Published May 24, 2012
With a name like Googa Mooga, you better hope you didn’t just sign up for a Nickelodeon slime fest. But you won’t find gooey green gunk in the definition for Googa Mooga. Coined from an old Lee Dorsey record, the real meaning of Googa Mooga means something fun and awesome.
Googa Mooga is the first food, drink and music festival ever to take over Brooklyn’s historic Prospect Park. The triple threat festival drew in around 40,000 hungry patrons this past weekend, hosting 75 food vendors, 35 brewers, 30 winemakers and 20 live music performances. Although the free general admission tickets sold out quickly, $250 all-inclusive Extra Googa Mooga tickets were still available to purchase on its opening day.
The event had all the trappings to be a major success. It was planned by Superfly Productions, the same organizers who put on the famous Bonnaroo festival in San Francisco. “We follow our interests and passions, which is good food, good wine and beer and good music,” Jonathan Myers co-founder of Superfly told FoxNews.com. “So what better place to do that than in the food culinary capital of the world,” he said.
Lined up with high-profile chefs and musical performances by legendary bands like Daryl Hall & John Oates, it’s no wonder the beautiful wooded park was busting at the seams with people.
“I don’t think there’s a city on Earth where you have more choices and higher quality food than New York City,” John Oates told FoxNews.com.
Nationally acclaimed chefs like Andrew Bourdain, Tom Colicchio and Eddie Huang collaborated with the event organizers to make sure Googa Mooga presented some of New York’s very best restaurants. “I wanted to choose off-the beaten-path restaurants. I was looking for things people haven’t had before because that’s what I think festivals are to suppose to be. It’s the places you may not go out of the way for,” Eddie Huang told FoxNews.com.
Gifted by perfect sunny weather, eager Googa Moogers anxiously waited in line at the food vendors…and waited…and waited. Yes, the lines were long. “It was easy to get drinks but tough to get food,” Kipp Davis an extra Mooga ticket holder who waited 2 hours for food said, “I’m eating a hatch burger from Umami Burger, it’s very good, once I got food it was very delicious,” Davis added.
Brooklyn resident and actor David Cross biked to Prospect Park with his girlfriend film and TV star Amber Tamblyn. Although he didn’t believe the $500 he spent on two tickets was worth it, he was impressed by one dish. “The lamb rib was f*** fantastic. My girlfriend and I were sitting there commenting on how disappointing this is but then that lamb thing came around and we were like Oh-OK that kind of balances it out, that’s a good $150 bucks worth in the balancing act, it was excellent,” Cross told FoxNews.com.
New York newbie and former star of ABC‘s ‘Bachelorette’, Ali Fedotowsky was also in attendance and gushed about the food and the beautiful backdrop. “ I can’t believe that here at this festival we are in New York City, I feel like I’m out in the middle of the boondocks in Massachusetts where I grew up,” Fedotowsky said. “I think the food that I have tasted so far has been phenomenal, there was this sausage dish that had a million different ingredients in it and this citrus flavor that I just loved.”
Vendors Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli of Brooklyn’s Frankie’s 457 Spuntino restaurant were also impressed by the festivals prime location. “We were drawn to the fact that someone was taking over Prospect Park. It’s one of the epic venues in New York. You have David Rockwell designing it and you have the city of New York saying go for it, it’s pretty unique to have something of this scale in our backyard in Brooklyn,” the renowned New York chefs told FoxNews.com.
The festival didn’t shy away from entertainment either, inviting their guests to culinary seminars like April Bloomfield’s “A Girl and her Pig”, a pork carving demo, themed parties like “The Monkey Bar Goes Bananas” hosted by NY’s The Monkey bar that featured real life monkeys greeting guests, comedy shows like “Noshing with Aziz Ansari and James Murphy” and of course beer and wine tastings.
Mark Snyder, a native Brooklynite and owner of the popular wine producer, Red Hook encouraged the festivals more amateur wine drinkers to just come and see what they like. “I think it’s really important to not overly complicate or make wine a stuffy thing. It is the drink of the people,” Snyder told FoxNews.com.
Wine was definitely not considered a “stuffy” thing at Googa Mooga. I passed one patron grinning from ear to ear after a vendor filled his regular tall glass with wine to cut down their long line of thirsty attendees.
A stampede of impatient and parched Extra Mooga ticket holders rushed into a tent where a “Speed wine tasting” event was taking place. Dominc Rivano a self-described wine enthusiast attended the tasting. “I like the concept of the 8 minutes at one country’s station and then you move on to the next to taste another set of four wines from that region,” he said.
As the sun went down below the trees, whether your tummy was full or not, at the end of the day you couldn’t ask for a better finale with performance by The Roots and Daryl Hall & John Oates.
“The Roots were terrific. I’ve seen them a bunch of times in different concert settings and it seemed liked they tailored their show a bit to the mixed crowd they had at Googa Mooga,” Chris Hayes from New Jersey said. “People seemed really into it, it was a great way to close the day on a high note,” he added.