So many committed to the proposed raid of the complex in Nevada in the hope of seeing aliens that the US air force felt compelled to warn it “stands ready to protect America and its assets”, and the Facebook event was eventually shut down after its organiser admitted it was a joke.
But the spirit of the original plan is now living on in the form of Alienstock – a “party in the desert” set to take place in the nearby town of Rachel next month.
Storm Area 51 creator Matty Roberts has teamed up with event producer The Hidden Sound to put on the festival, where people can safely display their “unified curiosity” in the existence of extra-terrestrial life.
The organisers are promising to deliver an “amazing experience” with “headlining artists” – but those claims have been questioned by local authorities.
In a warning to those planning to make the trip for the planned event, the official website for Rachel says the three-day gig will “undoubtedly attract crooks trying to capitalise on the chaos”.
It advises people to “stay away” from residential areas of the town, which has become a tourist attraction because of how close it is to Area 51, as most locals “do not like where this event is going and will respond accordingly”.
The statement continues: “The residents were not asked and are not on board and will certainly not allow their town to be taken over. This has a high potential of getting ugly. Please consider visiting at another time.”
Sceptics of Alienstock – which is accepting donations – have already compared it to the ill-fated Fyre Festival, which was pitched as a luxury music event in the Bahamas but quickly turned to chaos.
Tickets went for up to $75,000 (£58,000) and there were a vast array of problems, from guests sleeping in hurricane disaster tents to bland cheese sandwiches replacing the advertised gourmet food.