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X-Fest attendance grows as temperature eases

You'd think the twentysomethings at Saturday's Xclamation Festival would be out there to see a hip-hop or rap artist.

But more than a few at the giant downtown Modesto music festival said they came to see 1970s band Foghat, known for the song "Slow Ride."

"I'm an old-school music fan," said Ray Jewell, 22, of Oakdale. "My grandma and my mom like them."

The 10th annual X-Fest featured more than 50 national and local bands on seven stages.

Headliners included 2006 "American Idol" finalist Elliott Yamin, rapper Baby Bash, mellow piano-based band Augustana, alternative rock act Lit, rocker Kevin Rudolf and pop-punk band We The Kings.

Crowds were light when the festival opened at 6 p.m. in blistering 103-degree heat. But attendance grew steadily as the night went on with long lines of people waiting to enter at 8 p.m. The line at the 11th Street entrance wrapped around the block on K Street as the temperature dropped a few degrees and a breeze started blowing.

"It's been real smooth so far," said event creator Chris Ricci. "The weather is just now getting perfect. It's going to be a great night."

Ricci expected nearly 16,000 people to visit the festival before it ended at 1 a.m.

Travis Clark, lead singer of We The Kings, jumped around the stage and swished his long red mane back and forth during his set.

"I love you guys for being able to stick through this heat," he said to the crowd. "It's crazy."

Most of the festivalgoers didn't show his energy level -- at least not that early in the evening. For the most part, they stood still and watched quietly.

Hardnox, a Beastie Boys-like band known for the hit "She'd Rather Be With the DJ," tried in vain to get its audience to dance.

When they weren't watching bands, people snacked at food booths, enjoyed beer and shopped for everything from clothes to pipes and tattoos.

Kai Vasquez, 21, of Manteca, said she was excited to be attending her first X-Fest.

"When I wasn't 21, I had friends that were 21 and they would brag about it," she said. "I was bummed that I couldn't go."

John Wade, 22, of Ceres, said he enjoyed the chance to have fun with his friends.

"It's a social gathering," he said. "Everybody from work's here."

Did he mind the sweltering heat?

"It doesn't prevent me from having fun," he said. "I'd come out even if it were 120 degrees."

For more on the music and the scene, visit www.twitter.com/lisamillegan.

Bee arts writer Lisa Millegan can be reached at lmillegan@modbee.com or 578-2313.

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