Matty Roberts, the creator of the Storm Area 51 internet craze, said Monday this week he has officially broken ties with the event known as Alienstock in Rachel slated for Sept. 20-21.
TV interviews on KTVN in Las Vegas with Roberts, Las Vegas event producer Frank DiMaggio, and Connie West, owner of the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, revealed the men are parting ways with West citing concerns over a lack of infrastructure and safety.
DiMaggio said he has not seen adequate proof to his satisfaction there will be enough water, security, power or toilets to handle the massive crowds expected to come to the middle of the desert. “We don’t have a good feeling about people going out 150 miles into the desert without the resources that they need.”
He said the event really needs about a year to be planned properly and it just hasn’t had enough time. He and Roberts do not want to put their name on an event they feel will be “a disaster.”
Roberts said, “It was going well for a while, but then there was transparency issues with one of our partners.”
Meanwhile, West said she has made all the preparations possible in the short time since Roberts’ post on Facebook became an internet craze with upwards of three million people signing up to say they would attend.
As a condition of having her special event permit approved by the Board of Lincoln County Commissioners earlier this month, West had to provide proof that she has contracted for security, ambulances and sanitation. A large number of food vendors also filed applications to be at the event.
West reported she has contracted to have 130 Porta Potties set up, 15 security officers from Blue Shield Security and 200-plus additional first responders. Medical needs will be handled by Guardian Elite Medical Service who plan to send several mobile units and five ambulances. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office plans to have a substation in the park at Rachel.
Still, worry about safety and infrastructure were reasons given for Roberts and DiMaggio pulling out.
West told KVVU News she received a phone call about 3 a.m. Monday morning informing her that Roberts “would no longer be working with her.”
And she later added she feels she is now being sabotaged by Roberts and DiMaggio.
“No matter what,” West said, “Alienstock is still happening in Rachel. But I didn’t think I’d be going at it alone.” She says she has already supplied a down payment for security, medical services, water, entertainment and clean-up services. “The vendors are locked in. We have 20 bands and two comedians coming.” So, as the week began, she said, “The festival is still on.”
It was reported up to 2,400 campsites in Rachel, dry camping only, have been reserved.
West added, “I’m going to do it on my scale. I’m going to do it the way I know how and what I’ve been planning for because I know no other way to do it. But it’s still happening.
“I’m sad and I’m brokenhearted, but at the same time, it is what it is,” she said. “If he chooses to go somewhere else, that’s his choice. I’m still having a party because people are still coming to Rachel.”
Roberts later said he was going to focus more on Area 51-themed events planned for the Las Vegas valley that weekend.