It started out as a joke, explained the dude who launched the surprisingly popular Facebook page called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” last June 2019. With 2 million people setting their status as “Going” and another 1.5 million “Interested,” this shindig could get out of hand.
From his home base in California, Matty Roberts singly set into motion what might well turn into an enormous event, which might even make a political statement (“show us dem aliens”) of historic significance. Slated for September 19-22 in Nevada is “Alienstock” – as it’s being called now – located precariously near the ultra-top-secret and heavily guarded U.S. military base at Area 51, in the middle of the cactusy, sagebrush-filled, dry Groom Lake desert sands.
Regarding the overwhelming public embrace of his idea of penetrating a military perimeter that has 24/7 patrols, cameras, and who-knows-what other types of surveillance technology, by running, en masse, full-tilt-boogie (actually, naruko-style) into Area 51, Roberts said he didn’t see it coming:
“I never foresaw this happening to me at all, I have never done anything that has reached this scale of attention and it’s completely surreal and really cool.”
Roberts insists that his intentions were completely innocent and high-spirited and that the ‘Likes’ to his jesting Facebook page were completely unexpected:
“It’s insane and I just created a joke while I was playing video games and it has taken off to this wild monster. I want to make this something as a positive, enjoyable, safe and profitable for the rural area of Nevada.”
On August 7, the FBI took a particular interest in Roberts, who explained:
So, the FBI showed up at 10 am and contacted my mom and she calls me, like, ‘Answer your phone the FBI is here. I was kind of scared at this point but they were super cool and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t an actual terrorist making pipe bombs in the living room.”
Alienfest is on! So far, admission is free because, according to Roberts:
“Profits would be fun, but I don’t want to be seen as a profit-driven guy. I don’t care about the money aspect, I never intended for this to become a real thing. Now, I want to make it fun and I think just capitalizing on it and making a ton of money just ruins the idea of the grassroots idea of it.”
Sir, we salute you.
As a reminder, Roberts repeated that people who gather in the Nevada desert for Alienstock (which he hopes will become an annual event) will not, in fact, be “storming Area 51” – that’s just the name of the Facebook page that focused attention on the covert goings-on at Groom Lake, south of Las Vegas.
Alienstock will go down in the tiny town of Rachel, Nevada, “located in Sand Spring Valley, in the southern Nevada high desert, along the world’s only Extraterrestrial Highway, aka Hwy 375. It is located about 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas, separated from it by the restricted area around the Nellis Ranges, and about 27 miles north of the top secret Air Force Base known as Area 51.”
Rachel was founded in May 1973 under the name Tempiute Village, later changed to Sand Springs. When the Union Carbide tungsten mine reopened in Tempiute Mountain, the town was renamed again: Rachel, after Rachel Jones, the first baby born in the valley.
After Union Carbide tungsten mine shut down in 1988, the 500-some residents dwindled to the present-day 80 or fewer, mostly retired, and including some part-timers.
Cell service is sparse in Rachel. The town got its own fire truck in 2002 but other amenities are few and far between:
“The only remaining local businesses in Rachel is the Little A’Le’Inn Restaurant and Bar. The Quik Pik Mini Mart and gas station closed in the winter of 2006/2007, after briefly being operated by a new owner. The Area 51 Research Center, a small UFO souvenir shop, was closed in the Fall of 2001.”
Rachel has been dubbed the “UFO Capital of the World.” Visitors interested in ufology pilgrimage to Rachel and the Little A’Le’Inn from all around the world.
The residents of Rachel are understandably nervous about a large influx of needy guests next month and posted a message on their town’s web page so important it merited red letters. It reads:
“With the social media attention this event is getting we want to clarify a few points for those not familiar with the area. Other than the Little A’Le’Inn, a small bar/restaurant/motel there are no services in Rachel. There is no gas and no store. The Inn is booked for that weekend. If you plan on attending the event you must be experienced in camping, hiking and surviving in a harsh desert environment and have a vehicle in good shape. You must be prepared to be completely on your own for food, water, gas etc. We expect cell service and the internet in Rachel to be offline. Credit card processing will not work, so bring enough cash. If you camp on public land pick up all your trash.”
The civic leaders in Rachel also call visitors’ attention to a cautionary document with the extremely provocative name, “Dreamland Resort Preparations and Tips before you come to Area 51.”
As a final word of warning, the Rachel website says that “the Lincoln County Sheriffs Department will be on high alert. Several Federal Agencies will be present as well. Anyone trespassing in the restricted zone around Area 51 will be arrested. If you choose to visit do not go near the border, and absolutely do not cross the line. Along all major dirt roads, the border is marked with clear warning signs. In other areas, orange posts mark the border. There is no fence.”
Forewarned is forearmed. Perhaps Alienstock should consider a venue that is a tad more hospitable?