Matty Roberts, the California man who launched the viral internet joke “Storm Area 51” over the summer, has officially pulled all his involvement from the planned event amid safety concerns.
This past July, the “Storm Area 51” Facebook page became a viral sensation, attracting three million people pledging to attend — with another 1.4 million expressing interest.
“We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens,” the page said.
Though Roberts meant it as a joke, the United States government took it as no laughing matter and immediately issued a warning to those believing they could “naruto run” their way into the top-secret facility.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. … The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets,” Spokeswoman Laura McAndrews of the U.S. Air Force told The Washington Post.
As a result, Roberts decided to host a music festival, aptly named “AlienStock,” at the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada, from September 20 – 22. However, after weeks of working with the local municipalities, Roberts decided to withdraw his involvement from the event, fearing it might become a Fyre Fest 2.0, according to Fox News.
“Due to the lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000+ AlienStock attendees, we decided to pull the plug on the festival,” Roberts said in a statement.
Roberts said he visited the town of Rachel over the weekend and discovered that the infrastructure simply did not exist to support the number of people planning to attend “AlienStock” — an event he never intended to become so big.
“The permit holder (Connie West) was given multiple opportunities to provide us with the proof that things expected at this festival were in place. In fact, she refused to provide to us, as agreed upon, contracts, proof of deposits or any paper proof of anything,” Roberts told FOX5.
Now that Roberts has pulled out, his representatives told reporters that “AlienStock” is officially no longer associated with him in any capacity.
“We are not interested in, nor will we tolerate any involvement in a FYREFEST 2.0,” the statement said. “We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point.”
In a statement posted on its website Monday, the town of Rachel agreed that “AlienStock” is quickly portending to be a Fyre Fest 2.0 in the making. People planning to attend have instead been asked to visit Area 51-themed events in Las Vegas.
“The creator of the Storm Area 51 movement pulled out because he feels the event is not safe and lacks organization. With a week and a half to go no preparations have been made and no bands have been signed,” the statement said. “If any event still happens it is going to be a pretty sad affair with no bands, very little infrastructure and a lot of unhappy campers.”
Connie West, the owner of the Little A’Le’Inn, told FOX5 that she is sad and brokenhearted the event will not be proceeding as planned. “I’m sad and I’m brokenhearted, but at the same time, it is what it is,” she said. “If he chooses to go somewhere else, that’s his choice. I’m still having a party because people are still coming to Rachel.”