Massive two-day food and music fest The Great GoogaMooga took over Prospect Park this past weekend. On Saturday, there were hundreds-deep lines for food, and tech problems with the cashless system for paying for beer and wine. Also, several vendors ran out of food and drinks around 3 p.m., which angered a lot of attendees. Sunday was a smoother operation — there were smaller lines for vendors, and less food shortages. But still, a lot of attendees are calling GoogaMooga a shitshow, clusterfuck, train wreck, goat rodeo, and worse.
Now Eater hears from a source close to Superfly (the organizers of the fest), that the failure of GoogaMooga year one isn't a huge concern. Although they probably lost a lot of money this weekend, this is basically an investment in their future. In other words, GoogaMooga will most likely return next year.
Here's a look at what went wrong:
There is no excuse for the food and beverages shortages that occurred on Saturday. Superfly knew exactly how many people were coming, because this was a ticketed event. Some people are estimating that 30,000 people actually attended the event this weekend (40,000 tickets were sold, total), so that's about 15,000 people each day trying to get food from 75 vendor stands. Those numbers don't work out.
The premium "ExtraGooga" experience, was also a huge misfire. As Ryan Sutton points out, the $250 price is more than a tasting menu (with pairings), at Jean Georges, Corton, or wd~50. Eater hears that only about 1000 people actually bought tickets to this. Joanne Wilson describes the scene on day one:
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.Apparently, an actual fight broke out on Saturday in the Blue Ribbon fried chicken ExtraMooga tent.
The shadiest part of this whole operation is that, as Ms. Wilson points out, this was not a charity fundraiser. This was a for-profit event. As A.O. Scott notes, Superfly was essentially using a public space to make money for themselves:
With ExtraMooga, Superfly also took a public space and privatized it for profit. This could be the issue that people nail them on in the future.
Superfly's PR team acknowledges the problems in a press release this morning:
We hope you had a great time and also want to personally apologize for any frustrations you may have experienced, whether checking in or waiting in line.Apparently, Superfly has a history of screwing up the first day, and smoothing things out the second or third days of new events. Attendees at the first ever Outside Lands fest (which they also organized), said the same thing back in 2008. It's also worth noting that Superfly doesn't manage Outside Lands and Bonnaroo all by themselves, they have some help. GoogaMooga, however, was a solo project.
Between the usual kinks that come with the first year and the demand for food exceeding all expectations, there are, as you well know, a lot of areas that can be improved upon. But also there was much that went very right in this unprecedented food, drink and music collaboration!
[One of several hilarious Tweets from Frank Falcinelli]
Also, let's not forget that the music lineup sucked.
· All Coverage of The Great GoogaMooga [~ENY~]