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- As many as 50,000 people could descend on the towns of Hiko and Rachel, Nevada, for two Area-51 themed events starting September 19, and the influx of alien enthusiasts and internet jokesters could completely overwhelm the tiny towns and the secretive Air Force base nearby.
- The 20-year-old who initially hatched the plan to “storm Area 51” has pulled out of Alienstock, one of the alien-themed events, saying it could become “Fyre Festival 2.0.” But Nevada officials are still bracing for an influx of curious extraterrestrial-seekers.
- The Air Force has warned that the Area 51 site was highly secure, and that anyone attempting to bypass security would be unwise. “Any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous,” Air Force spokesman Maj. Ethan Stroker previously told Insider.
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Extraterrestrial-seekers and internet jokesters alike are preparing to head to the Nevada desert on September 19 for two different Area 51 events – and law enforcement are bracing themselves for impact, the BBC reports.
Alienstock and Storm Area 51 Basecamp both started from a Facebook joke, which morphed into an internet phenomenon, with 3.5 million people expressing interest in attending the events.
Matty Roberts, 20, initially posted the suggestion that a mass of people storm Area 51, a highly secretive US Air Force testing site, to get a look at what’s inside and “see them aliens,” as the original event posting suggests.
“I posted the Area 51 Facebook event at about 2am on June 27,” Roberts told the BBC.
But it quickly spiralled out of control, and the tiny towns of Hiko and Rachel – there’s a combined population of 173, according to the BBC – are now expecting between 5,000 and 50,000 attendees at the two events.
The Lincoln County Sherriff, Kerry Lee, told the BBC that even if 1% of the people who had expressed interest showed up to the alein events, the area would be overwhelmed – the town of Rachel’s website warned of a “Fyre Festival 2.0.” Regardless, 150 police officers and 300 paramedics have been called in from across Nevada to help handle the potential influx.
Area 51 has long piqued the curiosity of alien enthusiasts, many of whom believe that the government is hiding alien life forms, or information about them, at the secretive site. However, the secrecy around Area 51 was due its testing aerial surveillance to use against the Soviet Union – not because the government had captured extraterrestrials.
The Air Force has warned that the Area 51 site was highly secure, and that anyone attempting to bypass security would be unwise.
“The Nevada Test and Training Range is an area where the Air Force tests and trains combat aircraft. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss specific security measures, but any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous,” Air Force spokesman Maj. Ethan Stroker previously told Insider via email.
Two men from the Netherlands have already been arrested for trespassing three miles inside a restricted zone at the Nevada National Security Site near Area 51. One of the men told police he was a YouTuber, and according to a release from the Nye County Sherriff’s department, the two men had taken footage of the site.
Roberts, the creator of the original Storm Area 51 event page and organizer of the Alienstock event, distanced himself from the event on its website.
“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,” the website says.
Regardless of whether anyone actually confirms extraterrestrial life at Area 51, they can at least get a commemorative T-shirt, or listen to Storm Area 51’s official song, “They Can’t Stop Us All.”