In case you’ve been living under a Twitter-less rock all weekend and missed the complaints about the first Great GoogaMooga festival held in Prospect Park this weekend, here is the summary: The lines! There were lines, oh-so-many lines, lines that seemed to go on for ever and end in a kafkaesque slap when you got to the front only to find out the person in front of you got the last fried chicken bahn mi; and lines for beer, no, wait, lines just to get tickets to the beer tent, where more lines awaited, and if you wanted to put some food on top of that beer so you didn’t pass out, a Byzantine maze of lines stood between you and a tiny bite of porchetta sandwich.
By Sunday things seemed to be running more smoothly; the vibe of most everyone we talked to was relaxed, either because people knew what to expect or because they had lowered their expectations. Certainly the decision to ditch the absurdly complicated ticketing system for the beer and wine tents helped (buzzed people = happy people). So what did you think? A good outing for the first of what will likely become an annual free tradition, or something desperately in need of improvement? Here’s our breakdown below:
-Weather! You couldn’t have asked for two nicer days. Love that early season suntan.
-Lez Zeppelin was the tits, both literally and figuratively.
-Main stage shows The Roots, Hall & Oates and Fitz & The Tantrums: Big enough sound that you didn’t feel like you had to cram in to the front of the stage to enjoy it and could relax in the back of the lawn on your blanket instead, which is what festivals are supposed to be for.
-The special Brooklyn Doc Primus Googa brew tasted like carnival candy (if you could get it)
-Tickets: for all the fusterclucking that went on getting official tickets, it seemed like people were pretty good about giving away/trading free tickets (we orchestrated a few trades through Twitter too). We heard reports that guards at the gates yesterday were taking extra tickets to hand out to people who needed them.
-The people: you all are an attractive bunch in the summer sun, New York City. Not too many inappropriately topless people either.
-Bathrooms. Lots of ‘em; no lines.
-This twitter account.
-The lines for everything. Even getting a simple beer from a concession stand became a 30 minute affair on Sunday.
-The silly beer/wine system: you had to wait in a line to get a plastic beer cup and buy
Itchy & Scratchy Money “Googa Moola” so you could use that at beer and wine tents. People at the front of the line at about 4pm on Saturday said they had been waiting an hour and a half already. By the end of Saturday and then on Sunday, organizers had ditched this method and just let you pay for beer and wine in the tent itself. But still, lines.
-A lot of booths ran out of food. Sorry, everyone who waited in line for an hour.
-Lack of signage had some people running around lost inside and outside the festival grounds.
-Cell service sucked, but what did you expect at a music festival?
-MEATPALOOZA: Not to go all green veggie Hulk with rage here, but this thing was clearly a meat event for meat lovers and people who brush their teeth with foie gras and make little meat babies out of porchetta-roasted-duck-fat-bacon. If you were a vegetarian/vegan at the fest, your meal mostly consisted of malted hopps and barley (and no, it’s not really worth it to wait 45 minutes in line for some nachos just because that’s all they had). For all the wonderful veggie places New York City has to offer (oh I would have gladly waited in line for a FoodSwings, a Dunwell Donut or some Angelica Kitchen) none of them were invited. But you could get plenty of engorged duck liver.
This whole thing was free, so it’s hard to complain too much about the chance to jam out to Hall & Oates on a sunny early summer day. Some folks were impressed when they found out this was the first year of the fest: ” In that case they killed it,” said Chris Winikor, 22, of Bay Ridge. ”They made it huge for the first time.” Most attendees we talked to said they would come back for the next year. ”I think they’re going to learn a lot,” said Margo Beldengreen, 24, of Greenwich Village.
BONUS: BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE VIP EXTRA MOOGA!
We got into the Extra Mooga side to see what people paid all that money for. While there was some special grub and beverage offerings, lots of seating under tall shady trees, elbow-rubbing with foodie celebs and much shorter lines, we were surprised to learn that VIP bracelets did not get you free food and drink outside of the Extra Mooga area.
Chuck Klosterman, who appeared on a Marc Maron WTF panel with Joe Mande and John Hodgman on Saturday, said he thought the $250 price tag for the section was too damn high.
“This is crazy, I have to say,” Klosterman told the crowd. He also defended everyone’s begrudged subgroup:
“I like hipsters. They buy all my book,” he said. “My love of hipsters means I can’t be one.”
Earlier in the day at the noshing panel with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, David Chang of Momofuku, Aziz Ansari and Ruth Reichl, Chang revealed Roberta’s is the only restaurant he’s been to in Brooklyn, which earned jeers from the crowd and a claim by Aziz that he was starting an “inter-borough race war.”
Meanwhile, Aziz said one of his favorite eats in Brooklyn is the burger at Commodore.
“It’s a good burger,” he said. “I don’t get out to Brooklyn often enough. I need to get there more.”
James Murphy’s favorite restaurants include Isa, Sensation Neo Shanghai Cuisine, and Marlow & Sons.
“That was my spot for years and years,” he said. For your summer BBQ soundtrack, he recommends the first Strokes record.
So what about this much maligned idea that “food is the new rock?”
“I truly stand behind that being dumb,” Murphy said. “You can’t download food, for starters.”
Chang agreed: “Food is more like being a plumber.”
At Sunday’s noshing panel comedian Patton Oswalt, Eddie Huang, chef and owner of BaoHaus, and Top Chef judge and owner of Craft and Colicchio & Sons restaurants Tom Colicchio discussed roasting celebrity chefs (Anthony Bourdain and Thomas Keller were top choices) and whether food is really better than sex. Said Huang, “I put a lot more effort into sex than food and the enjoyment ends much more quickly.” Well I guess that settles it.
Tony, er, Mr. Bourdain groupies swooned (and cried and totally embarrassed themselves) as he answered audience questions. Though he sidestepped questions about Brooklyn (let’s start our petition for another BK episode of No Res next season!), he did say that even as a die hard New Yorker, the MTA perpetually pisses him off as well as other half-assed infrastructure.
“I get five bars on the edge of a fucking mountain in Bejing, China but none here!” Tony also told us his secret hangover recipe: As soon as you can swallow without retching, drink an ice cold Coca Cola and wash down a couple Asprin. Smoke a joint and eat (preferably leftover) Kung Pao chicken. You’ll be ready to party another day in no time.