Guy Debord has said that representation has replaced reality. The pop culture influence on Deltopia has been great since this social event in Santa Barbara, California began in 2004. Participants consist primarily of college students from all over California. It is an event that takes place during the weekend at the start of spring quarter where parties are thrown with djs and multiple events on the 6500 to 6600 blocks of Del Playa Drive. I had the opportunity to go to Isla Vista and see what all the talk was about a couple weekends ago.
Upon arriving on Friday night, my friends and I were eager to get the celebrations started. Along with friends, we checked into a small motel on State St. After finally getting to the famous Del Playa Drive, and after paying the pricy $40 cab fare, it was finally time to experience what some peers called, “the best weekend of their lives.” We were quickly greeted by crowds of people walking up and down the infamous street and also noticed a lot of law enforcement standing on the sides ensuring everyone was safe and taking care of the ones who were seeking assistance. The excitement came on Saturday when a reportedly 15,000 people were in attendance.
The pop culture was quickly noticed when arriving at approximately 11:30 a.m., hearing well-known songs such as “Heads Will Roll,” as heard in the popular party movie Project X, at every other house, beer pong tables everywhere, hats with sayings such as “party with sluts” and “let’s get wasted,” and the typical bro tanks on almost every guy there. After partying for what seemed to be forever, I was instantly brought back to reality when seeing numerous guys and girls being assisted by the EMT from alcohol poisoning and numerous other issues involved in extreme partying environments. At about 5 p.m., the “daygers” as they were referred to died down and people went home to prep for the night parties and events.
I was expecting it to be just like the night before, unfortunately I was completely wrong. Project X, which came out in 2012, shows that after the major party that was thrown that there was a large riot in which intoxicated party goers participated and where cops attempted to control, the bomb squad and what seemed like the SWAT team was present, fires were engulfing cars and houses, and there were news helicopters hovering the out of control riot in attempt to get a good news story. Many people exclaimed they felt as if they were in that movie with what occurred Saturday night the weekend of Deltopia.
At around 11 p.m. after attending a few parties I heard someone yell, “a cop just got stabbed in the eye!” My friends and I quickly run towards what seemed to be a billion people in a crowd chanting “fuck the cops, fuck the cops!” Chants kept changing from “Ole Ole” to “USA,” while people were smashing car windows, starting mini fires, and ripping stop signs up from the concrete. The police were quick to control the scene, using tear gas, flash bombs, rubber bullets, and bringing in what looked like the bomb squad in massive trucks. I remember hearing multiple people saying they felt like they were in the movie Project X, with the multiple law enforcements, helicopters, and officers yelling at everyone to “stand down!” I believe they were highly influenced by the pop culture movie because in the movie all of the kids get away with no consequences, in this case over 100 people were arrested and over 40 were taken to the hospital; this was including the events during the day.
No deaths have been reported from the weekend or the riot. An officer did sustain a head injury when he was hit with a bag which appeared to have alcohol inside of it. The impact this riot had not only on the local people of Santa Barbara but around the country was great. It made it on Good Morning America and was a major wake up call for local UCSB students to potentially end this party packed weekend for good. There are still a lot of property damage to recover and the relationship with law enforcement to be healed but popular culture among students does have a great impact for thinking they could be more authoritative or have more power over police just because they see it in TV shows and/or films, which many learned the hard way is not the case.