For one brief shining moment this summer, UFO enthusiasts had a dream.
With the help of a joke Facebook page that went viral, they hoped to band together and, en masse, rush onto Area 51 Sept. 20. Their goal? To prove, once and for all, that the military really is hiding UFOs or evidence of aliens at the Air Force’s storied and highly classified test site in the Nevada desert.
After all, the tongue-in-cheek page claimed, “they can’t stop all of us. ... If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets [sic] see them aliens.”
But now, after the ill-conceived “Leeroy Jenkins”-style run morphed into an electronic dance music, arts and camping event called Alienstock, it is all falling through. Storm Area 51 creator Matty Roberts posted a notice on Alienstock’s website earlier this week to announce he was pulling the plug on the festival. He pointed fingers at permit holder Connie West and the festival’s alleged “lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000+ Alienstock attendees.” Alienstock was to be held in the tiny desert town of Rachel, Nevada, which is near Area 51 and where West helps run the Little A’Le’Inn hotel for alien enthusiasts.
In a sign of how bad things had apparently gotten, Roberts insisted he and Alienstock would not be involved in “FyreFest 2.0,” referencing the infamous 2017 music festival that melted down before it even began and led to multiple counts of fraud.
“We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point,” Alienstock’s website now reads. “We just don’t want anyone to get injured or stuck in the middle of the desert.”
Alienstock now plans to relocate to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Sept. 19, the site said.
Meanwhile, the military and local officials from nearby Lincoln County, Nevada, are surely breathing a sigh of relief that Alienstock is moving even farther away from Area 51, and making it even less likely that misguided alien seekers will charge the gate. Which is probably for the best. Because contrary to the original Facebook page’s claim, they probably can’t outrun security forces’ bullets.
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.