The creator of the Storm Area 51 Facebook page that kicked off a viral movement has now canceled all event plans, describing "a possible humanitarian disaster in the works."
In a message posted to the new AlienStockFestival website, organizer Matty Roberts confirmed the cancellation. The event had grown beyond an "expected 10,000+" attendees according to Roberts, far outgrowing the event's planned venue. The cancellation was necessary to avoid what Roberts describes as a possible "FyreFest 2.0" situation.
Storm Area 51's cancellation follows an unfortunate escalation among the event's followers. Two men described as Dutch YouTubers were arrested trespassing at Area 51's US Air Force installation. They were both picked up by Nevada's Nye County police officers and have been officially charged with trespassing. Officers described finding a laptop, cameras, and a drone in the two's belongings, as well as footage of Area 51. The Air Force has previously warned that attempting to access a military installation is dangerous.
While Roberts doesn't reference the YouTubers' arrest in his cancellation, the implication of the arrest speaks clear. Roberts has previously described the situation as a movement he sparked while he was bored at 2:00 am. He's a community college student that worked at a vape shop and played World of Warcraft in his spare time. He's now gone from hosting a rave with 350 to planning a conspiracy-driven protest movement watched by over 2,000,000 people.
"We just don't want anyone to get injured or stuck in the middle of the desert," is Roberts' new stated goal. And as such he's now planning to turn the Storm Area 51 event into a more typical rave in Las Vegas. The new plan is a party at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on September 19. Music starts at 8:00 pm and attendees can expect "EDM artists and some unique art being displayed for an 'out of this world' gathering!" Not quite storming Area 51, but also much less potential to get put in jail.
While Matty Roberts' Storm Area 51 event, or AlienFest as he dubs it, may have come to a more tepid conclusion than expected, his was not the only event planned. The Little A'Le'Inn bar and motel continues to make plans of its own, capitalizing on the viral nature of the event in its own way. And where two YouTubers are found, more are sure to follow. Roberts may find that in starting the Storm Area 51 movement, the most worrying aspects of the event had little to do with the venue and planned DJs.