In 1986, Daytona Beach was the place to be this time of year. The Florida shoreline was reason enough, but the masses came in droves that year for one thing: MTV’s inaugural Spring Break special.
Since then, the pop culture phenomenon has grown in size, appeal and general awesomeness, and this year’s location raised the bar: the network’s party-hearty broadcast would be filmed right here in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Take a quick look at the 2011 special’s first official concert and it’s clear that, like good wine, the collegiate four-day raver has improved with age. Pitbull and Wiz Khalifa were to headline the bash, but local boy Ne-Yo stopped by and a special third act also took the stage on Monday: the Doggfather himself, Snoop Dogg.
The party was hoppin’ from the start, with the Palms pool dominated by bathing-suit-clad 20-somethings. The event also lived up to Spring Break’s ethos of nonstop debauchery: Almost everyone had a drink in hand, including Jersey Shore’s Deena Nicole, seen beating up the beat with castmate Pauly D as Khalifa wowed.
Aside from the concert, Spring Breakers got glamified with complimentary body paint, played in an Arthur movie-sponsored game lounge and entered to model in the special’s March 9 Express fashion show. A few participants even braved the heavy winds by taking to the heated pool, clutching to inner tubes or inflatable dolphins. From Michigan State, the University of Georgia, Moravian College—the country’s college kids were out and rep’n their colors. Bowling Green State University student Nicki Bollini said she decided to take her break in Sin City “because it was a lot different than everybody else, and Las Vegas is a lot of fun!”
After experiencing it myself, all I have to say is this: Daytona, you got nothin’ on Vegas.