“Deltopia” results in riot near UCSB
Santa Barbara’s annual spring break party, Deltopia, resulted in a violent demonstration that left 100 people arrested and dozens hurt, according to the LA Times.
The event, held by University of California, Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College students, is held every year at Isla Vista as one big celebration for spring break.
Deltopia consistently attracts youth from colleges throughout California, including Santa Monica College. This year police issued an ordinance that limited the levels of music that could be played at large gatherings, which frustrated some of the party-goers.
2012 SMC alumnus Leor Amar, also known as “DJ Childs Play,” was one of the DJ’s for Deltopia this year. Now a fourth-year UCSB student, Amar started DJ-ing when he was about 13 and has risen to fame in the form of a feature on the radio station Power 106 earlier this year.
“My first time DJ-ing at Deltopia was in 2013 and was by far one of the most epic experiences I've ever had, as the crowd exceeded over 5,000 people,” Amar said. “This past time there was an unexpected surprise as the regulations were changed.”
Through almost tangible details, Amar recounted what he observed the night of April 5.
“As the riots began, I witnessed kids throwing glass bottles at police officers and pulling stop signs out of the ground and in response, the police launched multiple tear gas grenades into the crowds," said Amar. "Upon the explosion, I found myself and surrounding people running faster than imaginable. As the tear gas spread throughout the air everyone was affected, making it hard to breathe and see."
Amar regretted the turnout of this year’s event, saying, “It was a tragic experience. Seeing my college community collapse on what was to be a festive occasion was something that felt to have been out of reality.”
To second-year sociology major Adir Hassid, the experience was less of a tragedy and served more as the meager means of entertainment for the night.
“I had a great time this year and I would say that the riots only made it funner,” Hassid said.
Another SMC student and attendee of Deltopia who declined to share his name revealed that the music ordinance left crowds of people in search of a party to turn to smaller, private house parties where they drank throughout the day.
“I started drinking at my friend’s place and kind of got really drunk,” the student said. “Then, we heard of this big party going on so we all went to go check it out."
“Since there were so many people outside at once, people started gathering and cheering and chanting. Not really rioting,” he continued.
The student denounced claims that the event was a “riot,” comparing it to his own experience in the Israeli army.
“I've seen real riots filled with hate. This wasn't really a riot or ‘violent,’ as they showed in the media, just a bunch of people letting out a little steam and having fun," he said.
While some students predicted that next year’s Deltopia, if there is one, will likely be subject to even harsher security measures, the event remains the highlight for thousands of students’ spring break.