“In the 1970s, Palm Springs was but a façade of its former self. The glitz and glamour of decades of celebrity had all but vanished. Fashionable shops, art galleries and upscale restaurants had vacated downtown Palm Springs, moving to the newer “in” towns of Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage. Many spaces on Palm Canyon Drive were relegated to being souvenir and T-shirt shops, and inexpensive restaurants catering to less-discriminating tourists.
By this time, “spring break” had invaded Palm Springs in the form of thousands of students, some of them hell-bent on partying with a no-holds-barred mentality—and the town’s image suffered even more. Each year brought progressively more of the young people who cruised Palm Canyon Drive until traffic was at a standstill. One Palm Springs police officer said it took two hours to go 2 miles.
The crowds eventually got out of control. In 1986, 80 people were arrested for attacking the Palm Springs police and looting during a riot. The spring bacchanal had cast an ugly eye on the village of Palm Springs. It reminded some longtime residents of what had happened in 1969, when the city had to enlist the aid of four other law-enforcement agencies to go into Tahquitz Canyon to rid the canyon of hippies who had encamped there and proceeded to trash the place….”