Most of the 54 residents of Rachel, Nev., are bracing themselves for this weekend — there’s a storm coming.
Hundreds — maybe even thousands — of people are expected to descend on the tiny desert town this weekend for Alienstock, a music festival that came out of a viral Facebook plan to “Storm Area 51 (they can’t stop all of us)” on Sept. 20.
But as the big days draw near, there are now three events competing for alien-lovers’ attention — and no guarantee that any of them will play out as expected.
Most of Rachel’s citizens have denounced Alienstock amid concerns that visitors will overrun their small town and overburden its few public resources. The community has repeatedly warned concertgoers to stay away and has even issued a veiled threat of violence.
Nevertheless, Little A’Le’Inn owner Connie West is pressing forward with the festival, despite a bitter dispute with the event’s original creator, Matty Roberts.
“This thing is still happening,” West told Fox News this week. “I’m still going to provide and do my best. We have a stage being built. We have the infrastructure that is coming in.”
Roberts abandoned his partnership with West last week, citing concerns about money and infrastructure. He’s now holding his own alien-themed party in Las Vegas on Thursday night, with several corporate sponsors, including Bud Light, slated to participate.
“There’s been a lot of headlines saying that I pulled out for safety concerns, which — I really respect that headline a lot because it’s exactly what I had said,” he told Fox News.
West says she’s determined to move forward with Alienstock because she’s gambled everything on this event being a success.
“I put my house up to pay for things,” she said.
WATCH: Rachel, Nev., warned alien-lovers to stay away in August
Meanwhile, alien enthusiast Keith Wright is holding his own alien-themed event south of Rachel at a place he calls Area 51 Basecamp.
“The numbers I keep hearing about for people coming through is between 20,000 and 50,000,” he told Fox News.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee told Gizmodo that people have already started showing up in Rachel.
“I’m not happy about it because you’re looking at a county that does not have a lot of financial resources, and this could potentially cost the county,” he told Gizmodo.
Lee suggested the district attorney might sue Roberts and Facebook for bringing the event to Rachel in the first place. He said the event is going to put a strain on taxpayers because more police officers will be needed to keep the peace.
Many questions remain unanswered as the weekend draws near.
How many people will actually show up in Rachel?
Will Alienstock be a success or a disaster?
And perhaps most importantly: will the aliens be watching? Will they be laughing?