Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us is a Facebook event planned for September 20, 2019, at Area 51, a United States Air Force (USAF) facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range, to raid the site in search for extraterrestrial life. The event was created by Matty Roberts, who confirmed it was comedic and disavowed responsibility for any casualties if people actually attempt to raid the military base. Roberts posted the event on June 27, 2019. Over 2 million people have responded “going” and 1.5 million “interested” on the event’s page. The event and the music festival planned in conjunction was canceled due to poor planning, concerns of safety and legality, and lack of infrastructure, which Roberts announced on his “Alienstock” website.
Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said government officials were briefed on the event and discouraged people from attempting to enter military property. Nevada law enforcement also warned potential participants in the event against trespassing. The event, although purely comedic, has had an effect on businesses both locally in Nevada and around the United States, which are creating preparations for visitors and products for people going.
Area 51 has been the subject of many conspiracy theories regarding aliens since the 1950s, when some individuals reported seeing UFOs at the location of the base, around the time the military started flying CIA U2 spy planes in the area. The CIA declassified documents related to Area 51 and recognized its existence in 2013. Conspiracy theorists believe aliens, UFOs, or secrets related to them are stored at Area 51. In June 2019, The Pentagon provided a briefing on UFOs encountered by Navy pilots to members of Congress. U.S. president Donald Trump had also been briefed on UFOs.
College student Matty Roberts, the creator of the event, came up with the idea after watching Area 51 conspiracy theorist Bob Lazar and filmmaker Jeremy Corbell on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on June 20, 2019. Lazar claimed to have worked with alien spacecraft when working at an underground facility at Area 51.
On July 10, speaking with The Washington Post, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said officials were aware of the event, and issued a warning saying: “[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces”, adding: “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets”. A public information officer at Nellis Air Force Base told KNPR that “any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged”.
In August 2019, Lincoln County officials drafted an emergency declaration and a plan to pool resources with neighboring counties, anticipating the region being overwhelmed by a crowd of 40,000 people. The county has just 184 hotel rooms, and officials expected the local cellphone network to be unable to cope with the additional traffic, as well as expressing concern over crowding at campsites, gas stations and public medical services.
The town of Rachel posted a caution on its website, advising attendees to be “experienced in camping, hiking and surviving in a harsh desert environment and have a vehicle in good shape”. They advised that the town would likely be unable to provide sufficient food, water or gas to visitors, and expected local law enforcement to be “overwhelmed”. The website warned that local residents would be ready to “step up to protect their property”, adding that “It will get ugly.”
Business owners in and around Rachel, Nevada, a town of just 56 people just outside of the base, have made preparations for visitors who want to go to Area 51. Connie West, co-owner of the Little A’Le’Inn restaurant and inn, has had all 13 rooms of the inn booked and plans to open up 30 acres for camping and might create merchandise for the event. Las Vegas businessman George Harris is planning to hire bands to play at an annual festival called “The Swarm”. Matty Roberts has also expressed interest in a music festival to be made outside Area 51. Kosmic Kae, owner of the shop Aliens R Us in Boulder City, says that even though the shop is 170 miles away from Area 51, business has increased due to fascination regarding aliens.
Other businesses around the U.S. have based products and services on this event. A collection of merchandise related to the event from online retailers was launched. Bud Light plans to release a promotional alien-themed beer label and promised a free beer to “any alien that makes it out” as long as a tweet with the new design gets 51,000 retweets. Fast food restaurant Arby’s has planned to deliver food with a special menu to the event.