Alien enthusiasts flock to US desert for 'Storm Area 51' event
In the middle of the Nevada desert, the alien enthusiasts are slowly arriving.
Some are in RVs, others pitch tents, while some have just driven in from nearby towns to see what all the fuss is about.
For many though, the journey has been a long one. There are bumper stickers from from Iowa, Washington, Arizona and Colorado. Visitors from Florida mix in with tourists from the UK and Sweden.
While all of them are here for 'Alienstock', the festival spawned from the 'Storm Area 51' Facebook movement, their motivation for visiting differs.
There are those who believe aliens exist and who just want to find out "what the government is hiding" in Area 51.
Others have come for the party, with the hope Alienstock could turn into an historic pop culture event similar to Woodstock.
Then there's the small portion who turned up purely for the sport of seeing someone attempting to gain entry to the famous, yet secretive, military base.
The odds of that actually happening though - while not impossible - appear slim.
For starters, the number of visitors - so far - is significantly lower than expected.
While the millions who responded to the Facebook event were never going to be here, organisers were predicting 10,000 plus might arrive.
For now, attendees can be counted in the low hundreds.
Locals say if any of them do get past the Area 51 fence, it's about another 45km to actually reach the base. A distance that, presumably, would have to be covered on foot while trying to evade authorities.
Yet, there may yet be some determined individuals who attempt it.
For those not up to speed on the 'Storm Area 51' movement, it started as a Facebook event created by 20-year-old Californian college student Matty Roberts - complete with a meme: "Storm Area 51, they can't stop all of us".
It was a call to arms for the curious, the conspiracy theorists and the cheeky. But, after 3.6 million responses, Matty Roberts received a call from the FBI and the Facebook event was quickly declared a joke.
Instead, 'Storm Area 51' became 'Alienstock' - a music festival for like-minded enthusiasts to come and party in the desert.
Those plans were soured somewhat after Roberts fell out with the co-organisers and owners of the Little Ale'Inn pub in the town of Rachel, Nevada (regular population: 54).
Roberts has now moved his event to Las Vegas, while the Little Ale'Inn festival in Rachel (about 15km from Area 51) is still going ahead. A legal fight over the name 'Alienstock' is now underway.
Meanwhile authorities have been forced to plan for a possible storming of the US Airforce base.
Extra security has been brought in, the surrounding airspace has been shut down, and state of emergency declarations have been prepared in case things get out of hand.
Last week, two Dutch tourists were arrested after trying to gain access to the base. Local police claim they only got "about five feet in" before being caught.
They're hoping the failure will be a sufficient deterrent to anyone else who thinks the truth is still out there.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019