Exploring the B.E.A.T. Vinyl Club in El Paso: A Journey Through Music and Community



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SHOP RECORD DISPLAYS

In the heart of El Paso, Tx. sitting at the international border with Ciudad Juarez Mexico, a unique gathering of music enthusiasts has been thriving for over a decade and as the founder of Record Roots I was intrigued to meet Michael who’s currently in charge of the group. The B.E.A.T. Vinyl Club., an acronym for Bringing Eclectic Audiophiles Together, is more than just a club; it's a community movement that celebrates diverse musical tastes and the timeless appeal of vinyl records. The Club's journey, which began in a living room, has now become a staple in the city's cultural and music scene.

The Origins

The B.E.A.T. Vinyl Club was the brainchild of Julio Salgado, also know as ‘Dj Birth DFX’, a local DJ with a flair for Sonidero culture and mixing traditional Latin genres on vinyl with electronic music. The idea was simple yet compelling: create an intimate space where friends could gather and share their love of collecting vinyl records. The club's format was structured around 20-minute slots, allowing participants to play one side of an album and, if they wished, learn the art of mixing on two decks.

Michael Nelson, one of the first members and now the club's runner, reminisces about the early days. “It started with just one turntable and grew from there, as more people got comfortable we added the mixer and second deck” he recalls. The initial meetings were small, with members bringing their favorite records and spending hours immersed in music.

Growing the Community

As the club's popularity grew, it moved beyond Julio's living room to various local venues, from cafes to dive bars. This expansion not only increased its reach but also fostered a sense of community. The club's ethos of inclusivity and love for music attracted a diverse group of audiophiles over the years where regular attendees mix and mingle and welcome new comers and show them the ropes.

Michael highlights the club's adaptive nature, especially during the pandemic. “We tried virtual meetups, and while it wasn’t the same, it kept our analogue community connected. We even held virtual raffles to keep the spirit alive.” The raffles, a staple of the club’s events, were crucial in maintaining engagement, support the club financially, and also help promote local record shops and artist.

A New Chapter

In 2022, Julio relocated to Mexico City, passing the baton to Michael. Under his stewardship, the Club has continued to flourish, celebrating its tenth anniversary last year. Michael has maintained the Club’s original vision of family-friendly events, while introducing new elements, such as promoting featured acts and changing up the routine “First Saturday” schedule to other days and nights of the week, and has also expanded collaborations with local businesses.

One such collaboration is with Old Sheepdog Brewery, where the club will host an event in August. The brewery is home to a budding art scene with an antique and record shop located upstairs. The brewery will be crafting a special beer for the occasion, showcasing the community’s support and enthusiasm.

In celebration of their 10th anniversary Michael and the Club were invited to curate three days of music for the Chalk The Block 16 Arts and Music Festival in downtown El Paso. “It was dope, I got to pick 30 of my favorite vinyl Djs to preform over three locations over the festival footprint, and we even had an all girls day featuring a line up of female DJs from both sides of the border,” said Michael.

The Impact and Future

The BEAT Vinyl Club’s influence extends beyond just music. It’s about creating spaces where people can discover new locales and build lasting connections. Michael emphasizes this importance, stating, “Part of our mission is to promote local businesses by rotating our meeting spots. It’s about discovering new places and supporting each other as a community. Just yesterday we hosted our July meeting at Aghaa’ Hat Co. as a fundraiser for its founder as she goes through a battle with cancer, that’s just what we do in El Paso.”

Looking ahead, Michael plans to continue expanding the club's reach and impact. They are organizing a special event in October featuring Dj Birth DFX, aiming to blend the B.E.A.T. Vinyl Club's eclectic style with the vibrant Cumbia Forever night.

Conclusion

The BEAT Vinyl Club stands as a testament to the power of music in bringing people together. From its humble beginnings in a living room to becoming a cornerstone of El Paso’s cultural fabric, the Club’s journey is a remarkable story of passion, community, and resilience. As it continues to grow and evolve, the B.E.A.T. Vinyl Club remains a beacon for all who share a love for music and vinyl records.

The B.E.A.T. Vinyl Club will hold it’s next event, the B.E.A.T. Vinyl Brunch on July 28 at The Hoppy Monk El Paso, followed by Old Sheep Dog Brewery on August 17th and as always everyone is welcome! I encourage you follow them on Instagram to stay updated, and check out their documentary of the Chalk the Block Festival.

Are you part of a club which celebrates music and vinyl culture? Please write to me to tell your story!

Felix, Record Roots

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