Isla Vista has become a heaven for spring breakers every year where thousands of teenagers and young adults come to the half-square mile beach town to party. Even though Isla Vista has had the reputation of being a place where college students party throughout the decades, this label became even more notorious with the creation of the event called “Floatopia” that included drinking alcohol while floating in the ocean on rafts or relaxing on the beach during the beginning of spring quarter. As Floatopia grew in popularity it became a very destructive and dangerous event that fostered the creation of “Deltopia” when it got banned in 2009. Deltopia has a similar goal as it is about drinking and partying during the day. The difference is that it is focused on Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista, instead of the ocean and beach.
Deltopia is an annual party where people walk the street of Del Playa in search of different house parties. In 2010, Deltopia started off smaller regarding attendance, but in 2013 and 2014 record-breaking attendance hit between 15,000 and 25,000 people. In 2014, the day ended in a riot where people were smashing windows, tearing down stop signs, and police were injured by hundreds of people throwing rocks and bottles. The police had to deploy tear gas and fire rubber bullets to civilize the situation. The riot in 2014 made national news and unfortunately reinforced the idea that Isla Vista is a place where college students behave wildly and drink alcohol excessively. The riot shed a negative light on UC Santa Barbara however, out of the 62 people claiming to be students that were cited or arrested only 16 of them claimed to be UC Santa Barbara students. Much of the disturbance came from people visiting Isla Vista for the weekend. Because of this fact, Isla Vista residents started a campaign called “Keep it Local” to reinforce the idea that events like Halloween and Deltopia should be when Isla Vista residents can celebrate together without while respecting the community.
In 2015, Deltopia “drew only half the crowd” than in 2014. The future of Deltopia is unknown but one thing is known; Floatopia and Deltopia have truly made an impact on the history and culture of Isla Vista.
- Wikipedia has a fairly detailed article at Floatopia about the origins of the event and subsequent years.