Yet another music festival will take place this year, except this one will be fairly new and quite out of this world. This festival has a peculiar backstory and may not compete with Coachella or Bonnaroo in terms of headlining acts, but its theme alone is sure to spark plenty of interest. Here is a brief history of the Alienstock Festival.
Not a single summer goes by without something exciting happening to grab young people’s attention. There have been hit songs, viral videos, and of course dance trends. There is one thing, however, that sets this summer apart from last. Over one million people enlisted in a Facebook group with plans to storm the infamous Area 51 this September.
For those who are unfamiliar with Area 51, it is a part of a U.S. Air Force base in Nevada. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was so highly classified that many citizens did not believe it existed. On television and media it is often portrayed as a secret location where government officials hide incredibly advanced technology that would allow communication with aliens.
What started out as a harmless joke for Facebook user and the creator of the original event, Matty Roberts, eventually became a nation-wide topic of discussion. Some took it as joke and source of hilarious new memes, while others seemed completely serious about raiding the classified military grounds in search of, believe it or not, aliens. Roberts originally named the public Facebook Group “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.”
Over the summer, more than two million people expressed interest in the event. Roberts posted more details on the original Facebook page. “We will all meet up in Rural Nevada and coordinate our parties. If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens,” Roberts said.
Some users seemed to take it very seriously, including making actual plans to meet up in the Las Vegas airport to carpool through the Nevada desert to find Area 51, while others dismissed it for another bizarre internet craze.
I personally find the memes absolutely hilarious. Although the ones displaying kids interacting with their newfound alien friends are popular, my all-time favorite is one that portrays different characters from NBC’s “The Office” by personality types as to whether they would participate in the raid, encourage others not to or stand by laughing at the runners. All of them were spot on.
The event gained so much traction that the U.S. Airforce released a statement discouraging people from attempting to storm the base as they could be arrested or even seriously injured. The base is heavily guarded, and the Airforce does have full clearance to protect it with gunfire.
I have no authority to tell anybody what to do here, but I would highly recommend not going. Yes, we college students may tend to constantly joke about (or seriously consider) ways we might be able to get scholarship money. I can almost guarantee you that this is not one of them.
In early August, the group was removed then later re-created. This time rather than a raid, it has become a music festival. The “Alienstock Festival” will begin on September 20, the date that the raid was originally scheduled, and it will end on the 22. There is even a full website with complete details, an itinerary, merchandise and directions at alienstockfestival.com.
What would happen if millions of people did show up and try to find the famous air force grounds? I can see how the government would feel the need to take it seriously considering all of the recent violent threats and events that have seemingly taken over our everyday lives in this country though.
However, because it was truly just a joke, at least according to the event’s creator, it is almost comical to think about a giant crowd Naruto running in the middle of the desert searching for pet aliens. The memes alone make it that much more epic to imagine.
I think that turning the since-canceled raid into a music festival is a genius business idea. Much of the advertising and marketing is taken care of from the attention it gained over social media. Hopefully it will be successful and good music is the focus, because what is a music festival without music?