The Isla Vista Community Services District plans to host a small-scale, safe, alternative event to Deltopia this year — a pared-down version of its first-ever Spring Festival, held in April 2022.
The concept for this year’s public event consists of a Community Service Organization (CSO) safety station at Little Acorn Park, free food sourced from local businesses, bottled waters and an art mural display where participants can take photos.
“It’s a more limited scope than last year from having a stage and a concert, but it’s focusing on these safety essentials,” Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) General Manager Jonathan Abboud said at the meeting.
IVCSD Director Jay Freeman commended the decision to do something “small [and] narrow-focused” given the board’s staffing and time constraints.
“I’m happy about this based on the concerns I had last time with relation to the description of how much staff time would go into planning full events, and we were already working overtime,” Freeman said at the meeting. “I like this. I do hope that when we’re talking about this small event, it really does have a small budget to go with it.”
The IVCSD Board of Directors discussed the proposal for the event at its Feb. 14 meeting and approved the formation of an ad hoc committee, involving Directors Olivia Craig, Ela Schulz and Carrie Topliffe, to coordinate planning with staff.
Last year, IVCSD held an outdoor concert in Perfect Park, complete with live performances from local bands Dead Set, Stolen Bikes, Hominid, Task Force Freedom and DJ Dongle. The one-day festival, which aimed to draw crowds away from the unsanctioned street partying occuring on Del Playa Drive, had a $90,000 budget and attracted 1,000 visitors throughout the day.
“It’s so important that we have something that can help draw people away from what’s happening on DP, and every single person that we divert out of that area is a win, even if it’s just one person,” IVCSD Board President Spencer Brandt said at the Feb. 14 meeting. “We didn’t get one person last year, we got a thousand, which I thought was a huge win.”
IVCSD Director Kirsten Deshler touted last year’s event a “milestone” for the district, representing an initial foray into offering safe, alternative events to community residents. She expressed her desire for IVCSD to keep its presence during Deltopia beyond the scope of the proposed activities.
“What I think is important when you’re thinking about enacting cultural change is to have consistency. I think given timing, given staff, it makes sense that the district can’t put on a big event, but I hope that we do have a big enough footprint this time so that it does look consistent,” Deshler said at the meeting. “I don’t think a mural and water is enough.”
Freeman also highlighted future opportunities for the district to host a Spring Festival, pointing to IVCSD’s recent talks with I.V. Recreation & Park District (IVRPD) to partner on a recreational event for Deltopia weekend in 2024.
IVCSD is in talks with IVRPD to partner on a recreational event for Deltopia weekend 2024, according to Abboud.
“I’m really happy with where this process has gone,” Freeman said. “I’m really excited by this because this has taken the directive to work with IVRPD.”
A version of this article appeared on p. 5 of the Feb. 23, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.