Image caption, A earlier gate come the top-secret US army installation in Lincoln County, Nevada well-known as Area 51
In Nevada's remote southerly county that Lincoln lie 2 unassuming towns, their an unified population, 173. Surrounded by arid landscapes and dusty roads as far as the eye deserve to see, the communities of Rachel and Hiko appear unremarkable.

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What renders them special, however, is their proximity come a top-secret us Air force base, generally known as Area 51. The mysterious military test area, long connected with UFO conspiracy theories, has cemented their location in alien folklore.

In these isolated towns, from 19 September, tens of thousands of civilization are intended to conference for two festivals, Alienstock and Storm Area 51 Basecamp.

Unlike most large-scale festivals, these occasions were not years in the making. Instead, they stemmed from an internet joke post to facebook just four months ago.

In a whirlwind few months, the human being behind the joke helped organise among those festivals, which he now fears can be a "possible humanitarian disaster".


In June, 20-year-old Matty Roberts, a college student from Bakersfield, California, posted a tongue-in-cheek on facebook event.

The surname of the Facebook occasion was: "Storm Area 51, they Can't Stop all of Us". The plan, together the name implied, to be to charge at the base in huge enough numbers to bypass security.

Once within the facility, the claimed secrets lurking within - the alien technology and clandestine government research - could finally be disclosed to the public. "Let's check out them aliens", the event's description declared, albeit flippantly.

"I posted the Area 51 Facebook event at around 2am on June 27," mr Roberts told the "It was completely a hoax from the get-go. Over there was just a tonne of fist out the nowhere and it was awesome."

Image source, Facebook

As it stands, much more than 3.5 million world have expressed interest in attending the occasion on 20 September. Grandfather Roberts said there is a "good handful acquisition it seriously".

One of them is 33-year-old actual estate investor art Frasik, indigenous Ohio. He told the the he and also others were figured out to get in the basic to "expose and take on the discovery of the aliens".

"I'm going into Area 51 due to the fact that our American taxation dollars funds this facility and also after 70 year of hiding alien modern technology from the world, it's our best to see it," he wrote in a on facebook message.

Two men, a YouTuber and also his friend, both from the Netherlands, have currently been arrested three miles within a limited zone close to the Area 51 base. Charged through trespassing ~ above Tuesday, Ties Granzier, 20, and Govert Sweep, 21, told police they "wanted come look at the facility".

Image source, Matty Roberts

Others have actually made comparable threats to enter the base, however alongside an abundance of memes, your seriousness is complicated to determine.

The united state Air Force, on the various other hand, is taking these threats seriously. Laura McAndrews, a spokeswoman for the wait Force, told the the "any effort to illegally access military installations or army training areas is dangerous".

Mr Roberts has actually echoed the warning, saying he doesn't want anyone to gain hurt. After ~ the Facebook occasion went viral, FBI agents knocked on his door to inquiry his intentions. Mr Roberts assured the agents that "wasn't structure pipe bombs or something insane".

But what began as his "funny idea because that a meme page" has actually escalated past his control. For the us Air Force and the counties the Lincoln and also Nye, Area 51 trespassers might be the least of your worries.

Image source, Getty Images

In particular, the two festivals are posing major challenges for local legislation enforcement and also infrastructure. Alienstock, hosted by the little A'Le'Inn hotel in Rachel, and also Storm Area 51 Basecamp, hosted at the extraterrestrial Research center in Hiko, have actually both been granted permits by Lincoln County.

In preparation, the county has actually pre-signed one emergency declaration. Nobody knows with any confidence exactly how many human being will attend, yet figures ranging between 5,000 and also 50,000 have been bandied around.

Visiting Area 51 has been a trip for alien conspiracy theorists for decades. Located next to Groom Lake, the basic was created in the 1950s as a check facility because that the united state spy plane, the Lockheed U-2 enlightenment aircraft.

But follow to glen Campbell, an Area 51 expert, the facility didn't come to be publicly associated with aliens and UFOs till the 1980s.

This was when physicist Bob Lazar came forward ~ above a las Vegas TV station. In an interview, he claimed he to be hired to turning back engineer an alien spacecraft in ~ a separate facility close come Area 51.

"With his announcement, countless conspiracies theories were born," Annie Jacobsen, who wrote a bestselling publication on Area 51, called the

Because the base is a classified military facility, no-one knows what is right now going ~ above there. Its function has constantly been to "advance army science and modern technology faster and also further than any kind of other foreign power's in the world", ms Jacobsen said. That veil of secrecy leads others to various conclusions.

"The base remains a black color box that no-one can get into, so it has end up being a type of Rorschach test for everything you desire to believe," grandfather Campbell said the

As grandfather Roberts' Facebook event demonstrated, Area 51 remains a magnet for alien conspiracy claims.

Lincoln ar sheriff Kerry Lee said the that, even if 1% of the on facebook guests proved up, the "would be more overwhelming than we have the right to handle".

Mr Lee said secondary 150 officers and also 300 paramedics room being brought in from across Nevada. Usually, just 26 policemans are at his disposal for the entire 10,000 sq mile (27,000 sq km) county.

Those who perform trespass top top the Area 51 site will be arrested and also could face a fine of at least $1,000 (£800), mr Lee said. "My advice would be, if you're planning come come and see Area 51, you see it from external the boundary," the warned.

Resources space being diverted from many local, state and federal agencies, consisting of the FBI. The FBI, according to mr Lee, is gathering intelligence on "the number that may be comes to this events".

If top-end estimates prove accurate, Lincoln County's populace (around 5,000) would rise 10-fold overnight. In Rachel and Hiko, mr Lee said, the amenities would be insufficient. Aside from a couple of shops and a hotel, your medical, restroom, gas and also internet solutions are non-existent or patchy in ~ best.

Image caption, all rooms in ~ the tiny A'Le'Inn in Rachel, wherein Alienstock is taking place, are totally booked

A explain on Rachel's website predicted that Alienstock would be "Fyre Festival 2.0". Fyre Festival, held in 2017, was billed together a glamorous party in the Bahamas, yet ultimately promised more than it can deliver. Some think that Alienstock can suffer a comparable fate.

Earlier this week, grandfather Roberts officially severed ties through Alienstock, citing fear of a "possible humanitarian disaster". "Due to the absence of infrastructure, bad planning, threat management and also blatant disregard for the security of the supposed 10,000+ Alienstock attendees, we chose to traction the plug ~ above the festival," a declare on Alienstock's website read.

Former Alienstock organiser open minded DiMaggio additionally distanced himself from the festival. The told KTNV ras Vegas the occasion "needs to walk away prior to it i do not care the best disaster that southerly Nevada has ever seen".

Connie West, owner the the small A'Le'Inn, stated Alienstock will go still ahead. She said KTNV she has actually paid for security, toilets and paramedics and, ~ above Monday critical week, announced 20 bands and two comedians on the line-up.

Image caption, Connie West, owner of the tiny A'Le'Inn, claimed Alienstock is tho going front "no matter what"

When asked if she had any type of regrets, multiple sclerosis West damaged down in tears on camera. "No matter what it's going come happen, there's naught I have the right to do to prevent it," she said a KTNV reporter.

Organisers of the 2nd event, a two-day gathering of "believers", UFO experts and musicians at the extraterrestrial Research center in Hiko, seem an ext sanguine.

Keith Wright, an organiser for Storm Area 51 Basecamp, told the they have capacity for about 5,000 people.

Day passes for the event price $51 (£41) per person, through parking, 2 bottles the water, a $10 food truck voucher contained in the price. On-site house is limited to tents (costing $50 per day) or parking for RVs and also trailers (costing $150 every day).

Mr Wright, 49, said there's a "fair amount" of public an are for tents, when water, electrical and also sanitary requirements are covered. However if the number exceed the tens of thousands "there's no way they deserve to be taken treatment of by the currently infrastructure", the said.

Mr Wright, choose Alienstock's organisers, to know the stakes of miscalculation are high. The after-effects could it is in calamitous, as they famously were for Fyre Festival.

As the clock ticks, a feeling of anticipation is building, though grandfather Roberts said he has no regrets, yet. Anyone who attends Alienstock, or attempts come storm Area 51, is "doing so by their very own accord".

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Unlike the us government, mr Roberts has actually opted for full disclosure. The reality - indigenous his view - is out there.