Modesto council to consider approving permit for X-Fest

City officials are recommending that Modesto’s City Council at its Tuesday meeting approve a permit for this year’s Xclamation Festival, the annual musical event that draws about 15,000 people downtown one day each August.

The recommendation came after a lengthy April 5 council meeting in which members heard from those who support the festival, saying it provides an entertainment option for young people (the festival is for the 21-and-older crowd); has enhanced Modesto’s reputation; and boosts the local economy, with out-of-towners spending money on hotel rooms and other purchases.

But managers with two downtown businesses – Galletto Ristorante and Slater’s Home Furnishings – said the festival needs to be held elsewhere and that it hurts them and other businesses. Police officials also had concerns about making the event safe for officers and the public.

The city officials’ recommendation comes with conditions, including that police Chief Galen Carroll approve the safety plan no later than May 30 that Xclamation Festival promoter Chris Ricci is developing in conjunction with the police. That plan includes increasing the number of security guards from 200 to 300 and having them work at least two hours past the festival’s closure, when problems could occur. The festival also hires off-duty officers to work the event.

A city report states that police are concerned about alcohol consumption and have made several suggestions to Ricci. They include limiting drinking to beer gardens and limiting how many drinks festivalgoers can consume. A memo from the police states that Ricci does not support these conditions.

Xclamation Festival – also known as X-Fest – started in 2000. Its crowd tends to be young and racially diverse, with the music reflecting that taste. In recent years, the music has been largely hip-hop.

This year’s festival is scheduled for Aug. 20. The city closes several downtown streets for the event.

The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.