Forget Trump, forget Brexit, forget the impending doom of climate change, the story which has really gripped us all this year is Storm Area 51.
Set up as a joke on Facebook to ‘see dem aliens’, the idea that if enough people descended on the top secret US military base they’ll have to admit there are aliens there caught not just America’s imagination but the entire world (or those on social media at least).
Soon enough, hotels, hostels and B&Bs in the Nevada region were all booked up for later this month, and the joke was spiralling out of hand. The creator of the Facebook event even had the FBI turn up at his door.
Eventually, people realised raiding a US military base, which is under constant armed guard, probably wasn’t a good idea.
Instead, a festival of sorts was organised to appease those who were intent on travelling to the area all for a joke that got out of hand on social media. So, the organisers of Facebook meme page ‘Storm Area 51’ floated the idea of AlienStock, planned for the same weekend, but instead of Naruto running towards the military base, there’d be music, food, drink, and a celebration of all things alien.
However, anyone planning a festival these days will know what can also go wrong thanks to the infamous case of Fyre Festival. In case you missed it, Fyre was advertised as a ‘luxury music festival’, marketed at influencers and socialites who could afford the hefty ticket price.
Organised by Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, Fyre was planned to take place on an island in the Bahamas, but thanks to a lack of planning and organisation, and a whole load of believing their own bullshit, it turned in a ‘humanitarian disaster’ with the facilities compared to a refugee camp.
Sensibly wanting to avoid a Fyre Festival scenario, in case thousands of people do actually turn up to the Nevada desert, the organisers of AlienStock have decided to pull the plug on their desert event, and relocate the party to a better, more well-equipped facility.
As the organisers wrote on their website:
We are not interested in, nor will we tolerate any involvement in a FYREFEST 2.0. We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point.
AlienStock is a brand that stands for unity and concern for like minded people. 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.
As a result, the big get-together will be held at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on September 19 this year. It’s free event, but you still need a ticket from the website.
See you there, I’ll be the guy Naruto-running on the dancefloor.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.