I could start with the name. There isn't a person that I know who wondered how could you call a festival Googa Mooga? Also, nobody ever gets it right. Mooga googa, or that googa thing or is it mooga mooga. Anyway, enough on that name. This event was food and drink festival. Think of a musical festival such as Bonaroo but instead food and wine are the primary focus. Good idea if you can pull it off.
The event was put on in Prospect Park. They couldn't have been luckier weather-wise. It was sunny, 77 and not a cloud in the sky which is probably why people stayed, hung out and there weren't any uprisings.
The festival was divided into two sections. The "free" area but you had to get a ticket to get in there which means they knew exactly how many people were attending. Then there was the "extra mooga" side which cost $250 per ticket per day. Yes, if you wanted to attend both days (saturday and sunday)it would be $500.
In the "free" area there was a band shell and then food vendors galore including a beer and wine tasting pavilion and a coffee experience. The place was packed and the lines for food could go anywhere from an hour or to an hour and a half. The event lasted until 8pm and by 5pm most of the vendors had run out of food. There were also a few bands playing at the end of the evening. It was a beautiful day so my guess is most people got there, decided what the hell, here I am with my friends hanging, enjoying the weather, inside a park and I will just stand in this ridiculous line and buy some food…not so true on the other side.
In the "extra mooga" area there was food events over the course of the day including panels, some DJ's, music at night and food and drinks were free as part of your ticket price. Unami burger had people waiting in line for over an hour plus at 2pm and they ran out of food at 330. Not pretty for the people who had stood in line for the two bite burger.
At Tertulia, where the line was also long but only lasted about 15 minutes, there was one paella pan with a woman literally using a tablespoon to scoop out some rice for your plate where you got 2 tablespoons of paella.
Colicchio & friends gave out a piece of meat with some corn. They all treated it like a food tasting event which happen all over the city during the year for non-profit organizations but when you pay $250 to go to this event where not a dime is going to a non-profit organization, it isn't okay. People were hungry and pissed.
Back at the boat house, the restaurant of the moment would bring out plates of food and people would swarm them and in seconds the food would be gone. It was a tad barbaric.
Inside the Blue Ribbon fried chicken event there wasn't even a regulated line but a swarm of people attempting to shove each others way in to get a piece of fried chicken.
Music festivals work because you put a band up on a stage and 1000 people can circle around. There is food to get but it isn't the highlight. People paid $250 a piece to stand in line for a small tidbit of food if they had not run out. The people who ran this event knew exactly how many people were coming each day because they the sold tickets. The event was a shit show, to put it bluntly. It was poorly produced and operated. Each food vendor should have been told to prepare for the amount of people that were coming and put at least 10 people behind the booths just to serve and another 20 to cook. They each had just a handful at best. Jazzfest moves the people through because they have at least 20+ people working at each food vendor.
For the people inside the "paid" area there should have been buckets of water bottles around. There weren't even garbage people. There were piles of empty plates on the picnic tables. The lines for drinks were ridiculously long too. Even when you left the festival, taking the Q back into the city took forever. Did anybody have a conversation with the transportation people of NYC and mention that they should not run the trains like a weekend schedule because of the throng of people coming to the festival? BTW the cell service out there was terrible too. The operators could have fixed that easily but alas, did not. Maybe they were saving themselves for the nasty tweeting that would have gone on.
Beautiful setting, good idea but beyond poorly executed. I bought tickets for the whole family and my kids bolted after they got their unami burger. I can't believe that I paid $250 a head for this. A complete rip-off. I am not the only person out there yesterday who wanted their money back. The experience, considering the food amount, was worth about $50 at best.
Can't tell you about the other side but there is nothing fun about standing in line for an hour or more for food that you can get around the city. It would have been more fun to do a walking tour of all these restaurants or even for $250 a head we could have rented a bus and gone door to door. Lesson learned, I would have a hard time imaging that they are going to get people out there for year 2 particularly for the "extra mooga". .
BTW, we left the show starving. Went back to the city and sat down for dinner at Barbuto where they are always so obnoxious about getting a table. Empty tables but it will be an hour wait. Really? Can you call me on my cell when the table becomes available? Answer: no, but you can take a card and call us. Funny enough, less than 5 minutes later we were sitting because they decided to fill the empty tables. Seriously? I will say the food is always good there these days and it wasn't a year ago. Does it make up for the snooty attitude when you walk in the door….questionable.
Here are a few quotes I found this morning on line about Googa Mooga. Pretty much confirms what I wrote.
Ran out of beer, ran out of food.
What a fucking shit show.
Via FOC The Lime Spider, some calculations W/R/T Googa Mooga:
The organizers say 40,000 per day. Let's agree, generously, that peak will be 30,000.
I think 35% will be at the concerts, and not on line for food at any given time, but to be polite, let's say 50% to make them feel like people came for the music. Also because it makes the math easier: 15,000 on line for food.
75 vendors. 2 lines per vendor. 150 lines. 100 people per line.
Cash transactions. Optimistically, 60 transactions per hour. That means each line will run about an hour and a half, for tasting portions or slightly larger. Even if there are twice as many lines, or half as many people, you're still looking at 45 minute waits.
Street thinkers call it Tight Math. For the sake of the people who are going, I hope these calculations (by someone w/ food festival experience) are off base. The Cod is Pro Prospect Park — despite the restrictions on fishing. The Cod is a fan of many of the food vendors. Based on past experiences, not sure that putting all of these purveyors in the same place will lead to a better time than having them scattered around NYC.
All and all, a shit show.
Ridiculous. I hear rumors of refunds.
Wow, what a mess. When I read or hear accounts like this I have to wonder what the organizers and venders think through prior to the event; and more importantly, what consideration is given to the importance of providing value and a great experience to the visitor. When you know your visitor count, there is zero excuse for such a cluster f…, well you know.(And your account of Barbuto pretty well ensures that I’ll never go there. If the food were great and free, plus they washed my car while I dined, I’d still not tolerate the attitude. Empty tables are okay if part of your staff are out ill and you want to maintain quality service, but that needs to be humbly explained and apologized for. I guess you can tell I have no tolerance for arrogance. 😉
GoogaMooga was the ultimate douchebag trip. Glad it blew up in their faces. For $0 down and a walk of a couple blocks, Park Slope’s 5th Avenue Street Festival was packing them in. Actually needed tube socks, too!
I’m not “glad that it blew up in their faces”, because a lot of people wasted real money and apparently didn’t receive good value for it. I wish the organizers of such an event no failure or malice, but it seems that execution of the event was fundamentally mismanaged from the early planning stages, onward. Like Joanne, I feel bad for those who wasted money, and for those who waited on line in the free side, only to be disappointed. Perhaps there should be no free side (or very limited sampling + music) and charge a nominal fee to everyone. Then offer a reasonable premium ticket that provides for more options, etc.Better: In Thailand, it’s common to go to a food court and purchase food coupons from a cashier station(s) which are redeemable at all venders. Exchange rate is set by each vender, no change need be given as pricing is fixed, etc. You could have “sampler” and “premium” types (of this Monopoly money) if you wanted to separate them. At the end of the event the venders cash in their collected coupons. It saves a ton of time and it’s fun for the participants. There are plenty of other examples which work, but the organizers of this event blew it. Edit to add: Colored tokens or chips work, too, and is sometimes used in Asia, e.g. one beer = 1 red, a quality wine might be 2 blues, etc. It isn’t rocket science, but needs to be thought-out and planned.To me, such events can be fun and provide a great experience and value, but the execution of Googa Mooga was obviously a miss.
Yikes. Really glad we decided to just picnic at sunset park and eat tacos al pastor with tamarind jarritos 🙂
It was massively stupid! Bad experience
it surely was.
OMG…I saw your shit show comment on Fred’s FS, and had a bad feeling about what was actually happening.
i really feel bad for the people who spent serious money for an event that was so utterly disappointing.
You had the exact same experience we did ( we = $500). We satiated our starving-ness at Bakehouse, which if you like Barbuto, you will love. Who did you ask for a refund – your credit card company, Superfly, eventBrite?
I didn’t ask for a refund. I should. Where do you suggest I do it?
Oh, i thought you were already successful petitioning for the refund! There is also a number on the site — 888-810-2063, I will try that first and post back here.
on other blogs and on twitter i’ve seen people talking about calling your credit card company and asking not to be charged because of services failed to be rendered….
We went to the free section today. It was awesome. We ate lots of food and saw all the bands we wanted to. I guess we each spent 50 bucks.
This review is extremely overdramatic. Do you really expect festival organizers to work with such a shitshow as the MTA?! If you don’t want to go to a food festival in Brooklyn, keep your snotty ass in Manhattan.
I’m from Brooklyn and it was a complete shit show!! The review is spot on no matter where you came from!
actually i do. the mta would be thrilled to see an event of this size take place anywhere in the city. it is great that they chose prospect park and i guarantee you that the head of transportation would be delighted to have that conversation.
this review was EXACTLY how it happened, at least on saturday. i live across the street from prospect park (but on the “wrong”) side and of course, for us plebes, (aka non park slopers) we had to walk alllll the way around to the other side just to get in. i’d like to add that in addition to the lines being insane, the beverages were all on one line–beer, cocktails, wine AND water. so, if you just wanted to hydrate, you had to stand on line with all the drunk and angry assholes. terrible terrible terrible.
Umm. Coney Island regularly coordinates events with the MTA. How is this a Brooklyn v. Manhattan thing? Are you implying that Brooklynites should be willing to deal with complete incompetence? I lived in Brooklyn most all of my life. This festival was a scham and no Brooklynite would ever claim it as a Brooklyn event.
Seriously? I live in Brooklyn and have been going to festivals since (my guess) you were shitting your diapers. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “snotty ass Manhattan” and everything to do with poor planning. This was a horror show as far as well fun festivals go (and Superfly knows how to run a festival). Don’t be such a douche.
Yea. Cause there’s no such thing as a snotty Brooklyn asshole.
This review is dead on, at least for Saturday – it was a disaster and the representation here was not overdramatic. The food ran out and I paid $250 – was a complete joke. While I live in Brooklyn and had no problem getting a train, I could see someone faulting the organizers if they didn’t notify the MTA of attendance (not sure if they did or not). The MTA adjusts for Mets games, other events, so perhaps the MTA was notified and didn’t adjust, or perhaps GoogaMooga failed in more ways than I had thought.
Considering that you couldn’t go in any subway station in the city without seeing their posters, you’d think the MTA had *some* idea it was going on…
Spent 5 hours at the free event today; I didn’t feel ripped off, but definitely felt the food-serving capacity was completely off for the number of people there. I felt pretty happy about getting a Spotted Pig burger instead of waiting 4 hours for a table, but the 200 people in line for Luke’s Lobster was incomprehensible.What really bothered me, though, was the atrocious AT&T and Verizon service. The only thing the festival drained faster than my wallet (though I wasn’t totally unhappy about the beer tent) was the battery on my iPhone. I would have tried to tweet, check in, or text, from the time we got to Prospect Park onward, even as we left the festival area late afternoon, no email, Text, calls, or foursquare.I feel the worst for Lexus. They had this really cool Instaprint booth in their coffee tent, printing photos tagged with their hashtag. ZOMG – where have you been all my life. Maybe if I had been able to use Twitter at all, I would have seen some tweets about it!!! After a day of trying in vain to text my friends about the Luke’s Lobster line, tweeting a branded hashtag seemed like a pipe dream at best and salt in the wound, at worst. There was no way to know about the hashtag outside the booth, and I must say that knowing how much the Lexus sponsorship (combined with the Extra Mooga integration) likely cost, I’m hoping the whole Instagram ecosystem doesn’t get blamed for the poor ROI of this one installation. Like the rest of the festival’s data services, the one social-media friendly element was a total dud.
The atrocious at&t service is there whether or not there is a festival. My gps is 50% shit on my runs around the park.
Yeah it was pretty bad. Probably the poorest planned festival I’ve ever been to. The other one that sticks out was this Across the Narrows music fest a number of years back — but at least they had the opposite problem…no one turned up: http://blogs.villagevoice.c… so no issues with lines.Here’s what we did yesterday:* Lined up to get in: actually not so bad b/c it was moving, but still took a good 25 minutes* Lined up to get ID’d: they ran out of wristbands and we were waiting for them to get more for 20 minutes; total wait of 30-35 minutes* Lined up to get a couple beers: 30 minutes* Lined up to get food from Joseph Leonard: waited 30 minutes only to find out they ran out of food and were going to close for an hour so had to start all over; this was when I started to fume, but reminded myself how nice a day it was and all that..* Lined up to get food from M. Wells for “bologna, foie gras, grilled cheeses”: only 5-10 minutes but then when we got to front they had a more hidden sign that said the bologna was made from horse meat. I have no problem with the fact that they have an exotic/unusual take on bologna, but it was clearly misleading to a lot of people, and given the lines most just said f*ck it, I’ll pay $15 for the sandwich even if I’m weirded out by horse meat* Lined up for a BLT from Landhaus: 20 minutes; probably the best line experience of the day* Finally laid down a blanket to watch Holy Ghost’s 45-60 minute set* Got the hell out of there; walked home, ate regular food and finished Downton Abbey on Netflix.
I could tell from a distance this one was gong to be a major shit show. The free side was never going to work and $250 was surely way excessive for a VIP experience.
it was a total excess for a VIP experience…totally agree.
Extra subway service might have been hard to sell to the MTA, especially considering there’d be extra load on some difficult-to-predict combination of Q, F, G, and 2/3 trains. Apart from that, I totally sympathize with the complaints.I got there early with my family with free tickets, and we went in with no great expectations. Overall we had an alright time — probably the least-good NY food event we’ve been to, but we didn’t regret going or anything — and we left once all the lines got long and realized we were passing up opportunities to visit favorite places in that part of Brooklyn if we stayed any longer. Bark Hot Dogs set us up with Sixpoint on tap about 5 minutes after walking through their front door. 😉
Agreed total shit show
We went on Sunday and I think the trick was to go right when it opened. We got there at 11a, left by 2:30p and spent about 1/2 the time in Extra Googa and 1/2 the time on a blanket under a tree w/ friends by the main stage. We didn’t really end up waiting on any long lines while we were there but I saw the lines really start to pick up as we were leaving. I also heard that they had added lots of staff and changed some procedures for Sunday based on Saturday feedback.
my guess is a lot less people came out on sunday too after hearing the horror stories. i’d find it hard to believe that the food vendors enjoyed themselves…
I don’t know anything about the ExtraMooga side, but for regular admission yes the crowds were a bit lighter on Sunday, but what made all the difference for food lines were that some of the popular vendors came in with a much better gameplan, up to double the staff and improved logistics. Some lines were still long, sure, but there was never going to be a way around that. It’s not like it’s hard to find a lobster roll in this city anyway.The overall mood was much better thanks to about 20% that and 80% the improved/eliminated alcohol lines.
My husband and I went to the free side on Saturday early afternoon. Waited in line to get in for about 1/2 hour — that was OK, then found out I had to wait in line to get an ID check bracelet to buy a beer. I was in that line over a half hour before I found out they ran out of ID bracelets. Finally scored some bracelets off-line from a staff worker and headed for the beer tent — where there were no lines. But wait, they did not take cash or credit and I was directed to yet another huge line for those. I asked someone 50 people from the front how long he had been in line, he said over an hour and a half!! We promptly left without spending a dime.
It sounds like for the money you spent you could have had a trip to Asia and really indulged in some awesome street food! What a shame that it was so bad because I had high hopes for it…Glad I missed it:) They can always get it right next year.
Please, do tell where you can find $250 round trip tickets from NYC to Asia….
excellent recap of the event. I was there and the lines were HORRIBLE. We made a good choice of eating at Red Rooster (the portions were large and the prices were nice). I felt terribly for the folks waiting over an hour for one bite…
Yikes. I just assumed that everyone in the Extra Mooga VIP land were being treated like gods. What a huge bummer to hear that it was so poorly run.On the free side of the Googa Mooga, though, it was an enjoyable festival experience on Saturday. Yeah, lines were a little crazed –the line for Luke’s Lobster Rolls was at least 90 minutes– but there were plenty of good vibes to be had if you had patience and a willingness to just go with the flow. There were too many antsy Manhattanites running around though, people who are used to getting EXACTLY what they want EXACTLY when they want it. That’s not what fests are all about, as anyone who’s ever been to Bonnaroo or Coachella would attest. I look forward to next year, when they get the kinks worked out and book more/better bands.
Don’t blame the people. Definitely don’t blame the NY culture. Waiting upwards to 2 hours for tiny portions at inflated prices is gross misconduct by the management. Reminds me of 1999 Woodstock.
If you waited 2 hours for anything, that’s on you. Maybe try picking a shorter line next time?
There were no shorter lines. I had Extra Mooga tickets and I was “lucky” because my lines were 30 minutes instead of 90. The difference between food festivals (I’ve been to many) and music festivals, like Jazz Fest or Bonnaroo is that the experience is more passive for music. You can listen or not listen or sit here or sit there. With food, you’re either eating or you’re not. You’re lucky if your lines were short, but by 3pm on the general admission site, most lines were 60 minutes long. So you stand in line for an hour to get a bite and then, what, stand in line for another hour? If I wanted to stand in line, I’d do that at the grocery store.SXSW has a good model… you have general admission ticket, and yes you stand in line, but everything is broken down into mini experiences rather than individual vendors. I left extra mooga hungry and annoyed.
Music changes the entire dynamic when it is the main focus.
Completely agree – that’s why I think the comparisons to things like Jazz Fest are moot because it’s completely different. There’s a reason most food festivals have a similar model (Aspen, South Beach, NY) – because it works. BTW, the people that put on Googa Mooga also do Bonnaroo, so I’m guessing they’re following the music model which doesn’t work. Better hope for the future, I guess.
Not to mention the fact that the vendors had no excuse for running out of food by early afternoon. Fine, you run out by evening – I get it. But festival organizes should’ve set expectations for how many people were going to be there. And to your point about lines, the festival ended at 11pm and my friend got into the general admission ENTRY line at 3:30 (pretty reasonable for an all day fest) and stood for more than an hour, moved about 5 feet in line, and left. Fine, the tickets were free, but crowd management and clear signage was a major FLOP.
I am pretty confident that they will learn from this. They group behind this put on Bonaroo every year. I believe that they will do the attendees right and come back from this….
So you’ll be shelling out another $250 a head next year?While you’re at it, I have a bridge to sell you…
That is totally ridiculous. Ever been Jazz Fest you moron? Lines run smoothly with 110,000 people there. And no waiting.
I have never been to Jazz Fest because jazz sucks, but I have been to virtually every other festival here in the U.S. On Saturday, I waited 25 minutes for my Maharlika dog and earcorn. I waited in line for beers twice; once took 10 minutes, the other time took about 12. I was fine with both waits.
“Jazz sucks.” You flaunt your ignorance as a badge of honor. Blaming Manhattanites – funny. I bet you’re not from around here…
Fyi. Jazz is a small part of Jazzzfest. An event going to at least once in your life
You are out of your mind.
I went to Smorgasburg for free, and had some great food for a decent price without waiting in line for more than 10 minutes. The end.
Seriously, if this event were even half as good as Smorgasburg is on a regular basis, there likely would be no complaints.
As a restaurant startup I considered doing GoogaMooga, a friend had recommended that we vend there many months ago. We looked at the organizers site (and history), looked at the lined up chefs(most established), the estimates on ticket sales, and we knew it would require massive staffing and massive prep. I’d love to see an investigative piece done on this event. From how they secured the venue, all costs financed by taxpayers, and what it made/cost the vendors and organizers. Of course, that would probably prevent it from ever happening again.
We went in late Saturday (around 4), looked around, saw lines for everything, and decided to get some beer and wine before settling back to enjoy the music. Got online at the one nearest the ExtraMooga entrance, waited about a half an hour before realizing we needed ID bracelets. Took turns getting those while the other person continued to stand in line. When we got to the front of the line (after an hour, we spent all of Holy Ghost’s set in line), I asked for wine and was told “we’ve never had the glasses for wine.” I had no idea that they wouldn’t have them, as wine was listed on their menu, and had not been told we had to go elsewhere to get the glasses. Most of their beer was kicked, so we settled for two Empire and two Woodchuck each (I saw people leaving with more than two a piece, because the line was so long it was either get multiples or get right back in line while you were still drinking). By this point the very thought of getting in another line was painful, so we finished our drinks and left.The music was great. The information distribution (like about needing ID bracelets, about some booths not having wine glasses)? Not so much. The lines? Horrible, and places were out of food by the time we got there. Had free tickets for Sunday as well and skipped it. Just not worth the hassle. I hope they get their acts together by next year, but I’d be afraid to go again.
I went both days for free! Sat I got there late around 4pm, quickly navigated the problems, saw massive lines but refused to line up in any. I was soon tasting wine and eating bacon. A few places were out but not that many. Sunday was much more mellow, tried 5 or 6 different restaurants waiting about 10min each time. Overall though it seemed over-priced. I spent $172 over 2 days, not quite the $250 for the extra. I worked it all out on a posting on my website, you can link through twitter.
I went on Sunday on the “free” side, and the lines were somewhat bearable, but still long. Heard it was a *lot* worse on Saturday, and I can only imagine what a shit show it must have been. Even on Sun, half the booths ran out of food by 4pm. You would think they would have learned from the previous day if it was that bad.Thankfully Hall and Oates was great, and the weather was lovely. So, I had fun, but I expect more from folks that, apparently, also organize Bonnaroo?Hope you got the refund you deserved.
sounds horrific. i’d be so pissed. call amex and dispute the charges. shame on them.
I just came across this on eater (http://ny.eater.com/archive… and thought I’d re-post it here on the off chance you did not see it yet. Anyway, I whole heartedly agree with your assessment of the event. It lived up to all of my fears and none of my hopes.
http://www.googamooga.com/a…Apparently they’re refunding ALL of the Extra-Mooga ticket buyers. It was a shit show (I was at the free section on Saturday) but at least they’re trying to make it right.
huge credit to them for doing the right thing. i give them huge kudos.
Superfly has apologized and offered 100% refunds on Extra Mooga http://gothamist.com/2012/0…
The Sheeple beiing led into paying $250 for a Beer and two bites of a Burger is hilarious. Next Year I am going to throw a foodie festival and charge the Sheeples for the privaledge of getting 2 bits and a glass of wine. I am gonna be rich.
Concluding your piece about Googa Mooga by complaining about weekend subway schedules and the service at some fancy restaurant is so silly that I find myself actually compelled to comment. This is the whiniest blog I’ve ever read.