Less than a hundred people arrived at the site of the planned "Storm Area 51" raid in Nevada, leading to a disappointing event and nobody successfully penetrating even the first outer fence, according to ABC News. Originally boasting a potential turnout in the millions, the event disappointed even the most modest expectations its organizers likely had -- although it's hard to say just what the expectations were after the original organizer, college student Matty Roberts, pulled out and cancelled the Facebook amid fears that, just maybe, storming a military base with hundreds of unarmed civilians was a recipe for disaster. Others tried to carry on his work anyway.
The event, originally titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," was started as a joke by Roberts, but some genuine activists and conspiracy theorists latched onto its central premise: that if you arrived at Area 51 with a big enough crowd, it would be virtually impossible for the government to prevent people from learning the base's secrets. That may have worked -- probably not, but one could argue that it may have -- if more than 75 people had actually appeared.
The violent clashes Roberts feared never came to pass, at least. With demonstrators outnumbered by law enforcement, there were a handful of arrests and detentions, but by and large things have been fairly quiet. Earlier this week, two YouTubers were arrested for storming the gate and pleaded guilty to trespassing.
"It's public land," Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said in a statement at the time. "They're allowed to go to the gate, as long as they don't cross the boundary."
After the Facebook event began gaining momentum earlier this year, local authorities made it quite clear that they would enforce trespassing laws, with the event organizers opting to shift the focus towards the musical event in Las Vegas. Additionally, various brands are attempting to cash in on the popularity of the event by sharing memes using their products and launching themed menus. Later this month, the Travel Channel will broadcast Storming Area 51, depicting not only the event but also exploring otherworldly encounters.
Per press release, "Last month, the Internet went in full meltdown mode when it was announced that a big event was planned to infiltrate Area 51, the top-secret military installation long-rumored to hold alien secrets. Days later, it morphed into a big alien-themed festival Alienstock, hosted by the small town of Rachel, Nevada on September 20th-22nd, 2019 to celebrate and congregate around all things alien and alien conspiracy. And now, earlier this week, the festival organizers are at odds on what is really going to happen this weekend with two million Facebook fans pledged to invade this remote locale and many logistics still not yet announced. Then, the original organizer of the event announced a rival event to be held in Las Vegas. Confused yet?"
"Travel Channel has greenlit a new special instamentary (airing Sunday, September 29th at 10 p.m. ET) to document alien enthusiasts The UFO Bros (Joe and Emmett Hayes) as they pack up their RV and road trip from Northern California to Nevada to explore all things Area 51. The real-life brothers will take a hard look at the history, mystery and of wonder of Area 51, meet all the colorful characters and various experts on UFOs, and immerse themselves in quirky alien experiences as they roll into the dusty destination two hours outside of Las Vegas. Will the event be more like iconic Woodstock or more like the doomed Fyre Festival?"
Stay tuned for details on the Area 51 event and check out Storming Area 51 on the Travel Channel on September 29th.