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‘Storm Area 51’ creator pulls out of Alienstock, but event will go on

The creator of “Storm Area 51” pulled out of Alienstock, the main event tied to the Facebook hoax-turned-phenomenon, citing concerns about the event’s organization and funding.

“It’s a fantastic relief,” Matty Roberts said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I’ve had a lot of concerns leading up to Alienstock. Just to see all those come to a head 11 days before the event is kind of a relief.”

Roberts and event producer Frank DiMaggio said they instead will link up with the Bud Light Area 51 Celebration taking place Sept. 19 at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, with Roberts serving as host.

“They’re going to have a 40-foot flying saucer, they’re turning the pool green. … There’s all kinds of stuff going on,” DiMaggio said about the 21-and-over event in Las Vegas. “It’s going to be a spectacle.”

Roberts alerted Connie West, owner of the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, where Alienstock is taking place, early Monday that he was no longer going to be part of “Storm Area 51” just 11 days before it was slated to begin.

“I was woke up out of nowhere at 3 o’clock this morning and told he’s out; he’s not doing it,” West said Monday.

West said that in addition to being the face of the “Storm Area 51” movement, Roberts was supposed to pay costs related to security, medical and the main musical stage at Alienstock.

“They broke the intent,” she said of Roberts and DiMaggio. “That will be dealt with after with the legal system.”

Roberts said that when he or DiMaggio would ask to see proof West had paid for services she claimed to have secured, she failed to present them with hard documents.

“I’ve paid it out of my pocket anyway because nobody had any money,” West said of funding Alienstock, set for Sept. 20-22. “It’s still going full blast. I’ve got a $17,500 down payment to security, and half of that is nonrefundable.”

Roberts said he is pleased with his change of venue.

“It was either going to go one of two ways,” he said of Alienstock. “We saw the red flags and we pull out, or we could have ignored those and have it turn into a Fyre Festival 2.0 on our hands. That’s not something I want to be part of. To move to the event to downtown Las Vegas, where’s there’s infrastructure, medical, security and everything is set in place, that’s fantastic.”

Fyre Festival was a 2017 music festival set on a private island in the Bahamas that failed to provide the luxury services advertised. Hundreds of attendees were stranded in half-finished housing, uncertain how they would get home. All performances were canceled.

West said she hopes to at least break even on Alienstock and will rely on merchandise sales, parking and camping spot reservations to do so. West added that she has secured performances by 20 bands and two comedians, as well as trash cans, recycle bins, portable toilets, vendors and a haunted house.

“So, yeah, it’s going forward,” she said. “I’ve also got the medical paid for and all of my permits. We’re going to throw the best party that we can.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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