X FEST OR EX FEST – MODESTO CITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS LOCAL BUSINESS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT CONCERNS REGARDING ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL

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X-Fest expected to draw 20,000 this year…

MODESTO, CA – The Xclamation Fest, better known as X-Fest, a music festival held in August every year for the past 16 years and has come under fire recently by business owners who want the event moved elsewhere. Promoter and founder of the event, Chris Ricci, will face off with the city this evening as they consider the businesses request. Those businesses have signed a letter requesting the event be held elsewhere due to their businesses having to shutdown to accommodate the event.

Under consideration by the council is whether to grant Ricci a permit to hold the event, which is expected to draw 20,000 people this year on August 20th. A section of downtown is shutdown to traffic across 10th and 12th Streets and J to H Streets.

But not only local businesses like Raw Sushi Bistro, Galletto Ristorante, the State Theatre and more than a dozen others express their opposition to X-Fest’s permit, the local Police department and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office have expressed concerns regarding the safety of the public and their officers. In a department memo the department noted that there was an increase in crime over last year which included 14 fights, nine public intoxication arrests, five resisting arrests and an assault on a peace officer.

The department also noted that the most concerning incidents from last year’s X-Fest were the calls they received after the X-Fest shutdown noting that there were calls regarding vehicle thefts, fights throughout downtown and a large fight at the DoubleTree Hotel in Modesto. The worst of all occurred when a call came in about shots having been fired at an X-Fest after-party at a Kansas Avenue warehouse where seven people were wounded and one person dead.

“Based upon our previous experiences with X-Fest,” wrote Sheriff Adam Christianson in a statement, “we decided that the risk to our personnel and the liability was too significant.” The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office has provided security in the past. The event pays both the Modesto Police Department and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office for the extra security beyond the security guards they hire for the event.

Ricci is not without his own support with X-Fest music fans declaring they are going to fight to keep the event downtown. “They want to shutdown X Fest for good but we cannot let that happen.” Wrote an X-Fest supporter asking us to post their flier. “What does X Fest mean to you every year? We need people to just show up but even better if they show up to speak up. Stand up for what you believe in. Think of the impact it will have on all the local businesses and staff involved if this event doesn’t happen. We hope to see you there tonight. Thank you all very much!”

Rici himself has said that he is more than willing to work with the city stating, “X-Fest is an ever evolving festival,” he said. “That’s the reason why it has been successful over the years. … The question is whether the city wants to work with X-Fest organizers to make it more successful.”

The Modesto City Council is expected to meet this evening at 5:30 p.m. to discuss this and many other items on the city’s agenda. They meet in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place at 1010 10th Street.

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