Popular conspiracy theories have inspired many to “storm Area 51.” But what is Area 51? And what makes it the alien hotspot of conspiracy theories?
Just the FAQs, USA TODAY
LAS VEGAS – There’s an alien drama unfolding near Area 51.
Matty Roberts, the 21-year-old Bakersfield gamer behind the globe-grabbing “Storm Area 51” Facebook spectacle that generated millions of RSVPs and evolved into the Alienstock music festival, is no longer attached to the mysterious desert event.
He’s instead throwing an Area 51 party in Las Vegas.
In a statement published to the Alienstock festival website, Roberts said “critical infrastructure” was not provided in time for the Sept. 20 music event – a gathering he expected to draw more than 10,000 people.
“We decided to pull the plug on the festival,” the statement said.
Roberts placed blame on Connie West, owner of the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, the town on Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway where Alienstock has been set to take place.
“[West] was given multiple opportunities to provide us with the proof that things expected at this festival were in place,” Roberts’ statement said. “In fact, she refused to provide to us, as agreed upon, contracts, proof of deposits or any paper proof of anything.”
In an interview with the USA TODAY Network, West disputed the claim. She said the separation came out of nowhere.
“Between 3 and 3:30 a.m. I was told they don’t want to work with me no more,” West said. “They said I could go ahead and leave now.”
In an interview with television station KVVU-TV, West said Alienstock is still a go.
“If [Roberts] chooses to go somewhere else, that’s his choice,” West said. “I’m still having a party because people are still coming to Rachel.”
Roberts is now teaming with Collective Zoo and Bud Light to host a free event at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Sept. 19.
Set for an 8 p.m. kickoff, the Area 51 Celebration is billed as an “out-of-this-world evening with top-secret entertainment.”
Before Alienstock there was a Facebook event called “Storm Area 51 – They Can’t Stop All of Us” – a joke gathering that unexpectedly generated more than 2 million RSVPs and led government officials to declare emergencies.
In the aftermath of the hoax event’s viral journey, Roberts – a college student, gamer and guitar player from Southern California – showed enthusiasm for organizing festival and seizing the marketing opportunities it spawned.
On Monday, Roberts decided it wasn’t a good idea after all.
“We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point,” he said. “We are not interested in, nor will we tolerate any involvement in a FYREFEST 2.0.”
The Fyre Festival was a highly publicized, failed music event in 2017 that led to a six-year prison term for its creator, Billy McFarland. After his arrest, he admitted to defrauding investors of $26 million and collecting over $100,000 in a fraudulent ticket-selling scheme.
“AlienStock is a brand that stands for unity and concern for like minded people,” Roberts said in a statement. “It’s grown into much more than a location. It’s a phenomenon that can only promise absolute safety and peace, and we need to move the festival to guarantee that.”
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