The second and final day of GoogaMooga was today, and things went much more smoothly than yesterday. I’d say that overall, the event was a success, and hopefully the organizers take what they learned from this year’s festivities and make next year’s even better.
First, a minor disappointment. GoogaMooga was divided into two sections. There was the free area, which was for people who RSVP’d for a free ticket. This is where most of the action was. However, you could opt to upgrade to a VIP and get “ExtraMooga”, a $250 premium to get you all-inclusive food and drink, prime viewing for concerts, and access to special events and meet/greets in a VIP section completely separated from the common area. As press, I never expected free food or drink. All I expected was access. Well, access did not include the ExtraMooga area at any time during the festival. So, that meant no Anthony Bourdain, and no Aziz Ansari, which I was really looking forward to. One photographer was so angry that he walked out of the press tent before the first conference, never to be seen again. I’ll admit that I was disappointed, but it was nothing worth leaving over. Now, with that out of the way, on to the festival.
Day one was a shaky start. The aforementioned press conference began 40 minutes late. Some places ran out of food entirely too soon. There were shortages on water and other refreshments. Worst of all, they decided to employ a “GoogaMoola” money card for the wine and beer areas. You had to put money on the card, and then use the card to get wine/beer, while every food vendor took cash. There’s an episode of The Simpsons where the family goes to Itchy & Scratchy Land, and Homer buys a bunch of Itchy & Scratchy dollars, only to find that none of the shops in the park accept the currency. Well, that’s what it was like having GoogaMoola. The cards weren’t working, and customers were of course upset. It was nice to see them accepting cash today.
The lines were incredibly long, too. This, however, is par for the course, and I honestly don’t consider it a complaint. I spoke with someone from Vinegar Hill House (amazing soft shell crab sandwich, by the way) who explained their idea very simply: serve food that’s easy to put together and easy to carry. I think that’s the correct way to go. I know there are a ton of vendors, and everyone wants to show their best, but it’s a food festival. You’re going to have hoards of people clamoring for your food, and you need to move through your customers as quickly as you can. It looks like that was alleviated today as well, considering the lines were considerably shorter today, and moved more smoothly, for the most part.
Music was great all around. There were two stages, and the performances alternated between stages. I was slightly disappointed today when some “ExtraMooga” guests were put into the already crowded photo pit. This kinda rubbed salt in the earlier wound of not being able to get into the VIP area to shoot, but I suppose money talks.
I know it sounds like this may not have been the most fun event, but it really was. With so many people, everyone was very civil to each other and it seems like most people were having a good time. The food was delicious, the performances were excellent, and the weather was picture perfect. I was running around shooting, but I felt like I was on vacation. It was an excellent departure from the busy nature of the city.
Superfly (the organizers of the event) didn’t do everything perfectly, but no one does. I think that they handled their snags very well, especially for the first run. It was a great time.
I also have to say that the chefs in attendance were very friendly and approachable, or in some cases, I was the approachable one. Marcus Samuelsson walked right up and introduced himself, for instance.
I’ll have one more photoset after this. I hope you enjoy it!
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- lunasteiner said: You had me at soft shell crab sandwich. ;D
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