Alienstock, the versatile and unique Area 51 music festival that took place last September in a tiny town in Nevada near the imaginative Air Force base, was just the beginning.
This appears to be the next step from Connie West, owner of Little A’Le’Inn, the only company in Rachel, Nevada. The inn and restaurant website has been updated to show that West is planning a second annual alien extravaganza for September 10-12.
As of Tuesday morning, the website no longer contained any information beyond the scheduled dates, and West did not immediately return TIME’s request for comment.
While the residents feared that more than 25,000 visitors could get through to the first festival in September, the guest list reached a peak of 3,000, according to Reno Gazette Journal,
“It was frankly breathtaking,” said Matthew Carswell, 22, who traveled from Miami to Nevada for Alienstock, TIME after the September event. “It was a really good atmosphere.”
The event was largely peaceful. But the news of another event may come as a bit of a surprise to many, since the first alien stick was not without controversy. “I can’t wait until it’s over,” she told TIME in August before the program. Other people in the city with fewer than 100 residents felt the same way.
It all started in the summer of 2019 when student Matty Roberts posted a massively viral Facebook event that encouraged Area 51 conspiracy theorists and meme makers alike to “Storm Area 51” because “they can’t stop us all” and spent a September weekend in Rachel, about 27 miles north of the U.S. military base, which was long considered a mecca for extraterrestrial believers.
The Facebook event had millions of people interested, and Roberts decided to work with West (initially) to bring everything to life.
“The locals are not on board, no one asked us and we do not appreciate anyone who threatens to take over our city,” said Jörg Arnu, owner of real estate in Rachel, which runs the city’s website, told TIME last year Summer before the event. “I will do everything in my power to prevent this from happening.”
West felt similar at the time, but agreed to facilitate the event on her property. “I’m as scared as she is. I live here and just do my best,” said West.
Now that it looks like Alienstock 2.0 could come back to Rachel next fall, Arnu says he feels worried again. “I’m really disgusted,” he said to TIME on Tuesday afternoon.
At the next Lincoln County Board of Commissioners meeting in early March, Arnu plans to draw attention to the planned festival, which cost the county thousands of dollars last year (including traffic managers and medical personnel). Even though the participants of the original Alienstock said they had a great time, Arnu says that the feeling for the residents was not the same. “All of my friends, we don’t want that. We don’t want this to happen again,” he says.
Above all, his reasoning is simple. “We all moved here because we wanted peace and quiet,” he explains. Instead of just driving a car or two on the highway to Rachel, there is now “much more traffic”.
During a conversation with TIME last summer before the festival, Roberts compared this new music festival to Burning Man, which is also held annually in Nevada. “It’s exciting and cool for everyone involved,” he told TIME.
But he soon changed direction and decided that the risk of hosting such a big festival in a small town with minimal infrastructure and cellular was too high in his view. So Roberts and his crew took their plans to a separate festival in Las Vegas, but the “Storm Area 51” zealots couldn’t stay away from Rachel. West took over the management of the project.
However the event develops, fans of last year’s event can look forward to it.