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August 3, 2013

Modesto's X-Fest endures another last-minute cancellation

A major X-Fest headliner again canceled at the last minute. Rockers Puddle of Mudd cited lead singer Wes Scantlin's "ongoing health issues" in backing out of the downtown Modesto music festival Saturday.

A major X-Fest headliner again canceled at the last minute and, for a second time, local favorite Flying Blind filled in.

Rockers Puddle of Mudd cited lead singer Wes Scantlin's "ongoing health issues" in backing out of the downtown Modesto music festival Saturday. According to, the "She Hates Me" singer was arrested July 24 in Los Angeles for vandalizing his neighbor's patio with a buzz saw.

Flying Blind filled in at X-Fest in 2011 when Panic! At the Disco canceled. In that case, the drummer's father was gravely ill.

X-Fest promoter Chris Ricci apologized profusely for the cancellation on X-Fest's Facebook page.

"There are no words to adequately express my frustration over this," Ricci said. "As a professional promoter, my reputation is everything and there is no question that last-minute cancellations tarnish the reputation of X Fest, an event of which I am otherwise enormously proud. For reasons I don't quite understand, getting the bands we book to actually show up has become an increasing challenge, and the fact that this is not the first time it's happened at X Fest is embarrassing to me personally and professionally."

Early in the day, many fans still didn't know that Puddle of Mudd had canceled.

Jessica Corral, 25, was disappointed when she heard.

"They were the one band I was looking forward to see," she said.

But the lineup offered plenty of choices. There were 100 acts on 14 stages, including former teen pop star Aaron Carter and rapper DMX. There were reggae bands (Iration), classic rock groups (Y&T), rockabilly groups, tribute bands of every variety and more. The festival was expected to attract 15,000 people by the end of the night.

Festivalgoer Armando Rosales, 28, said he was looking forward to seeing Drop City Yacht Club and several of the DJs.

X-Fest also offered many nonmusical distractions. There were roller derby girls, a pro-wrestling demonstration and a foam dance party.

For $8, festivalgoers could step inside a large bubble and spin around in it in a large wading pool, courtesy of the Redwood City company USA Walking on Water.

Corral, who tried it out, said she had a lot of fun, even though it was slippery and wet inside the bubble.

"You couldn't stand up at all," she said. "You couldn't sit."

Vendors sold cigars, jewelry, fake eyelashes and T-shirts (one read, "I Survived X-Fest").

The festival included elaborate dance stage productions from the Burning Man festival in Nevada. Opulent Temple, which offers sacred dance to world music, was making its X-Fest debut, and Dancetronauts, which features DJs performing on a spaceship, was a returning act.

Alcohol flowed freely, and many in the crowd walked around with a plastic beer cup in one hand and a cigarette in the other. No problems were reported after sunset.

David Martinez, 21, of Madera said the festival gave him an opportunity to get out of his hometown.

"It's pretty cool," he said as he surveyed the scene. "It's chill."

Lynne Madewell of Stockton was soaking up the atmosphere.

"It's very, very interesting," she said. "I like to people-watch. I've seen a lot of variety"

Christine Barajas, 24, of Modesto, said it was her second X-Fest.

"Honestly, I really don't care for it," she said. "I just like walking around."

Ricci said he felt pretty good about the festival despite the changes. He only felt bad that he couldn't find another national act to replace Puddle of Mudd.

"Flying Blind is a fantastic band but they don't replace them," he said.

Bee staff writer Lisa Millegan Renner can be reached at (209) 578-2313 or She is on Twitter at

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