Balmy weather with a breeze and Xciting music made the ninth annual Xclamation Festival a hit with attendees Saturday in downtown Modesto.
Concertgoers from twentysomethings to gray hairs moved between eight stages featuring rock, hip hop, pop, classic rock, electronica and more.
Throughout the evening, temperatures ranged from the mid-90s down into the mid-80s, significantly cooler than the sweltering triple-digit heat of some past years' festivals.
Headliners included pop punk band Simple Plan, "American Idol" runner-up Blake Lewis and rock band Eve 6.
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Festival creator and promoter Chris Ricci said he expected another sellout with close to 16,000 people pouring into downtown.
"There's not a lot to do in Modesto," said 32-year-old Ceres resident Stan Jiminez, explaining why he came to the event. "I wanted to see what's going on."
Friends Jacob Chum, 29, of Oakland, and Justin Klotch, 31, of San Jose, said the festival was better than anything they could think of to do in the Bay Area.
"It seems like another Mardi Gras," Chum said, referring to many in the crowd wearing strings of colored beads. "It reminds me of Mardi Gras in the Gaslamp District in San Diego."
In between listening to the acts, crowds could browse tables selling T-shirts and sunglasses with flashing lights, munch on food, including pizza and corn dogs, or learn about the Air Force and pole dance exercise classes. They also could drink lots of beer and other beverages. People seemed relaxed and mellow for the most part.
"It's been really good so far," Ricci said shortly after 8 p.m.
"The weather is nice, it's really comfortable. There's great music playing and people are having a good time."
Bee arts writer Lisa Millegan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2313.