This year’s Deltopia in Isla Vista turned into a mass casualty event with one death, 60 medical calls for service, and 33 hospital transports in less than 72 hours. | Credit: Callahan Morgan

An Isla Vista property owner filed a lawsuit against the Poppin party app and music promoter Red Jooce Project for hosting an unsanctioned party in April, alleging that the company sold $35 tickets to a “Deltopia Music Festival” at two Del Playa houses without permission.

Deltopia, which is held annually on the first weekend of UCSB’s spring quarter in Isla Vista, draws thousands of college-age kids from all over California for a day-long block party in Isla Vista. This year was much the same, with revelers flocking to I.V. to join in the festivities, kicking off early in the morning and going well into the night. 

In 2023, the production level and marketing for Deltopia reached a new level with the Poppin party app, self-described on its Instagram account as “Your UCSB Party Plug.” Poppin is a party app and social media platform with bases in several college communities, including UCSB, UCLA, the University of Alabama, and Indiana University. Poppin first popped up in 2021, setting its ambitions to be the major party organizer for college campuses.

This year, UCSB’s Poppin branch marketed its “Deltopia Music Festival,” an event held in conjunction with electronic deejay and music provider Red Jooce Project, at the two properties on 6613-6619 Del Playa, which are owned by Oceanside Investment Properties LLC. 

Credit: Red Jooce’s Instagram

Without permission from Oceanside Investments, Poppin advertised the Deltopia Music Festival for weeks leading up to April 8. For the price of $35, people could attend one of three event stages at the connected properties, which included a stage hosted by Red Jooce Project. 

On April 27, Attorney Paul Burns filed a lawsuit on behalf of Oceanside Investment against both Poppin and Red Jooce Project for hosting and publishing advertisements for the commercial event “Deltopia Music Festival.” According to the complaint, Oceanside Investments is seeking punitive compensation for Poppin’s authorized ticket sales and event, listed in the lawsuit as a “violation of multiple Santa Barbara county ordinances.” The complaint also lists Poppin’s and Red Jooce Project’s alleged nuisance, negligence, and unfair competition as the basis for the suit.  

The complaint alleges that 60 medical calls — some for medical emergencies — were made specifically to this property; 33 medical transports were conducted to Santa Barbara area hospitals and emergency rooms; two people had to be administered naloxone for opioid overdoses; and “one person was hospitalized in critical condition as a direct result of Poppin’s event.”

Credit: Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office additionally reported two felony assaults on police officers, while six people were taken into custody for public intoxication, four people were arrested for fighting in public, and two juveniles were arrested for public fighting and burglary at the properties. Reports also state that partygoers jumped or fell from balconies onto the crowd, which resulted in at least two hospitalizations — all at Poppin’s party.

Oceanside Investments is arguing that Poppin and Red Jooce Project conducted their party in a manner “effected with malice, fraud, or oppression,” which the lawsuit contends entitles the property owner to recover punitive damages. The lawsuit alleges Poppin promoted and mass-marketed the event understanding that partiers would engage in illegal and injurious behavior. The property owners also said they were “subjected to negative publicity and have lost time and money and been damaged in amounts to be proven at trial” from the Deltopia event.

The Independent spoke to several students who attended the event in question, who described it as “no more rowdy than any other Deltopia party,” noting that Poppin is well-known for throwing large and lively events. They said they understood the reasoning of Oceanside Investments, which has plenty of evidence to pursue a lawsuit against the promoters, but noted that, from a student’s perspective, Poppin and Red Jooce’s party was just “rowdy, raucous, and Deltopia in nature.” 

The Independent reached out to Poppin and the Red Jooce Project for comment, but received no response.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.