Members of Chulita Vinyl Club, an all-female DJ collective known for spinning a mix of disco, funk, hip-hop and Latin sounds, say their gig at Upstairs at Caroline’s on Friday was cut short by a manager from the hotel bar who told them, “This hotel does not play Latin music.”
The gig was part of a soft opening for the bar, which is located upstairs from the new restaurant, Caroline. It is part of the Aloft Austin Downtown hotel. We have reached out to the hotel for comment.
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On Monday, one of the DJs, Claudia Aparicio, said the group was 10 minutes from finishing a lengthy set on a shared bill with local Afro-Colombian music group Superfonicos when they were approached by an agitated manager who told them to switch the music immediately because, “this hotel does not play Latin music.” He also told them, “ you are bringing the vibe down,” she said.
Aparico said the manager then cut the music from the DJ booth off and switched to a house sound system. The women were upset by the situation and say that as they were packing up their gear, they were approached by other members of the club’s management team who apologized. The women took a video of their conversation with the managers that they posted on Instagram.
In a post on the club’s Facebook page, representatives from Caroline characterized the situation as “a miscommunication at the end of their set, which led to the musicians leaving feeling unappreciated.”
“Our hotel welcomes everyone, and we enjoy musicians of all backgrounds and styles. We truly regret Chulita Vinyl Club left feeling otherwise, and would like to work with them to discuss how we can ensure a similar incident doesn’t happen again,” the post continues.
“ It’s not that we left feeling like that. They just did not welcome us,” Aparicio said. “If they didn’t want Latin music, then they shouldn’t go with a crew that the name even says, it’s in Spanish.”
Aparicio said the crowd composition Friday changed through the evening. It was “very white” in the beginning “ but by the end it switched to more Latinx and people of color on the dance floor,” she said. She said people had moved a few tables to create more room to dance.
At the end of the night, Aparicio said the managers asked her group not to “go to the media,” but she felt stung by the situation on several levels including the way the hotel has incorporated Latin elements in their menu and decor.
“Their menu has tacos and drinks in Spanish and (they have) Acapulco chairs. They’re clearly trying to have the culture, but not wanting to accept the culture,” she said. “You got scared when you saw people of color dancing.”