Laughs, Masks, and a 'Sense of Community': The Surprising Outcome of the Area 51 Raid

With lime green alien suits and tin foil face masks, the attendees of the original Alienstock music festival gave extraterrestrials a run for their money. What was expected to be a chaotic event turned out...

With lime green alien suits and tin foil face masks, the attendees of the original Alienstock music festival gave extraterrestrials a run for their money. What was expected to be a chaotic event turned out to be a peaceful gathering of like-minded individuals seeking a unique experience.

The Anticipated Chaos

One small Nevada town, Rachel, was preparing for the influx of attendees after a viral internet joke spawned the idea for an alien-themed music festival. The original organizer, Matty Roberts, had created a Facebook event titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," which attracted millions of interested people. However, the event took an unexpected turn when Roberts parted ways with the festival due to concerns about poor planning, lack of infrastructure, and safety issues.

A Surprisingly Friendly Atmosphere

Despite the initial concerns, the atmosphere at Alienstock was surprisingly friendly and laid-back. The number of guests peaked at around 3,000, far fewer than anticipated. Revelers of all ages, from children to older folks, came together to have a good time and enjoy the unique event. Matthew Carswell, a Miami resident who attended, described the overall experience as "breathtaking" and praised the sense of community that permeated the festival.

Not What the Locals Expected

The residents of Rachel, a town with only one business and a population of 40-50, had their reservations about the event from the start. Some felt their voices were not heard and were skeptical of the festival's impact on their town. Bob Clabaugh, a retired pilot who resides in Rachel, expressed uncertainty about what to expect from the influx of visitors.

Smooth Operations and Friendly Encounters

Contrary to fears of chaos, the festival ran smoothly. Attendees had access to essential amenities, such as water and toilets, and local law enforcement officials were present to ensure safety. Even those who attempted a lighthearted "storm" of the Area 51 gates were met with laughter from the authorities. The guards were welcoming and took photos with the attendees, defying the stereotype of a heavily guarded military facility.

An Unexpected Sense of Community

The best part of Alienstock, according to Carswell, was the overwhelming sense of community. People from all walks of life came together for a shared experience, creating a friendly and inclusive environment. The event fostered connections and left a lasting impression on attendees like Carswell, who was pleasantly surprised by how much fun he had.

Dodging the Bullet

The local authorities, along with neighboring sheriff's offices, were prepared to maintain peace during the festival. However, their efforts were largely unnecessary, as only a few arrests were made, and the biggest dangers were minor car accidents in the area. Joerg Arnu, a long-time resident, expressed relief, stating that the town had successfully dodged a potential disaster.

In the end, Alienstock exceeded expectations by transforming into a peaceful and enjoyable gathering. What could have been chaos and turmoil turned into a memorable experience for all who attended. Laughs, masks, and a sense of community prevailed, proving that even the most extraordinary events can bring people together in unexpected ways.

US-FESTIVAL-LIFESTYLE-LEISURE-ALIENSTOCK-AREA 51 [Attendees dance to music during Alienstock festival on the "Extraterrestrial Highway in Rachel, Nevada on September 20, 2019.Bridget Bennett—AFP/Getty Images]

Laughs, Masks and a ‘Sense of Community.’ Most People Came in Peace to the Area 51 Raid. Here’s What Actually Happened [People gather for Alienstock in Rachel, Nevada on Saturday.Bob Clabaugh]

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