Article by Associated Press September 22, 2019 (latimes.com)
• Although more than 2 million Facebook users clicked their interest, and local officials anticipated a crowd of at least 30,000, only about 3,000 people made the trip to the small desert city Rachel, Nevada to “Storm Area 51”. Authorities said no more than 1,000 people visited Area 51 gates near Rachel on Thursday and Friday. No one was arrested there.
• Visitors hailed from France, Russia, Germany, Peru, Sweden, Australia and many U.S. states. A few hundred more camped and attended one night of an abbreviated music festival about 40 miles away in Hiko, Nevada. “It seems like a lot of good people chilling and having a good time,” observed Dave Wells, a 56-year-old stonemason from Cincinnati wearing a Day-Glo green festival T-shirt and taking in the scene Saturday in Rachel.
• Connie West, proprietor of the Little A’Le’Inn at the epicenter of the Alienstock event, said “[W]e found peace and friendship” as campers packed up to leave and volunteers began cleaning up. West wants to do it again next year. “As well as it turned out? Why the heck not?” she said. At a festival clinic in Rachel, one man was treated for dehydration, and one woman was treated for a drug-related issue.
• The “Area 51 Basecamp” at the Alien Research Center souvenir shop in Hiko, didn’t fare as well. Organizers pulled the plug Saturday on a second concert after drawing only about 500 ticket-buyers for a Friday show. Preparations had been made for up to 5,000.
• Sheriff Kerry Lee said he watched about 20 people feign a rush before dawn Saturday toward a base gate outside Rachel, before stopping short. In Lincoln County, six people were arrested for misdemeanors, mostly trespassing beneath the floodlights and cameras of two military base gates and the watchful eyes of sheriff’s deputies.
• Officials had feared unruly crowds would overwhelm water, electricity, food, fuel, internet and telephone service in a county with just 5,200 people covering an area the size of Massachusetts. “I’m going to call it a success from our end. It’s because we got out in front of it,” said Varlin Higbee, a Lincoln County commissioner who signed an emergency declaration to allocate $250,000 in emergency funds. Higbee said they might sue to recoup costs.
• Matty Roberts, a 20-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif., made the Facebook post to Storm Area 51 as a hoax, then promoted it, then broke away from the event just weeks before. Roberts hosted a Thursday evening event at an outdoor venue in downtown Las Vegas, also using the “Alienstock” name. He said he wants to trademark the name and take it on tour to reach people who couldn’t travel to Nevada. “That’s pretty much the plan for me,” Roberts said. “It’s been a ton of fun.”
HIKO, Nev. — The festivals are over and Earthlings from around the globe headed home Sunday after a weekend camping and partying in the dusty Nevada desert and trekking to remote gates of Area 51, a formerly top-secret U.S. military base long the focus of UFO and space alien lore.
They left in peace, officials and the host of a free “Alienstock” festival said Sunday.
Visitors hailed from France, Russia, Germany, Peru, Sweden, Australia and many U.S. states — many toting cameras — in answer to an internet post in June suggesting that if enough people rushed a military base to “see them aliens” at 3 a.m. Sept. 20, authorities couldn’t stop everyone.
More than 2 million Facebook users clicked their interest, but in the end only a few thousand made the trip to the tiny Nevada desert city of Rachel, population about 50, more than two hours north of Las Vegas by car.
Campers and festival-goers in Rachel peaked at about 3,000 on Friday, said Eric Holt, the Lincoln County official who headed planning for a feared influx of at least 30,000.
A few hundred more camped and attended one night of an abbreviated festival about 40 miles away in Hiko, population 120.
“It seems like a lot of good people chilling and having a good time,” observed Dave Wells, a 56-year-old stonemason and festivals-seeker from Cincinnati wearing a Day-Glo green festival T-shirt and taking in the scene Saturday in Rachel.
Did anyone find actual extraterrestrials or UFOs? (As if anyone could really tell among the masked and costumed beings posing for photos and cavorting in the desert.)
“We didn’t,” said Little A’Le’Inn owner-turned-“Alienstock” festival host Connie West, proprietor of the 10-room motel and cafe that became the center of the extraterrestrial-seeking universe.
“But we found peace. And friendship,” she said Sunday as campers packed up to leave and volunteers began cleaning up.
4:45 minute video of people interviewed at Storm Area 51 event (Fox News YouTube)
10:16 minute video of the Storm Area 51 event (‘Explore With Us’ YouTube)
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