Image caption, A earlier gate come the top-secret US armed forces installation in Lincoln County, Nevada recognized as Area 51
In Nevada's remote southerly county the Lincoln lie 2 unassuming towns, their linked population, 173. Surrounding by arid landscapes and dusty roads as much as the eye deserve to see, the communities of Rachel and Hiko appear unremarkable.

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What makes them special, however, is your proximity come a top-secret us Air pressure base, frequently known together Area 51. The mysterious military test area, long connected with UFO conspiracy theories, has actually cemented their location in alien folklore.

In these isolated towns, native 19 September, 10s of thousands of world are intended to conference for 2 festivals, Alienstock and Storm Area 51 Basecamp.

Unlike most large festivals, these events were no years in the making. Instead, they stemmed indigenous an net joke posted to facebook just four months ago.

In a whirlwind couple of months, the human behind the joke helped organise one of those festivals, i m sorry he currently fears might be a "possible humanitarian disaster".


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

The name of the Facebook occasion was: "Storm Area 51, lock Can't Stop every one of Us". The plan, together the name implied, was to fee at the basic in big enough number to bypass security.

Once inside the facility, the supposed secrets lurking in ~ - the alien an innovation and clandestine federal government research - might finally be disclosed come the public. "Let's watch them aliens", the event's description declared, albeit flippantly.

"I posted the Area 51 Facebook event at about 2am ~ above June 27," grandfather Roberts said the "It was completely a joke from the get-go. Over there was simply a tonne of fist out that nowhere and also it was awesome."

Image source, Facebook

As it stands, more than 3.5 million people have expressed interest in attending the event on 20 September. Mr Roberts claimed there is a "good handful taking it seriously".

One of castle is 33-year-old real estate investor art Frasik, native Ohio. He told the the he and others were figured out to enter the basic to "expose and adopt the exploration of the aliens".

"I'm going right into Area 51 since our American taxes dollars accumulation this facility and after 70 years of hiding alien technology from the world, it's our right to watch it," he wrote in a on facebook message.

Two men, a YouTuber and his friend, both native the Netherlands, have currently been arrested three miles inside a limited zone close to the Area 51 base. Charged through trespassing top top Tuesday, Ties Granzier, 20, and also Govert Sweep, 21, said police castle "wanted to look in ~ the facility".

Image source, Matty Roberts

Others have made comparable threats to get in the base, yet alongside wealth of memes, their seriousness is complicated to determine.

The us Air Force, ~ above the various other hand, is acquisition these dangers seriously. Laura McAndrews, a spokeswoman because that the wait Force, said the the "any effort to illegally accessibility military installations or army training areas is dangerous".

Mr Roberts has actually echoed the warning, speak he doesn't want anyone to obtain hurt. After the Facebook event went viral, FBI agents knocked ~ above his door to inquiry his intentions. Grandfather Roberts assured the agents he "wasn't structure pipe bombs or miscellaneous insane".

But what began as his "funny idea for a picture page" has actually escalated past his control. For the united state Air Force and the counties that Lincoln and also Nye, Area 51 trespassers can be the the very least of their worries.

Image source, Getty Images

In particular, the two festivals room posing major challenges because that local law enforcement and infrastructure. Alienstock, held by the little A'Le'Inn hotel in Rachel, and Storm Area 51 Basecamp, hosted at the extraterrestrial Research facility in Hiko, have actually both to be granted permits by Lincoln County.

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

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

But according to glen Campbell, one Area 51 expert, the basic didn't come to be publicly linked with aliens and also UFOs till the 1980s.

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

"With his announcement, countless conspiracies theories to be born," Annie Jacobsen, who wrote a bestselling book on Area 51, said the

Because the base is a classified armed forces facility, no-one knows what is at this time going ~ above there. Its objective has always been to "advance military science and technology faster and further than any other international power's in the world", ms Jacobsen said. That veil that secrecy leads others to different conclusions.

"The base stays a black color box the no-one can acquire into, so it has come to be a sort of Rorschach test for everything you want to believe," mr Campbell said the

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

Lincoln county sheriff Kerry Lee told the that, even if 1% of the facebook guests verified up, the "would be much more overwhelming 보다 we can handle".

Mr Lee said an additional 150 officers and also 300 paramedics are being brought in from across Nevada. Usually, only 26 policemans are at his disposal because that the entire 10,000 sq mile (27,000 sq km) county.

Those who perform trespass ~ above the Area 51 site will be arrested and could challenge a well of at the very least $1,000 (£800), mr Lee said. "My advice would be, if you're planning to come and see Area 51, you watch it from exterior the boundary," he warned.

Resources are being sail from many local, state and federal agencies, consisting of the FBI. The FBI, follow to grandfather Lee, is gathering knowledge on "the numbers that may be comes to this events".

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

Image caption, all rooms at the little A'Le'Inn in Rachel, whereby Alienstock is acquisition place, are completely booked

A explain on Rachel's website predicted that Alienstock would be "Fyre Festival 2.0". Fyre Festival, organized in 2017, was billed as a glamorous party in the Bahamas, however ultimately promised much more than it might deliver. Some believe that Alienstock can suffer a comparable fate.

Earlier this week, grandfather Roberts official severed ties v Alienstock, citing fear of a "possible humanitarian disaster". "Due to the lack of infrastructure, negative planning, danger management and also blatant neglect for the security of the supposed 10,000+ Alienstock attendees, we determined to traction the plug ~ above the festival," a statement on Alienstock's website read.

Former Alienstock organiser frank DiMaggio likewise distanced self from the festival. He told KTNV ras Vegas the occasion "needs to walk away prior to it becomes the best disaster that southern Nevada has ever before seen".

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

Image caption, Connie West, owner the the small A'Le'Inn, stated Alienstock is still going front "no issue what"

When asked if she had any kind 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 avoid it," she called a KTNV reporter.

Organisers the the second event, a two-day gathering of "believers", UFO experts and also musicians in ~ the alien Research facility in Hiko, seem an ext sanguine.

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

Day passes for the event price $51 (£41) every person, through parking, two bottles that water, a $10 food van voucher consisted of in the price. On-site accommodation is minimal to tents (costing $50 per day) or parking because that RVs and trailers (costing $150 per day).

Mr Wright, 49, said there's a "fair amount" that public space for tents, while water, electrical and sanitary needs are covered. But if the number exceed the tens of thousands "there's no way they have the right to be taken treatment of by the present infrastructure", that said.

Mr Wright, favor Alienstock's organisers, knows the crest of miscalculation room high. The after-effects could be calamitous, together they famously were for Fyre Festival.

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

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Unlike the united state government, grandfather Roberts has actually opted for complete disclosure. The fact - indigenous his view - is out there.