SOUTH Essex lived up to its music loving reputation on Record Store Day, when scores of vinyl and CD shoppers, DJs and bands helped celebrate the importance of local independent record shops.

People queued outside shops from the early hours to get their mitts on the exclusive and limited edition offerings.

Sandra Bennett, manager of Fives record store in Leigh's Broadway, said: "It was a great day! Sales matched last year which was a nice surprise as we did not think the releases were as strong as other years.

"The ticket system worked as well as ever with customers happily queuing and talking to each other."

At Fives, four live acts and 13 DJs took part in a busy programme, led by DJ and music man, Daryl Easlea of Middle Age Spread.

He said: "It was an absolute pleasure to take part in such a happy day, meet friends and enjoy people revelling in their eagerly anticipated purchases.

"Our Dansette kept spinning and we were delighted by the impeccable standard of the live acts, from the raucous energy of T-Bitch to the pin-drop balladry of Owen Williams, Phillious Williams and Plantman. I'm looking forward to next year already!"

Meanwhile over in Southend at Fives Record Store, Queens Road, the proceedings were opened by Phill Jupitus.

Owner of the store, Richard Onslow, said: "It's been getting better each time, and customers are coming from further afield - we had a couple from London come down, who were at the front of the queue from 3.30am!

"Our after-party at the Railway Hotel was a lot of fun too, which nearly ended up with me being awake for 24 hours. Thanks to everybody that came along, and everybody that helped out."

In the afternoon the Railway Hotel in Clifftown Road, Southend, marked the occasion by recording a handful of local music acts straight onto 78 inch vinyl in front of a live audience.