition.
These philosophies have seen the record store through four decades of serving the music-loving Austin community, with the move to the more spacious spot on the corner of Sixth and Lamar making it a go-to destination for intimate live sets during SXSW and beyond.
Austinites everywhere should rejoice at the return of these in-store performances, and if you can’t make it today, visit soon and purchase a celebratory album — or two. Head to waterloorecords.com to purchase online and see more info on the anniversary sale.