Almost 150 people were arrested in Huntington Beach, California, on Saturday, after thousands showed up to a “kickback” birthday party that went viral on TikTok. Early Monday morning the event, known as “Adrian’s Kickback,” started trending on Twitter, where users were comparing the massive gathering to the 2012 party film Project X. And they weren’t far off.
According to Buzzfeed News, police estimated 2,500 people descended upon downtown Huntington, and to no one’s surprise, chaos ensued. Attendees can be seen dancing on the beach, jumping on cop cars, climbing palm trees, flag poles and lifeguard stands, setting off illegal fireworks and kicking each other in the chests for some reason in various online videos posted to TikTok and Twitter.
We’ve seen planned internet events play out IRL before. Just last month hundreds of people gathered in Nebraska to participate in an event inspired by a Reddit meme, now known as the Josh Battle. Despite its name, the battle turned out to be immensely more civilized than Saturday’s debaucherous kickback. So how did a viral TikTok turn into an unlawful assembly?
On Tuesday, a kid named Adrian posted a TikTok inviting people to his birthday party in LA’s Huntington Beach (specifically at lifeguard tower 13.) The flyer for the party, which lists its time, date, location and one requirement — BYOE (bring your own everything — began spreading around the internet, but especially on TikTok where the hashtag #adrianskickback has now over 280.9M views. Before the hashtag was flooded with videos from Saturday night’s chaotic scene, TikTok users, including Lionsgate’s official TikTok account were posting memes about how the party might play out, while popular creators were RSVP’ing to the event, undoubtedly inspiring more attendees. Some people even drove 14 hours to attend the party, while others flew all the way from Puerto Rico and Detroit. But most internet users were asking the question on everyone’s mind: Who the fuck is Adrian?
Well, clearly that didn’t matter much because as we know, thousands of young people showed up to party. And after such a terrible year of virtually no large celebrations (save for celebrities and influencers who just couldn’t stop partying), can we blame the youth for wanting to experience, as one attendee described it to Buzzfeed News, a “lit” social gathering?
Ultimately though, Adrian’s Kickback is just another example of the crazy power and influence TikTok wields, and how internet users, particularly young people, are increasingly inclined to participate in viral memes. Just add this 2,500 California kickback to the list, right under TikTok teens sabotage a Trump rally and hundreds of people show up to a Nebraskan field to fight each other with pool noodles.
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