Area 51 Raid: Small Turnout but Big Fun and Little Damage


Jenna Miller, Editor in Chief

Over the summer, you probably saw countless memes and posts on your social media feeds talking about a September storming of Area 51, a top-secret base, which gained notoriety in the 1980’s for its alleged connection to aliens. Area 51 is a United States Air Force (USAF) facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range, but thanks to conspiracy theorist Bob Lazar, it has been associated with containing extraterrestrial life despite the fact that Lazar’s claims were disowned. A college student named Matty Roberts created an event on Facebook at the end of June stating his plans to raid Area 51 and “see them aliens,” unaware that it would go from a silly joke to a full-blown viral sensation garnering serious interest.

Eventually, the event, which 2 million people intended to show up to, evolved into a music festival called “Alienstock.” Many, including the residents of the tiny desert town Area 51 is located in, were fearful that the event would end up chaotic — but only 3,000 people made it to Nevada for the raid, with only a little under 200 making it to the main gate of Area 51. They were not allowed in, but the guards’ reaction was unexpected.

In an interview with TIME Magazine, Australian YouTuber Danny Philippou stated that authorities actually laughed and played along with the event, knowing the intent of it was not to cause any harm: “The guards were unbelievably nice. They took photos with everyone and were pretty much just smiling.” Matthew Carswell, a Florida resident who flew to Nevada for the sole purpose of the raid, said that there was a strong sense of community at the event and the 3,000 attendees, ranging from children to older men and women, all had fun and enjoyed the music while laughing. Though there was not a single alien to be found, everyone still had a good time and left in peace.

Six Earthlings were arrested on misdemeanor charges — a far lesser number than Roberts, the public, and the locals expected. Two of them were due to abusing drugs.