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« [FiPS Was There]: 3 Writers Re-Cap Their GoogaMooga Weekend | Main | WE'VE ALL SEEN THIS SHIT: PARK SLOPE SCENES (BY STEVEN WEINBERG) »
Monday
May212012

GOOGAMOOGA: WHAT WENT WRONG (AND WHAT WENT RIGHT)

Okaaaaaaaay, everyone.  Googamooga is over, and the consensus (at least on the #googamooga Twitter feed, which is hilarious, by the way) is that it was a giant clusterfuck.  But now that we've all had some time to survey our weird sunburns and bank accounts, let's analyze what actually happened, shall we?  

It seems like I was one of the few people that actually had a good time at Googamooga, which is crazy, because I'm incredibly impatient, I don't like crowds, and I hate typically outdoor festivals (I almost tried to hang myself at All Points West).  

So, in the interest of providing some context (and because I can only speak to a small, three-hour window of the festival), here's what we did: our group showed up around noon on Saturday, and after surveying the long lines for 21+ badges and GoogaMoula, decided to skip the booze (we got cheaper drinks in a more relaxed atmosphere at a bar after we left).  We also decided to stick together, so we didn't have the drama of trying to meet up without cell service.  As the crowds were getting larger, we ducked out around 3:00.

And while I had a surprisingly positive experience, it was obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes that Googamooga fucked up a lot of basic stuff that resulted in shitty experiences for those who attended.

But first, the good stuff. 

WHAT GOOGAMOOGA DID RIGHT: 

The General Concept: The reason why Googamooga was started in the first place is because it's generally accepted that if you're going to a music festival, the food is going to suck. You're going to eat a basket full of soggy fries just because you need to eat something before you pass out.  So, Googamooga was able to get a ton of great food vendors together (Collichio & Sons, Red Rooster, Jean-Georges, etc) in the spirit of eating good food while being in a festival environment.

The Layout: I've been to a lot of food festivals, and typically, you almost never find a spot that you can actually eat without feeling like you're constantly in the way. While Googamooga was extremely crowded, aside from the lines, there were a decent amount of spots to stand and be able to eat and breathe comfortably. The addition of the big bar-height tables helped as well.

Photo via Eric Isaac (food.ericisaac.com)

Design: Googamooga obviously paid attention to the design of the festival. The vendor's stalls were well-designed and I loved how the beer and wine tents were set up.

App: Most festivals jump on the App train just because they feel like they should have one, and 75% of the time, it serves absolutely no purpose. I actually found Googmooga's App to be really helpful. It allowed you to sort through all of the vendors on-site so you could decide who you wanted to visit, and who you wanted to skip. And, perhaps most importantly, you could see what each vendor was serving and what the price was. So, for example, you could observe the incredibly line for Little Muenster, look on the App, see that they were charging $12 for a goddamned grilled cheese, and high tail it right on out of there.

And now, the bad. 

WHAT GOOGAMOOGA DID WRONG: 

Lack of Signage: Googamooga made the mistake of assuming that everyone knows the ins and outs of Prospect Park. I could fall down outside of my apartment and be in the park and I still don't know where the hell the Nederlthagdfjbkder Meadow is. And there was no signage within the park telling you how to get there. Yes, we were able to find it without incident because we followed the crowds of white people, but it's common sense to have the logistics covered and throw up some signs. Even more mind-boggling was the lack of signage when you got inside.

No Information About WIFI: Sure, it was super unfortunate that there was no service inside Googamooga. It made trying to divide and conquer or meet up with people virtually impossible. That said, that wasn't Googamooga's fault. What WAS Googamooga's fault was the fact that they didn't let anyone know about the WIFI available in there. There would have been a hell of a lot more nasty tweets being sent out into the ether, but people would have been able to meet up with their friends, which would have helped ease the general sense of things being fucked up and confusing. 

Photo via Eric Isaac (food.ericisaac.com)

Access to Booze: The most dangerous thing you can ever do is prevent a bunch of drunks access to their alcohol.  I said it before, I'll say it again: I'm pretty sure the only reason I walked away from Googamooga with a positive experience was that we decided to avoid the booze altogether. On Saturday, you couldn't pay cash for any alcohol, so you had to get Googamoula in order to get beer or wine from the tents.  Yes, there were long lines for the food, but the lines for Googamoula and Over 21 wristbands had to be three times as long. Early in the day, the beer and wine tents were totally empty because everyone was waiting in line for the wristband and the Googamoula.  This is probably the worst decision the festival organizers made, and although they switched everything over to a cash bar on Sunday, that didn't help the poor assholes who only had Saturday tickets, did it?

Explaining What the Fuck ExtraMooga Is: From the beginning, Googamooga's communication was awful. Why was I being given 4 tickets when I only wanted 2? And what the fuck is this thing?  I, along with most other people, had no idea what ExtraMooga was except that it was $250 and there was no way we were going to pay that.  All of the seminars with the chefs were restricted to ExtraMooga only.  If that had been more clear, I'm sure they would have sold a lot more ExtraMooga tickets.

Vendors Weren't Prepared for Volume: The New York Times said that Googamooga was anticipating 40,000 attendees.  Newsflash to vendors: that means you're probably going to sell a shit ton of food.  I was leaving at 3pm on Saturday and some vendors were already completely out, and they still had five more hours in the day to go.  When you're blling yourself as an "amusement park of food and drink," you can't be running out of shit so early in the day. 

What did you guys think?  What was good?  What was bad?  Did you have a good time?  Did you have a shitty time and cry all the way home?

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