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'Botched' Area 51 event draws only around 100 people

September 20, 2019 - 4:51 pm

miroslav_1/iStock(RACHEL, Nev.) -- The drama of the Area 51 event was meant to be out of this world, but the lack of humans brought it back to reality.

After more than two million people responded on Facebook that they would attend the "Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” event, just about 75 actually showed up as of Friday morning.

None made it past the first gate at the site.

The event itself had changed course after the original organizer, 20-year-old college student Matty Roberts, who started the Facebook page as a joke, pulled out fearing a "humanitarian disaster in the works.”

The town of Rachel, Nevada, still scrambled to get its own AlienStock event to move forward but called it "botched."

"Law enforcement clearly outnumbers visitors. There are no vendors and not much of an infrastructure,” according to a post on the town’s official website Thursday night. "A makeshift stage was set up on a dusty dirt lot and a few campers are parked around the area. This has very clearly become Fyre Fest 2.0 after the creator of the Storm Area 51 movement pulled out and the organizers started suing each other.”

Roberts sent Connie West, the owner of Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel and event co-partner, a cease-and-desist letter to cancel her extraterrestrial event plans, according to ABC Las Vegas affiliate KTNV-TV.

West ignored the letter, according to the town’s website.

The town urged anyone still planning to come to Rachel for AlienStock to be prepared with their own food, water, gas and a place to sleep.

As for entertainment, "occasionally music can be heard from a makeshift stage on a dusty dirt lot.”

Samantha Travis, the manager of the inn, previously told ABC News that 20 musical acts and two comedians had been booked for the Sept. 19-21 festival.

"We’re still gonna do our best to throw a sweet party and keep everyone safe," Travis said.

Numerous calls to West, Travis and the Little A'Le'Inn were not returned.

The actual location of Area 51, the highly-classified government facility located near Rachel, will be guarded by the Air Force and various local and federal law enforcement, the town said.

At least two people were detained by local sheriff's deputies early Friday, according to the Associated Press, but it was not clear what the offense was. The Lincoln County Sheriff's office did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

One AlienStock attendee, named Jeffrey, told ABC News police were laughing and having fun with the visitors until a teenager ducked under the gate for a moment and was subsequently grabbed, scolded and let go. Jeffrey said he also saw a man detained after he urinated on the fence, but has not seen him since.

Area 51 has long been a source of conspiracy theories involving extraterrestrial beings. Revelers are allowed to go up to the gate but cannot actually enter the government site.

Another event, located about in the next nearest town of Hiko, seems to be going more smoothly with plans for music, movies and discussions about aliens.

George Harris, owner of the Alien Research Center, said his event even has a replica of the Area 51 back gate.

"'Storming' Area 51 started as a prank. We want everyone to be safe and enjoy their visit. Neither the Lincoln County Sheriff or the United States Military will tolerate any illegal activity," Harris said on his website. "So, in simple terms, check yourself before you wreck yourself."

Both the Rachel and Hiko events will run through Sunday for the hundreds of people who actually showed.

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