The Great GoogaMooga had a lot to prove after last year’s disastrous debut. For starters, the three-day Brooklyn food and music festival, held in Prospect Park, needed shorter lines, better phone reception, better organization and, perhaps most importantly, more food and alcohol to accommodate the masses. This year, the organizers (who also produce other festivals like Bonnaroo and Outside Lands) promised a new and improved event featuring 85 food vendors, 75 brewing companies, and 100 wines.
So did this little-big festival-that-could prevail from the “shitshow” moniker it was bestowed last year?
Yes! (Sort of). Friday’s sold out kick-off concert, at least, was pleasant.
Maps and guides throughout the grounds directed festival-goers to the food vendors that lined both sides of the main stage as well as a vast wine and beer tasting pavilion, each of which had short lines. So instead of waiting hours for a taste, attendees savored food at picnic tables and on blankets, enjoying the only nice, sunny day of the weekend.
Our food highlights included Pork Slope’s tender cheddarwurst patty with caramelized onions slathered with yellow mustard on marble rye, and a fudgy Baked brownie. We also indulged in a few other desserts, including a frozen banana from The Big Banana, and a creamy Car Bomb Parfait from Robicelli’s made with a Guinness stout brownie and Bailey’s ricotta crème, Jameson whiskey chocolate sauce, and beer-nut praline.
Like many visitors, GoogaMooga first-timers Mike and Jane Astin dined from establishments they frequent quite regularly: “I live in Brooklyn near the [Red Hook] Lobster Pound, and I wanted to try something new …” Jane said. “But she loves these!” her husband Mike chimed in and rated her lobster roll 5.5 out of five while he took a bite of his pizza from Roberta’s, which he gave 4.5 stars.
Once the entertainment really started, we rocked out to Wayne Coyne performing atop a podium made of large silver balls, but we found it quite challenging to truly appreciate him in all of his glory while we were attempting to relish Joseph Leonard’s huge sticky, spicy fried chicken sandwich made with cucumbers, radish, honey Tabasco, and mayonnaise on a ciabatta roll. It’s sort of like eating while watching porn. You don’t want to mix the two. If you know how to sing along to the Flaming Lips while licking honey off of your fingers, please let us know.
Sadly, the weekend didn’t quite go off without a hitch: We attempted to return to the park on Sunday, but because of the rain, New York City Parks Department and the Prospect Park Alliance cited “safety and prevention of damage to the park grounds” and canceled the last day of the festival.
VIP ticket-holder? GoogaMooga is granting refunds. If you’re just sad about missing out on a day of feasting, though, the best way to drown your sorrows over the cancellation is to stop by the restaurants’ permanent locations and support the local businesses GoogaMooga aims to showcase. Check out the full line-up for what you missed.