SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Bryan Walker was strolling down Gulf Boulevard with two female friends from Indiana University.
They were walking off their Whataburger meals yesterday and planning for the Migos concert they were heading to later on Rock Star Beach.
“I came to South Padre Island because this is the best place on the planet to party,” Bryan said standing just a few feet from the Starlight beach access.
A year ago, Bryan was in his finance class when his friend told him South Padre Island was the best place for Spring Break.
“Now we’re here,” he said excitingly.
Thousands of spring breakers from Texas and throughout the country have left their books behind and descended on the Island to party, have a good time and mainly to enjoy the music.
Over the course of Spring Break many hip hop artists and DJ’s from around the world will be spinning record remixes.
But some residents are still not happy about South Padre Island being a vacation destination for college kids.
Barry Sullivan, 72, has lived in the Tiki Condominiums since 2013. It’s located next to Clayton’s Beach Bar.
Sullivan called The Tiki Condominiums a family-oriented resort that relies on families to come and stay.
“I am totally against the entertainment that Clayton Brashear is bringing in this coming Wednesday,” said Sullivan. “The entertainer is a convicted felon of three sexual charges against a minor.”
Sullivan was referring to Tekashi69, who is scheduled to perform at Clayton’s today.
Tekashi earned two singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and was once widely considered one of 2017’s breakout stars in music.
According to news reports, Tekashi 69, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, has had shows that have ended in violence.
But that has not stopped Clayton’s from hosting the music talent and throwing the biggest beach parties during Spring Break.
Clayton’s was bumping with rap beats as MC Pete $$$ hyped the crowed yesterday counting down to the rap show featuring “Future,” an American rapper from Atlanta.
In the pit, the students were dancing, chugging beer and smoking and had long forgotten about school yesterday.
Clayton held lemonade in one hand as he watched the stage and students on the beach from the bar on the deck overlooking the beach.
“Texas week is kicking in,” Clayton said. “All the kids are getting down and getting in their rooms, and the hotels are full.”
He said his establishment is getting some negative feedback on Facebook from people who don’t want business on the Island.
Blain McCulloch, 69, used to be program director for a rock radio station located on South Padre Island. For about 20 years, McCulloch did radio remote broadcasts during Spring Break and later represented Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic Suncare.
“There’s a meanness and wildness of spirit that didn’t seem to exist before,” said McCulloch. “There seems to be more damage being done and people being hurt. That’s not good for the Island, and there seems to be a trend toward music that promotes violence.”
Those comments don’t seem to be affecting anyone, much less Clayton.
Beach goers walked on to the sand nonstop yesterday at Clayton’s and they were lined up waiting to get into Rock Star Beach.
“Spring Break has begun almost as expected, and everybody is having fun,” said Dennis Stahl, SPI mayor. “We expected 20 to 22 percent more visitors for Texas Week this year.”
He said part of that increase is first-time visitors who normally go to the recently-storm damaged Port Aransas area.
And all the predictions were right.
Max and Amber Mills flew in from Austin and San Antonio to meet their parents on South Padre for a vacation from work.
They said normally they go to Galveston Beach or Port Aransas for Spring Break.
“We came down here because the hurricane nuked those beaches,” Max said. “The beaches here are way better than Galveston, way better.”
Yesterday, they woke up late and spent the afternoon boogie boarding and enjoying the beachside bar drinks at Wana-Wana.
“We are seeing a lot of families and people are having a really good time. When you get 50,000 people, you’re going to have some incidents. I am very happy with how everything is going,” said Susan Guthrie, Island city manager.
Instead of Spring Break, McCulloch would like to see a Spring Festival with activities related to the beach and water such as volleyball tournaments, surfing, sand castle contests and other beach-related events. This would showcase South Padre Island.
“Let them have some fun,” Guthrie said about the spring breakers, “We’re in paradise.”
Carey Kinsolving contributed to this report
The city has many parking areas for the public, including:
The Convention Centre, located at 7355 Padre Blvd.
The Multi-Modal Area
The Post Office, located at 4701 Padre Blvd.
City Beach Access
Island Metro is the city’s free transportation system from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Don’t forget the 100 Beach Reach vans offering free transportation on the Island. Call (956) 761-1611.