For X-Fest 2010, the night was cool, the crowd was thick, the music was rockin' -- and lots of the ticket wristbands were fake.
Xclamation Festival promoter Chris Ricci said Sunday morning that eventgoers who paid scalpers for their entry bands were allowed in Saturday night wearing fakes. Ricci estimated the number of counterfeit wristbands was in the hundreds, possibly thousands.
"Obviously we didn't anticipate this. It took us a while to figure out what was happening," Ricci said. "We caught a lot of people selling (wristbands)," but that was before security caught on to the different paper used for the phony bracelets.
The confusion once gatekeepers were alerted led to some long lines, Ricci said. But otherwise the event went smoothly.
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"The good news is the important stuff -- security, safety, good times -- we made all that good stuff happen," Ricci said, adding that wristbands next year will be a different type.
"X-Fest, I look at as a living, breathing organism," he said. "It changes. Every year we're going to have new challenges and we have to find solutions."
Ricci estimated 15,000 people attend- ed the annual downtown music event, which costs $20 in advance or $30 at the gate. He had no estimate of how much money he lost to the scheme but said the ruse will show in the gate receipts.
"The city loses, too. They get a portion of ticket sales," Ricci said.
Modesto police Lt. Mike Perine called the event "relatively calm" but said the numbers of arrests and other details were not available.
It was the city's 11th annual X-Fest, with 40 bands playing on eight stages in an area bordered roughly by H, 10th, J and 12th streets.
"It's a pretty special night in Modesto," Ricci said. "I'm encouraged to know Modesto comes out to celebrate summer, even in these tough economic times."
Bee staff writer Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2339.