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Mar 9, 2012 02:24 PM

Googa Mooga Food Festival in Prospect Park

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  1. Too bad they couldn't come up with a dumber name for this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pedr0

      At $250/person, how about Dinner for Schmucks? Seriously.

      How good could it possibly be to warrant that price? Is this the future of eating in Brooklyn? I certainly hope not.

      But, maybe this is a good thing.

      It gives the type of people who would shell out this much money for an event like this a place to go and keeps them away from regular folk, their children and small defenseless animals.

    2. Giving away free tickets two months in advance seems like a bad plan. At least half of those tickets will go unused and you'll shut out people who really do want to go.

      2 Replies
      1. re: scooter

        And it will keep the crowds under control...

        1. re: roux42

          Prediction: This event will be quite crowded, with significant wait times for food and drink.

      2. "Tickets" went on "sale" at noon today. Most people who signed on the web site to obtain tickets were put in a queue for an hour or more, only to have the site crash, their order be rejected and, ultimately, get a "sold out" message.

        Apparently, the system issued 40,000 tickets. Can't help but think this is going to be a mess.

        1 Reply
        1. re: famdoc

          yep, I was one of those that waited "in line" only to be kicked out after two hours with a "sorry sold out" message. Very annoying as it will be right across the street from me. The GoogaMooga people are promising more tix will be released in a more coherent manner, but I wouldn't count on it. And I agree--this is likely going to be one giant mess. Perhaps I am better off leaving town for the weekend--certainly I dare not lose my parking spot if I stick around :)

        2. I got a ticket the first time around. I felt like I was registering for college classes again. I think the only tickets left are the 250 tickets, which though sound tempting given the line up, I much rather do a Daneil tasting for that money. Though this has "shitshow" written all over it, i think I wil go early, before noon and leave when all the hipsters wake up and bike/rollerblade over.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jester99

            Got my tickets by a simple twist of fate on day one.
            Then discovered the event conflicted with a family gathering in Boston.
            Listed my tickets on Craigslist. Thought $15 apiece was fair, considering I spent more than an hour on the web site waiting for it to load.
            Then, today, I learn that they're going for $100+ on Stubhub.
            Go figure. Glad I'm headed to Boston for all the reasons elucidated above by fellow chowhounders. Not least of which is the crowds and the waits for small portions of expensive food.

            1. re: famdoc

              I cannot see spending 250 on these tickets. How much can one person eat?? I think that food network and the food blogs are giving these chefs over inflated egos anyway..yea their food is good but they arent saving lives or anything sheesh

              That said..I bet it will be a fun event but not 250 worth of fun ..for me anyway

            2. re: jester99

              I tried to get tickets yesterday when they were supposed to be available at noon. I checked right at 12:00 and they weren't available yet, but then a minute or two later the site said they were, but by the time I clicked through all tickets were gone. What a joke, if people are scalping these then I guess the professionals scooped them all up to resell. Or maybe there is only a very limited number of free tickets since they're trying to sell the high end tickets. In any event it does seem destined to be an epic failure, can't imagine who would pay $250 to these clowns.

              1. re: sadarami

                I'm kinda looking forward to it. Between myself and friends, I was able to get free tickets for both days and being that its virtually across the street, I'll go without high expectations. I do expect chaos, but I am also eager to try some of the foods. If the lines are too crazy, I'll just cross the street and go home :) That said, I think the $250 tickets are nuts (although, my understanding is they do include food and drinks.)

            3. This was the shitshow to end all shitshows and I would not recommend going.

              sooo there aren't really lines to get IN, which was a good sign. but when you get inside, there are 50-minute lines for most food places. There is also a 20-50 minute line to get a bracelet for 21+ drinks. Then there is a 30-60 minute line for drinks. There does not seem to be any simple drink kiosks around--none that we saw, anyway--so either you have to wait in the beer line for an hour to get a bottle of water, or (if you're lucky enough to pick a food stand that carries $5 basil lemonades or something) get something from a food stand. Which is almost an hour wait.

              Some food stand lines were shorter. The place with the shortest line--maybe 15 minutes--was serving a grilled onion for $6. That's it. One place serving grilled corn nachos looked promising and had a line that was around a half hour wait, but they ran out of nachos (thankfully we had only waited in the line 2 minutes when they announced it).

              Travelling back and forth between the two "wings" of food booths required picking your way across a field of early-arrivers on blankets watching the stage show in the sun. I can't imagine it was relaxing for them at all--there was an enormously thick crowd travelling that field at any given moment, surrounding the blankets and stepping on fingers and such.

              Eventually we said "fuck it"--half the places there we'd eaten at in the past, and nobody wanted to wait an hour for food and another hour for drinks. We left the park and went to Zito's.

              On the way out we were given packs of free Orbit gum, and found a $20 bill on the ground, and an ATM accidentally dispensed a $50 instead of a $20 bill. So it was a fine day nonetheless. And Zito's is delicious.

              13 Replies
              1. re: didactic katydid

                I told a twitter friend who was fed up with the lines to leave the park and head to Fifth Ave., but Zito's is a much better idea. You really found the silver lining in an otherwise black cloud.

                1. re: didactic katydid

                  I heard they had some issues but its the first year they are doing this so there are bound to be glitches.

                  As for the length of the lines why would you expect any different? I have heard the same thing about that BBQ fest in MSP every year..the lines the lines the lines...of course there are lines ..thats why I dont go to these things though I admit they always sound fun before people like you come on and post about the nightmare lines ;)

                  more was the food??? ;)

                  1. re: SweetDreamsNYC

                    Great beer and food at Double Windsor on PPW and 16th (pretty much across from park) that's my back up

                    1. re: SweetDreamsNYC

                      Now I get it. It was all Katydid's fault.

                      Eater has posted a bunch of Tweets from journalists and food industry types that pretty much say the same thing as her.


                      Yelpers weren't kind either.


                        1. re: jimmyjo1

                          I know I'm in the minority but my friends and I had a great time both days. Key was to get there early. We arrived at opening both days and enjoyed at least 2-3 relatively uncrowded hours. Actually today never got too crowded, at least when we left at around 4 pm lines were still reasonable. Yes, the wine/beer/drinks situation was a fiasco on Saturday (their card system didn't work, lines were insane to get tickets) and so we just gave up on the wine and beer tents, knowing we'd be back on Sunday we figured we'd leave it for then. Its about the food anyway. Today, that issue was straightened out (cash was accepted, duh) and we never waited more than15 minutes in any line, and did quite a bit of wine and beer tasting. Heard some fun music too. Between the two days had at least 10-15 different things and assorted wine and beer. It was a free event, so I don't know what everyone is complaining about. (I DO think the ExtraMooga folks have a right to complain, from what I heard they did NOT get anywhere near their $250 worth, which I thought was robbery to begin with.)

                          Anyway, we had a great weekend at GoogaMooga, beautiful weather, some good food, music and friends. Sorry that so many others found it disappointing.

                      1. re: SweetDreamsNYC

                        No idea how the food was because I didn't get any!

                        I've gone to many of these gigantic events, and some of them are managed quite well. I expected a wait (I've been to the Red Hook vendors both before and after they went food-truck; I was at Smorgasburg every weekend last year; etc.). GoogaMooga put those all to shame.

                        My friends who went right away (at 11am) said they found the waits to be quite manageable. We went in at 3pm. By that point, it was the aforementioned shitshow.

                        (btw Bob Martinez, I'm male)

                        1. re: didactic katydid

                          It was the "katy" part that fooled me. Apologies.

                          1. re: didactic katydid

                            Have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Got there before noon and had no problem getting whatever food or beer we wanted up until we left around 4. Can't speak for those who came later though.

                            1. re: didactic katydid

                              My husband and I gave up, too. I guess we're spoiled because we had just gone to Jazz Fest in NOLA a couple of weeks ago and the food vendors there are better at managing the huge crowds. So we took our business to the Monro and Sweet Wolf and a couple other places in the Slope instead.

                            2. re: SweetDreamsNYC

                              There are glitches and then there are total, careless, disasters. The people behind it are the same ones who organize Bonaroo. They should have the festival thing down by now. New York Magazine posted an article describing the chaos, clearly highlightint it as a "shitshow"- and New York Magazine was a sponsor, so that's pretty bad.

                              They sold 40,000 tickets and apparently didn't sign up nearly enough restaurants. That isn't a glitch, it is greed. Not only does it suck for the people who attended, but I feel bad for the restaurateurs. I recently read an article on Eater, it was actually interviews with four famous chefs about food festivals and it seems that the chefs are often lied to and and for lack of a better phrase, taken advantage of, by many food festival organizers. It sounds like the Great GoogaMooga - particularly the $250 special section - was probably a good example of that.

                              Only 75 food vendors for 40,000 people? Hmmmm...that doesn't sound like a great idea. Geez...I went to the Taste of Tribeca festival on Saturday, which was small enough that it only took up less than two city blocks and they had 75 eateries there. And it was great!

                              Although I would have LOVED to see The Roots. :)

                              1. re: Justpaula

                                honestly - the number of vendors relative to the attendance was not one of the major flaws. i worked an event half again bigger, with fewer than 50% more vendors. Id lay some of the blame on the vendors themselves for not being prepared to deal with the volume - it takes a streamlined operation to run smoothly with those kind of numbers, and i think a lot of folks got hit harder than they expected.

                                My biggest quibbles with the organizers are the size of the meadow relative to the crowds - lines are inevitable, but the way they had things set up it was frequently difficult to tell what the lines were even for because there was insufficient space for lines as long as they had.

                                second, some of the policies were just amateur - wristbands needed to be available at the door, cash should have been accepted everywhere. and the beer booths (not the big tasting tents) were totally too small - they were running the beer operation out of jockey boxes with golf carts ferrying kegs around to the booths. full on refridgerated trucks with sufficiently trained and numbered staff would have been a much better call.

                                apparently sunday went way smoother - it just seemed like there was a lot of rookie bs on saturday during prime hours.

                            3. re: didactic katydid

                              this pretty much summed up the reaction of daughter and her boyfriend. Seems like it was a real mess. In addition, the only food available was full plates rather than sample size, which really limited the appeal of the event. Problems with the beer too, payment methods, etc. you name it, amateur night. She left, he got sunburn waiting around in the sun.