Storm Area 51 attendees headed home Sept. 22 after four days of activities that didn’t produce the massive crowds that had been anticipated, thereby costing promoters and Lincoln County considerable amounts of money and yet resulting in no alien abductions.
Only about 1/10th of the 30,000- 40,000 anticipated visitors arrived in Lincoln County, a far cry from the over two million who RSVPd to Matty Roberts’ June 2019 Facebook posting inviting people to “Storm Area 51 and see them aliens.”
In actuality, only 3,000-5,000 people showed up. The news media, podcasters, bloggers and documentary filmmakers were on hand to document events.
Only a handful of people approached the Air Force base near Rachel at 3 a.m. Sept. 20 and 21, posing no real threat at all. One young man led his charge to the gate with a toilet plunger, his weapon of choice.
An individual who took part in the ‘storming of the gate’ early Friday morning said he thought what it really looked like was “an ambitious idea that was more of a party atmosphere.” He said it was “come out, take your selfie in the middle of the night with your spotlight at the barbed wire and go home.”
Another man said he thought this “was a once-in-a-generation event due to the power of the internet to mobilize a whole bunch of weirdos to go out to a government facility with the non-zero possibility that they would get shot.”
A third summarized the event at Rachel as being “some young people rebelling and hoping to lure ET into a cave with Reese’s Pieces.”
The U.S. Air Force had issued a stern warning to the public not to trespass into Area 51, which it said is used to test aircraft and train personnel.
No one had any idea what to expect for the events of Sept. 19-22, but it turned out far better than expected.
One man, dressed in a costume that looked like he was being carried by an alien, was from Colorado Springs. Four women, dressed like female aliens, were from Florida and Texas.
At the Alien Research Center in Hiko, a young woman from Brazil, although she lives and works in Las Vegas, did an iPhone video report in Portuguese. This reporter was even interviewed for the iPhone cast sent to viewers in Brazil.
Crowds were heavier for the Alienstock event in Rachel than they were at basecamp in Hiko. The music festival in Hiko drew so few people that by late Friday night organizers canceled the show Sept. 21 and only vendors were left on-site. Cover bands at the basecamp were essentially left without an audience.
Famed DJ Paul Oakenfold made an appearance Sept. 21 but only had about 100 people, so promoters decided to cancel the music part of his show, but kept the area open, reducing the $51 entry free to $20, then making it free. More people didn’t show up, however, simply because there weren’t any.
The initial $51 entry fee may not have been expected by visitors, nor did they want to pay just to get into the fenced area where the vendor booths and food trucks were.
Event executive producer Keith Wright of Las Vegas still had a positive outlook. “Our event was successful, with the major exception that nobody showed up.”
Many of those who went to Hiko first may have then gone up to Rachel, about 45 miles west, where things were free and there was a much larger open area.
County Commissioner chairman Varlin Higbee said, “Most people just came to one place or the other, stayed for a bit, went to the other and drove back home or just hung out.”
Outside the research center gift shop, long lines formed, and it remained overcrowded all day.
Some said the event at basecamp had the atmosphere of a well-oiled machine, but overplanned and overpriced.
One person said more people could be seen on a given day at the Clark County Fair.
At both Hiko and Rachel the average age was between 20-45.
As a final note, there were no reports of alien craft sightings, or alien abductions. E.T himself apparently stayed home.