‘I go to Spring Break to live, love and make long lasting memories with my best friends.’
I had only ever seen Spring Break in the movies; we don’t celebrate it in the UK like the US. In my teens I went to free parties and festivals. I was intrigued to find out what happens with young people at Spring Break, and how different it was to my experiences growing up. My imagination of what to expect wasn’t far from the truth. Groups of college kids chanting ‘Spring Break,’ pool party’s filled with couples making out, drinking competitions, girls stripping, guys flexing their muscles. It was very sexual with lots of twerking and grinding, and guys grabbing any piece of a girl they could.
I came to Cancun, Mexico to document the Spring Break culture; An American tradition populated in the 1960’s in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, following the release of the movie ‘where the boys are.’ Originally a novel published in 1958 by Glendon Swarthout. College students went on vacation to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where the book was based, bringing Swarthout’s novel to reality. Over 50,000 students arrived in 1961 for the spring break experience. Spring Break continued into the 1980’s with public nudity, damaged properties, and even rioting, leading the Mayor Bob Cox to announce the students were no longer welcome.
In 1986 MTV had also caught on, broadcasting Spring Break live from Daytona Beach, taking Ft. Lauderdale’s title as the Spring Break Capital. Spring Break had already started up in other locations, such as Panama City Beach, Arizona and Palm Springs and internationally to Jamaica and Mexico. To this day MTV still broadcasts annually from a different location every year.
American college students are still a large percentage going to Spring Break, but now people from all over the world are joining them. Maybe because of movies, the Internet, and social media, people became aware of Spring Break vacations and wanted to be part of it.
Cancun had everything that goes into a Spring Break cocktail; Vibrant youth culture full of life and promiscuity. Although dancing in the rain at a festival in Britain is very different to the sun-kissed air of Cancun, Mexico, it still had the youthful and carefree energy that I carried with me in my teens.