RACHEL — Organizers say the storming will go on in Lincoln County next week even though little setup has occurred at two planned Area 51 festival sites. Meanwhile, attorneys representing the creator of the Storm Area 51 movement late Thursday sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding a halt to the Alienstock event in Rachel.
Callister Law Group in Las Vegas sent the letter to Little A’Le’Inn owner Connie West on behalf of Matty Roberts, who this week abandoned his planned affiliation with the event in favor of an event in downtown Las Vegas. The letter states that Alienstock is “in absolutely no shape to proceed” and cites “inadequate planning and preparation for the tens of thousands of people that were expected to show up, as well as inadequate infrastructure and services.”
As of Wednesday, a pair of dirt lots near Little A’Le’Inn that had been cleared of shrubbery were the only sign of preparations for Alienstock, planned for Sept. 19-22. Several other plots of land still needed to be cleared.
West, who couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday about the letter, said earlier this week that she had everything paid for — at great personal sacrifice — including medical services, security and vendors. Only the vendor who was supposed to supply mobile shower units pulled out after Roberts removed himself from the event, West said.
“What they’re causing me is a financial disaster,” West said of the departure of Roberts, a 20-year-old California man whose Facebook post suggesting a citizen raid of Nevada’s top-secret Air Force installation became a viral sensation. “At some point in the future I will recover financially from it. I had to dig into my business, which I said I wouldn’t do, to be able to take care of this. I had to put my house up (as collateral) from someone who walked away from me.”
“We’re still going full steam ahead,” West said. “We still have vendors, and we have merchandise.”
It was unclear late Thursday how the cease-and-desist letter might change that. It states that more than 2,400 tickets have been sold for Alienstock and demands that West stop selling tickets and refrain from using “Alienstock” on promotional materials and merchandise. It says West “aggressively attempted to take complete control of the event — an event that is only occurring because of my clients’ ideas and intellectual property.”
None of the events intends to carry out Roberts’ idea of invading a base long rumored to house aliens and extraterrestrial technology. Instead, peaceful parties are planned.
West said food truck companies will be there, with water stations and ice. She added that 130 portable toilets, with six handicapped-accessible units, were scheduled to arrive Thursday from Caliente and Cedar City, Utah.
The lineup of 20 bands and two comedians also are working together to ensure the things needed to carry out a show will be in place, West said.
“They are scrambling to get the lighting, the staging, the PA system done for what they need,” she said.
Area 51 Basecamp
The people behind the Area 51 Basecamp event at the Alien Research Center in Hiko say they are still forging ahead with their plans.
Keith Wright, managing partner of Las Vegas-based Production Specialists, was brought on by Alien Research Center owner George Harris to put together the Basecamp event.
Aside from an exact replica of the Area 51 gate that was installed Wednesday, no other setup was visible on the site. Inside the research center are three pages of blueprints laying out the proposed event, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 20-21.
The event will include food trucks, 24 vendors, book signings, a virtual reality maze, a screening of “Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers,” camping and RV parking.
There are two overflow parking areas, one at Alien Jerky near the research center and one at Timbers in Alamo, where attendees can get transportation via 15 passenger vans, Wright said.
With that event alone, the infrastructure in Lincoln County will be stretched dramatically, Wright said.
Verizon will provide mini-towers to boost connectivity in the area, Wright said.
“This county doesn’t have the infrastructure,” Wright said. “We’re literally more than doubling the amount of public toilets in the entire county during the event.”
One of the sheriff’s department’s command posts will be on site at Basecamp.
Setup will begin Monday, with a big push on Tuesday and Wednesday. Finishing touches will occur Sept. 19, Wright said.
“The stage comes out on the 17th,” he said. “We have to pay by the day on that stuff, so I’m not going to bring it out a week in advance.”
Wright said he hopes an annual event aimed at true extraterrestrial believers comes out of this year’s event, as organizers have invested “six figures” of their own money into the festival.
“We’re all self-funded,” he said. “We’re having to guarantee quite a bit to put this on. Vegas is a gambling town, so I’m gambling on it to a point.”
Guardian Elite Medical Services has been contracted to staff both the Rachel and Hiko events, working with Lincoln County emergency services. West said the company would be out Friday to figure out where its medical tent will be located.
Guardian Elite CEO Samuel Scheller said his company is sending around 50 personnel to the county to work both events.
Guardian will have five ambulances, with three more ambulances on standby in Las Vegas, in addition to four ambulances from Lincoln County.
“We know there’s a lot of concerns with the event, and we want to make sure it’s as safe as possible,” Scheller said. “We are taking those concerns seriously.”
Noting that the nearest medical center is in Caliente, about 50 miles from Hiko, Scheller said extra precaution is being taken.
“There’s always that concern of long or extended transport times for sick or injured people,” he said. “The extended transport times also limits our resources. To bring an ambulance back in service, it can take upwards of four to five hours once that ambulance initiates a transport.”
Despite some negative press, some positives have developed out of the messy situation.
People have reached out to West looking to volunteer and help her run next week’s event.
“The amount of support people have been reaching out to me with is overwhelming,” a visibly emotional West said. “I appreciate it. I need all the help I can get right now.”
Meredith Green from Washington, Missouri, said she is making to the trek to Alienstock with her husband and 16-year-old son no matter what.
“My husband and I have been traveling a lot more, and we saw it as an opportunity to be around some like-minded people,” Green said.
Green said she’s rounding up volunteers among those planning to attend the festival to pitch in where they can for West.
“I’m gathering a group of volunteers to help clean up, and I’ll find her when we arrive,” Green said.
This will be Green’s first time in Nevada, and she is aware of the landscape of Lincoln County.
She is ready to camp in the desert and spend quality time with her family.
“We’re not scared, we are very experienced in dispersed camping,” she said. “We didn’t have any expectation of there being any infrastructure. It’s unrealistic in my opinion to think it would be supported by infrastructure. We just want to go and view the stars under the Nevada sky and have a good, peaceful time.”