GoogaMooga’s Food Frenzy

The second day of a food festival in Brooklyn was a success. The first day, not so much.

It’s not the first time a fest like this had a rough start. But The Great GoogaMooga, promoted by Superfly – which also promotes Bonnaroo and Outside Lands – ran a bit short of supplies around 3 p.m. May 19. Organizers tweeted as much.

“Working on wine & beer technical issues – Take in the good friends, great food, music & the weather for now – Thank u for ur patience!” was sent from the official Twitter account.

The event, which included a music component, wound up with some positive feedback (“I give day 2 of the Googa a big thumbs up!”), and an attention-grabbing moment when celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain explained how he’d cook a unicorn. Still, on Saturday when the lines grew long and the food grew short, writers and critics took to the Twitter-verse with some assessments.

Seventeen editor Kim Tranell tweeted, “Googa Mooga – The Hunger Games. I’d stab someone for something edible right now.”

’s Kat Kinsman tweeted, “Googacame, Googasaw, Googalines & Googabailed.” Another attendee tweeted, “Highlight of [GoogaMooga] was the girl puking at the entrance. That and leaving.”

Ottavia Bourdain – wife of Anthony – was vocal about the bathroom lines: “I peed in a cup.”

Finally, Gothamist weighed in with an article titled “$250 VIP GoogaMooga Tickets: You Would’ve Gotten More Full Eating The Money.” The article noted a panel discussion that included “Parks & Recreation” cast member / comedian Aziz Ansari.

“But it probably should have been called: ‘Watch celebrities eat food that you can’t have,’” the article said.

These things happen. In 2009, Jim Lewi organized the Great American Food & Music Fest at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in California, including a cashless system using wireless wristbands. That system failed as the doors opened, and so did the backup system. About 10,000 people were turned away at the gate.

“Because I was out front, taking care of customer service, I was punched, spit on twice, three different people cried on my shoulder, an old lady shook her cane at me,” Lewi told Pollstar.

A representative for Superfly did not respond to a request for comment at press time, but organizers posted the following on the festival’s website:

“A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the inaugural Great GoogaMooga so special: all of the food & drink vendors, our excellent staff & volunteers, the amazing musicians & chefs, the park & Mother Nature for the unparalleled weather and most importantly, all of you fans!

“And to those who had a frustrating experience on Saturday – we are sorry. We truly regret the first year glitches and really appreciate your patience as we worked to smooth them out. As with all our festivals, creating and providing an enjoyable experience for everyone is the driving force behind all that we do, and a responsibility we take very seriously.”