Learning from the Great Googa Mooga festival
Last year, the new Great Googa Mooga festival brought 75 top restaurants and more than a dozen bands to Prospect Park. Yet all anyone remembers is what went wrong: long lines, bad cell service and a shortage of food. By the second day of the two-day fest, most of the problems had been resolved. This year, the organizers are promising a smoother — and bigger — experience. The 2013 edition includes more eateries, brewers and winemakers, a VIP cocktail area and a Friday night kickoff concert with Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Flaming Lips.
amNY spoke with Jonathan Mayers, co-founder of event producer Superfly Presents, about the festival.
What will be different about this year’s Googa Mooga? We learned a lot from last year and listened to all the feedback, starting with improvements in dealing with lines and food volume. We reconfigured the layout and will have better line management.
Were you surprised by the criticism last year? Anytime you try to do something innovative that hasn’t been done before, there’s going to be a learning curve. We also produce Bonnaroo and Outside Lands [music festivals], and in the early years we had a learning curve with them too. Every year, we’re going to improve.
How can you fix the lines? It’s a matter of working closely with the restaurants on what to serve — one item at one size and one price as opposed to a lot of options. Each vendor will also have three points of sale instead of one. We’re also consulting with each restaurant in terms of what to prepare.
How do you pick the restaurants? It’s subjective. We start with restaurants that are in line with how we present the Googa Mooga brand. There’s spirit of being innovative, an authenticity and a personality. There are endless great restaurants to choose from. Every year, we see it changing slightly.
The Great Googa Mooga is Friday through Sunday at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. $54.50 for Friday night kickoff concert; Saturday and Sunday are sold out.
Local musicians come out for fest
This year’s music lineup at Googa Mooga is filled with local acts, including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, De La Soul and Sharon Van Etten, who lives in Ditmas Park, just south of the festival’s Prospect Park location.
amNewYork spoke with Van Etten.
How does Brooklyn influence your music? Most people that move here come with a purpose. Being around people who are so motivated is inspiring. In a small town, you don’t get that.
Are you surprised at how people relate to your songs? I am surprised, but I don’t think I’d be playing music for people if they didn’t respond to it. … I do have an insecurity about sharing my deepest thoughts.
How do you get past that? Having the support of friends and family and hearing stories of how it helped people. Or when a father and daughter come to a show and say, “Finally, some new music we can both listen to.”