This past Saturday, March 22, Merge Records (in association with Bull City Running Co.) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a 25 kilometer race from Merge’s hometown of Chapel Hill to the label’s new hometown, Durham. Over 800 runners signed up to run the grueling, 15 mile course from the streets of Chapel hill to the Motorco Music Hall in Durham. Dedicated runners, avid music lovers, and faithful supporters of Merge Records all came out to support Merge and to participate in the race. When the racing was over, food, music, and good times filled the atmosphere at the after-party as Merge Records artists, The Love Language and Vertical Scratchers, played for the crowds and rope skipping team, The Bouncing Bulldogs, performed jump roping tricks.
Merge Records is an independent record label that was founded in Chapel Hill in 1989 and has since gained much success from signing bands such as Arcade Fire, Spoon, and (WKNC, Double Barrel Benefit headliners) The Love Language and Mount Moriah. And just like the length of a 25k, Merge records has come quite a long way from their beginnings. Signing more bands and creating more successful events such as this 25th anniversary shindig, Merge continues to grow as a top independent music label.
In return for Merge’s many contributions to WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit concerts, WKNC DJs volunteered to help out at the race. “It was really cool seeing how many people came out to support Merge and getting to cheer them on in their endeavors! …but the food trucks were pretty great too.” says WKNC’s Yvonne Chazal, who was one of the volunteers at the race. When asked what Merge Records artist Yvonne would race a 5k against she answered, “First of all, I would/could/should never ever run a 25k, but I would definitely start a race with Autumn Ehinger from the Love Language, stop halfway through, and go get waffles. (Autumn, hope you’re into this!!)”. Being a personal fan of the adorableness of Autumn Ehinger, it is safe to say this was an excellent answer.
Local dog fanatic and WKNC Underground DJ, Emma Badorrek, also had a few things to say about volunteering for Merge. “My favorite part was the concert afterwards at Motorco Music Hall. It was super fun and free. Another great part was seeing all of the dogs that people brought (I don’t know just really love dogs) it was also nice to live vicariously through people in good enough shape to run 25 kilometers.” well said Emma, well said indeed. When asked what surprised her the most about volunteering, Emma only had this to say “I don’t know”. Wow, short and well spoken, brilliant.
“Supporting local record labels is really important, we need to keep music accessible to people who don’t live in places like New York and Los Angeles”. Says Yvonne. And Merge Records is doing just that, bringing great music not only to North Carolina, but to music lovers of all sorts who are looking for some good ole’, solid, independent music. Keep it running, Merge!
Also, look out for Merge’s 25th anniversary music festival coming to Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC! Details can be found at http://www.mergerecords.com/merge-25