Well, year two was a bit of a bust. The Great GoogaMooga Festival returned to Prospect Park last weekend, and it will most likely be best remembered for something that didn’t happen: day three. Even though tickets said "rain or shine," the Parks Department pulled the plug due to rain, and it made a lot of people really unhappy: the folks who stood in the rain waiting unsuccessfully to get in, the others who saved drink tickets with plans to come back, and, most of all, the vendors, who on average lost around $10,000 each. Last year, many of the same vendors ran out of food, resulting in epically long lines.
It’s unfortunate that the negatives are what GoogaMooga will most likely be best remembered for, because there were also a lot of really great aspects, and for that reason we implore Superfly, the event’s organizers, to not give up hope. Come back next year, because it’ll be the best one yet.
As with most big productions, the first year was a learning experience. Vendors ran out of food and offered so many options that lines were unbearably long, so this year they were told to bring more portions and only serve one option. For that reason, on Saturday this year the lines were much more manageable. Last year’s drink card system was a total bust, so this year they sold drink tickets instead, which were easy to buy and are refundable. Last year’s ExtraMooga was a complete failure, so this year’s VIP ticket afforded access to an awesome cocktail party. The problems from last year were fixed going into this year, and it was going off remarkably hitch-free. Until it rained.
Many of the event’s detractors are pointing to the fact that most of these restaurants are already in New York, and the fact that Smorgasburg exists, as the prime reason why GoogaMooga is unnecessary. But what about the music? What about the seminars held by some of the country’s leading culinary minds? What about the fact that thousands of people have come together to enjoy this beautiful park, food from the city’s best restaurants (and, in many cases, the opportunities to meet these restaurants’ chefs and owners), music from truly great bands, and each other’s company? Superfly didn’t just plop all these things down in the middle of Brooklyn and call it a day. They created what some might consider to be a utopia of food, drink, music, sun, and grass.
Next year, should Superfly decide to return to Prospect Park, they’ll keep improving. They’ll most likely have a better contingency plan in place if it rains, or at least do a better job of managing expectations and communicating with ticket-holders and vendors. They’ll make sure that unsold food doesn’t go to waste, and they’ll make even more tweaks to better improve the experience. And while taking over a portion of a public park will make some people unhappy, it happens all the time, but you don’t hear similar complaints when there’s a concert in Central Park’s Great Lawn. It’s a big park, and there’s more than enough room for everyone.
Superfly, give it another shot next year. It’s been proven that you learn from mistakes, and year three will be better than ever.