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Alienstock: festivalgoers fail to storm Area 51

Alienstock, which began as a viral internet meme, became a point of contention with local residents and the US Air Force and was eventually relinquished by its creators, culminated this weekend in small gatherings of people in towns near to the Area 51 military base in Nevada.

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee estimated that around 1,500 people had gathered at festival sites in the towns of Rachel (population ~50) and Hiko (population ~120), with a further 150 travelling up to the Area 51 gates. Another estimate puts the number of campers at the Rachel event at 3,000.

Nobody succeeded in ‘storming’ the facility, a highly classified and conspiracy-theory riddled US Air Force base. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, two arrests were made, one for an attempt to enter the gate and another for public urination.

The Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us event, which garnered over two million Facebook attendees, invited fans to raid the US Air Force facility and “see them aliens”.

Alienstock culminated in small gatherings of people in towns near to the Area 51 military base

A live music element was later added to the event, which was dubbed Alienstock, and scheduled to take place from 20 to 22 September in the town of Rachel in Nevada.

Following complaints from local residents, a warning from the US Air Force and concerns over public safety, Storm Area 51 creator, Matty Roberts, stepped away from the event, instead teaming up with the one-day Bud Light Area 51 Celebration in Las Vegas.

Separate events took place near to the Air Force base, with live music at the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel and talks from UFO enthusiasts, artists, musicians and filmmakers at the Area 51 Basecamp event in Hiko. The 5,000-capacity Hiko event was cancelled after the first day, having attracted only 500 attendees, reports the Star.

Blink-182 took inspiration from the Storm Area 51 event, creating a Facebook page for their 20 September tour stop at New York’s 19,000-capacity Barclays Center to ‘Invade Brooklyn, They Can’t Stop All of Us (Aliens Only)’. Fans were encouraged to dress up “as aliens or nurses OR nurse aliens”.


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‘Like a refugee camp’: Chaos at Fyre Festival

Fyre Festival, the much-anticipated new luxury boutique event by Ja Rule and Billy McFarland’s Fyre Media, has descended into chaos on its first day, with many ticket-holders stranded in Miami following the cancellation of their flights – and those who did make it to the Bahamas discovering conditions that have been compared to a refugee camp.

Angry festivalgoers – who had paid at bare minimum $1,500 to be there, and some up to $50,000 – have taken to social media and the r/fyrefestival subreddit to document the half-built tents, mountains of rubbish and débris and sub-standard food (“The dinner that Fyre Festival promised us was catered by Steven Starr is literally bread, cheese and salad with dressing”, wrote one Redditor) waiting for them in the Exumas, although the festival has yet to be officially called off.

The Fyre Festival Twitter account, which has since deleted its entire tweet history, has so far only issued two advisories to those witnessing first-hand what it describes as “the unexpected start to #FyreFestival”, telling those waiting for flights that they would have their tickets refunded and those on site that festival staff are “working to comfortably accommodate [their] needs”.

Blink-182 had already cancelled their headline slot at the festival, telling fans last night they were “not confident that we have what we need to give you the quality of performances we always give our fans”.

There has, at the time of writing, been no word from the other performers, who include Major Lazer, Pusha T, Disclosure, Skepta and Desiigner.

The festival had been heavily publicised on social media by several wealthy, high-profile  ‘influencers’, including models Emily Ratajkowski and Bella Hadid and Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kendall Jenner. There has been speculation some of the backers may now face legal action for contravening new regulations on transparency in social-media endorsements.


Matt Halfhill, the founder of trainer/sneaker news site Nice Kicks, posted photos on Twitter that appeared to show festivalgoers housed in disaster relief tents – a scene described by redditor Here_Comes_the_Kingz as looking like a “refugee camp”. Another said the festival resembles “Rich Kids of Instagram meets Lord of the Flies“.


According to an anonymous 4chan user, the US embassy is reportedly now involved, flying “military rescue missions” to retrieve those stranded on the island.

One of Twitter’s most comprehensive documenters of the conditions on site has been @FyreFraud, who yesterday posted a video showing the state of what it jokingly called the “tropical private island owned by [Pablo] Escabar”, showing a barren landscape strewn with rubbish and unassembled accommodation.

Fyre Festival has promised to “provide regular updates and news via email to guest [sic] and our official social media channels as they come”.


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Fyre Festival reveals line-up (and $400k tickets)

Fyre Festival, a new event by Ja Rule’s Fyre Media booking agency, has unveiled the line-up it hopes can lure deep-pocketed music fans and celebrity spotters away from Coachella this spring.

The festival, which will take place on 28–30 April and 5–7 May – the weekend after Coachella wraps up – in the Exumas, Bahamas, will be headlined by Pusha T, Desiigner, Major Lazer, Blink-182 and a Disclosure DJ set, with Migos, Kaytranada, Skepta and Lil Yachty also on the bill.

Fyre, however, says the “unparellelled soundtrack” is “only a piece of the two-weekend experience. Attendees will take a departure from the familiar for the adventure of a lifetime, immersing themselves in art, first-class cuisine and new levels of luxury.”

“The Exumas will also offer the ultimate destination for boaters, divers, snorkellers and kayakers looking to explore its beautiful turquoise waters and idyllic beaches,” the announcement continues. “It’s been said that from space, astronauts deem the Exumas as having the clearest and nicest waters in the world. Guests will be invited to take advantage of the beauty of the islands, with onsite programming including sunrise yoga, meditation, massages, fitness bootcamps, art installations, and much more.

Fyre Festival is reportedly already in financial trouble, having missed a number of deadlines for payments to artists

“Local excursions will include yachting, jet skiing, snorkelling the deepest blue hole in the world, seeing the swimming pigs, exploring the caves and catamaran parties.”

All $1,500 GA passes are sold out, with remaining tickets starting at US$2,500 for those with their own yachts, increasing to $399,995 – $49,999 each – for ‘artists estate’ and ‘artists palace’ packages, which include flights, artists’ pass tickets, accommodation and “exclusive VIP experiences”.

While the Bahamas’ ministry of tourism expects Fyre to deliver the islands a “significant economic boost”The Wall Street Journal suggests the festival, which has already shifted an estimated 12,000 tickets, is already in financial trouble, having missed a number of deadlines for payments to artists.

IQ Magazine explored the growth of luxury/VIP experiences at music festivals in issue 66.


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Festival Focus: Snowbombing, FIB, Download

Broadwick Live’s music ‘n’ ski event Snowbombing today announced an avalanche (geddit?) of new acts for the 2017 festival.

Blossoms, Slaves, De La Soul, Grandmaster Flash, Giggs, Dixon, Shy FX and more will join previously announced headliners Chase & Status for six days of “luxurious spas, igloo raves, rooftop hot tubs, forest parties [and] snow-yoga” at the Mayrhofen ski resort in Austria from 3 to 8 April.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be “special guest appearances” from everyone’s favourite spandex-clad ’90s early-morning TV fitness instructor, Derrick Evans (aka Mr Motivator), and loveably inept British ski jumper Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, whose life story was the subject of a recent film starring Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman.

Fingers crossed for a Grandmaster Flash/Mr Motivator duet.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nova Rock 2016, M. Krobath/ANSPress Society News

In today’s other major festival news, Red Hot Chili Peppers will be headlining Festival Internacional de Benicassim (FIB) next July.

The American four-piece, who wheadlined Reading and Leeds, Lollapalooza Chicago, T in the Park, Fuji Rock and more this year, are also confirmed for Super Rock Super Bock in Lisbon the same weekend (13–16 July) and Rock in Rio in September 2017.

FIB, which takes place in the Spanish coastal town of Benicàssim, is promoted by Maraworld, part-owned by Denis Desmond’s MCD Concerts. (Anthony Kiedis/Red Hot Chili Peppers photo by M. Krobath/ANSPress Society News.)

System Of a Down, Santiago Gets Louder 2015, Macarena Viza

The second edition of Live Nation France’s Download Paris has announced its three headliners for 2017.

System of a Down – revealed last month as the first act confirmed for the new Download Spain, the second international spin-off from the long-running UK metal festival – will join Linkin Park and Blink-182 at a disused airbase in Le Plessis-Pâté, in Île-de-France, from 9 to 11 June.  (System of a Down photo by Macarena Viza.)

Also playing will be Rage Against the Machine/Public Enemy/Cypress Hill supergroup Prophets of Rage.

The first line-up announcement for the UK Download is expected this week.

Update (4/11/16): It’s System of a Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith.

Linkin Park, Montreal, 2014, Kristina Servant

Other notable developments since the last instalment of Festival Focus:


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