Future Tense

The Guy Behind the “Storm Area 51” Meme Is Canceling His Festival Before It Becomes a “Humanitarian Disaster”

An Extraterrestrial Highway sign seen along state route 375 on July 22, 2019 near Rachel, Nevada.
An Extraterrestrial Highway sign seen along state route 375 on July 22 near Rachel, Nevada. David Becker/Getty Images

The creators of the viral “Storm Area 51” Facebook event announced that they no longer want to be associated with the Alienstock festival that was originally planned to take place in Rachel, Nevada, in late September. “Due to the lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000+ AlienStock attendees, we decided to pull the plug on the festival,” a statement on the Alienstock website reads. “We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point.”

In July, the satirical “Storm Area 51” Facebook event made headlines when millions of people indicated that they were “interested” in or “going” to “see them aliens” by invading the fabled military base. Building off of the online hype, event creator Matty Roberts decided to hold an actual festival in Rachel, the town closest to Area 51. While Roberts had envisioned a weekend of arts and entertainment, the town itself was worried about whether it had the infrastructure to support the 5,000 to 30,000 people who were expected to attend. There were concerns that organizers wouldn’t be able to obtain enough food, water, and gas for thousands of people in a few short months.

“The Alienstock event in Rachel just became Fyre Fest 2.0 as we had predicted,” a new statement on the town’s official website reads. “If any event still happens it is going to be a pretty sad affair with no bands, very little infrastructure and a lot of unhappy campers.”

Roberts and his event organizer, Frank DiMaggio, are now encouraging people who were planning to attend to instead go to a free “Area 51 Celebration” in downtown Las Vegas.
However, there may still be a festival in Rachel. Connie West, the owner of the Little A’Le’Inn motel where Alienstock was supposed to take place, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that she’s still planning on holding the festival after having a falling out with Roberts. West claims that there will be 20 bands, two comedians, vendors, and a haunted house. “Yeah, it’s going forward,” she told the Journal. “I’ve also got the medical paid for and all of my permits. We’re going to throw the best party that we can.”

A competing event featuring talks from ufologists, called Area 51 Basecamp, is also still set to take place.