More like Area Overrun.
With a mysterious music festival set to descend in a sparsely populated Nevada county, local officials are preparing for the worst.
“Alienstock,” a music fest planned by Matthew Roberts — the brains behind the viral Facebook event, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” — will draw thousands of people to Lincoln County the weekend of Sept. 20-22, officials predict.
The three-day affair near Area 51, a U.S. Air Force base, also promises potential problems. The town of Rachel, home to fewer than 100 residents, is not well-equipped to handle such a flood of people.
“I’m nervous,” Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee, who had just finished two days worth of planning meetings, told the Daily News on Tuesday evening. “It’s something that we’re going to have to deal with.”
Lee is working with other nearby counties to plan for the crowds.
On Monday, Lincoln County pre-signed a declaration of emergency as a worst-case scenariomeasure so one can be declared at the drop of a hat. It would allow local officials to summon a stream of resources and personnel if the need arises.
“We know there will be at least 10,000 people, that’s the bottom line,” Lincoln County Commission Chairman Varlin Higbee told The News, but more than 30,000 could show. “Our infrastructure is to handle 5,000 people. All of a sudden you got over 30,000 people standing on your infrastructure — yeah, something’s got to give.”
Officials said roads into town could pile up with cars, accidents are likely and cellphone service will probably collapse. If phone service goes, that could cause problems for Lee, who worried that people won’t be able to reach emergency services.
The locals aren’t thrilled about any of it.
Typically placid Lincoln County is putting its emergency planning into place with assistance from the state’s emergency management division. The county is also working in coordination with nearby counties to prep for the inflow.
Higbee said visitors should come equipped too.
“There are no restaurants, there’s no water, probably no gas, because the gas station’s going to run out,” Higbee told The News. “So come prepared, that’s all I can say.”
He said he was glad that the festival’s organizers made the event official and got it approved by Lincoln County, which issued a permit. The county also issued a permit for a concurrent event at the Alien Research Center, some 45 minutes away in Hiko.
Festival-goers will gather near the tiny Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, about a dozen miles from Area 51.
“We’re aiming to establish something unique here, a meeting place for all the believers,” Alienstock’s website declared. “Come out to the desert to dive into a world full of live music, arts, and camping under the stars.”
The initial “Storm Area 51” Facebook event raised concerns and warnings from the Air Force not to get too close to the base.
Higbee echoed those warnings.
“It’s a military base,” Higbee said, “and they will protect their perimeter.”
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