MYSTERY WIRE — Residents of Rachel, Nevada, went before the Lincoln County Commission on Monday to make their case against a 2020 edition of last year’s Storm Area 51 event.
Commissioners delayed voting on a declaration against 2020 events, but will take it up again on April 20, according to Joerg Arnu, a vocal opponent of Storm Area 51 who attended Monday’s meeting. Arnu’s Dreamlandresort.com website has posted his opposition since last year’s event. Lincoln County wants to hear from promoters before ruling out music events or any kind of repeat of last year’s Facebook-inspired events.
After Lincoln County spent around a quarter million dollars covering the costs associated with Storm Area 51 last year, commissioners want more details in advance of any 2020 events.
A Feb. 21 report from the Lincoln County Record quotes Commission Chairman Varlin Higbee: “In 2020 the county will not go through that again. If she (Connie West of the Little A’Le’Inn), or George Harris at the Alien Research Center in Hiko want to do something, they will have to pay for what is needed. They will have to do it themselves.”
West is already taking steps to put on an event the weekend of Sept. 10-12. She told the Record she will put on a music event despite disappointing attendance in 2019. About 3,000 people attended last year. She is calling her event Alienstock, which is sure to continue the feud she has had in the past with Matty Roberts.
Commissioners were not happy that West is already advertising the event, Arnu said. In addition to opposition from Arnu and a group called Concerned Residents of Rachel, NV, Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee and Emergency Manager Eric Holt have expressed concerns.
It was a Facebook event posted by Roberts that got everything started last year. He started it as a joke, he told investigative reporter George Knapp. After watching Joe Rogan’s video podcast about Area 51, Roberts posted the Facebook event and it went viral.
As interest grew, he partnered with West. But they went separate ways, and animosity toward Roberts has grown. Residents of Rachel were vocal as Storm Area 51 got started last year — they didn’t want Roberts there.
Roberts, who moved his Alienstock event to Las Vegas as logistical problems mounted, was named in a complaint in District Court. West alleged that Roberts and other organizers withheld funds from a sponsorship. It also alleged that they defamed West in statements that said West’s event was canceled.
Lincoln County officials reacted last year to an “emergency” need for response. They won’t treat 2020 as an emergency, and they’ll require organizers to pony up the money up front. That could kill any planned events.
A copycat Facebook event from “Aliens & UFOs” posted with the message, “Let’s storm Area 51 in 2020. They can’t stop all of us!” has a mere 16 people “going” and another 50 “interested.” But the 2019 event didn’t go viral until July. Last year, the event had nearly 2 million people interested before the page was taken down and later restored.
“We’re not going to do it on the backs of the county taxpayers again,” Higbee said. “If they can make money at it, fine, but we’re not going to pay for it.”