I GoogleMooga’d. I stepped up Extra Mooga’d. I surprisingly found out I had a Press Pass just the day before Googa. How much Mooga can I Googa?

For those who don’t know, GoogaMooga (un-related to Google) was this weekend’s big food-centric festival in Prospect Park, Brookyn. Free General Admission tickets went quick and were tough to get. I didn’t get through. Todd gave me one of his four passes.

Being a food blogger, I figured I should pony up and get the premium Extra Mooga tickets ($250 plus $17 fee, but luckily I found one for $200 on Craigslist). Extra Mooga gets you VIP access to a whole nother world behind the main stage, filled with star-studded (Anthony Bourdain, Aziz Ansari, James Murphy DJing, etc) events and all you can eat and drink beer, wine and cocktails. They didn’t sell out on these premium passes. Maybe that was a good thing because of the scarcity of food, as you’ll find out later.

The last minute Press Pass allowed me to bring a nice DSLR camera and access to the press pit, which was cool for band photos. A little confusion at first when I checked in. Security was telling me that I had to be escorted. I thought that was really weird, since I also paid for the Extra Mooga. Luckily, he was misinformed. That would have been crazy if someone had to walk me around the whole day and watch me eat.

GoogaMooga felt pretty tame this Saturday early in the day (around 11am). Vendor lines were long though …especially for the Googa Moula (Beer Ticket) tent, whereas the actual beer tent was empty. Crowds and the lines surely got big as the day went on.

I headed straight to Extra Mooga. So much alcohol –cocktail, wine and beer booths. The only problem was that I couldn’t find food to eat. Either the lines were long or the food was running out. When I was looking at the awesome Extra Mooga schedule, I just assumed that each event had food to eat. But it wasn’t until I was there, that I realized Marc Maron and Aziz Ansari weren’t going to cook food for me. And that whole pig that April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig) was butchering was raw. I thought I was going to be eating it.

Lines were the theme of the day. There was a continuously long line for Umami Burger. I stood in line for the John Dory Oysters, but they stopped me midway for an Oyster Shucking Contest. There were four other food booths for us Extra folks (Colicchio & Friends, Tertulia, Porchetta, Mile End). But I’d stand in one line and half way through, they’d run out of food. Then I’d have to move to the next line and try again.

I joked with a guy behind me, “How you do get food at this food festival?” I don’t know if that incited him, but he turned to a kid in a staff uniform and started yelling at him. “Hey, can you tell me how we’re supposed to fuckin get food here?” The festival guy said he was just a volunteer. And the guy yelled back, “I don’t fuckin care who you are. You go find me who’s in charge and ask them why we paid $300 to come here and there isn’t any fuckin food.” The young volunteer said, “Okay” and walked away. I feel bad for the volunteer kid because that might have been my fault, but I guess that asshole had a point.

I did eventually get some food. A few spoons of rice. A nugget of meat. I know I was up at the front of the booths taking photos, and maybe I was too drunk to realize that I was never in line. It’s funny. I don’t remember being in those lines, but I remember grabbing the plate of food. Not a whole lot of food, but I probably ate a lot more than I realized. I just know I drank a ton.

Everyone was just wasted in Extra Mooga –from attendees to the guest speakers. Little food and lots of alcohol will do that. I figured Anthony Bourdain would be a drunk on stage, but it was surprising to see Garrett Oliver (Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster) seemingly in a such a stupor so early in the day. And he had a second lecture/tasting to do right after. I thought his tolerance would be higher.

What kind of people would spend $250 for Extra Mooga? I was thinking it would have been all socialites and celebrities. But no, they were pretty much the same folk in General Admission. No one in tuxedos. I ran into people I knew and I just know that they’re foodies or part of the food world (Food Film Festival, promoters, food bloggers). It made sense that they were willing to spend extra for the Extra. But as far as people, they were no different.

Although, I did end up feeling weird with the Press Pass. I paid for the Extra and wanted to party and look cool like everyone else back there. But because I had a camera on me, people were asking who I was shooting for. It made me feel like I was working and more importantly, working for someone else. I lost all the cache of wearing the red Extra VIP wristband. It’s like my white shiny Versace shoes that don’t say Versace on them. How will be people know?

Extra Mooga did have nice restroom trailers. I have big issues with public restrooms and this might have been worth the price of admission.

I saw a girl digging through the trash and putting it into the appropriate Trash/Recycle/Compost. I first thought she was a paying customer and was just very environmentally conscious. She was actually a volunteer. Apparently, the plastic beer cups are made out of corn and are compostable. That’s confusing.

I ventured out with the common folk in General Admission a few times. A lot of people having fun, if they weren’t paying attention to the lines they were in. I saw some good food, like the grilled lobster from Lobster Place. I was jealous.

This Saturday, my friends told me it was a shit-show in Gen Admin. Hour-long lines. And like I mentioned earlier, the beer ticket/cards lines were insane. (On Sunday, Brooklyn Based reported that the beer tents were now accepting cash and lines were much shorter. I’m glad they made the adjustment. But I wonder if there are just less people because of the bad feedback on Twitter/Facebook. The power of the Internet.)

How much Extra Mooga could I do? I never stayed for a full event. There was just too much stuff going on all at once. I was in a drunken disarray. I wonder if I would have been happier with less Mooga. More choices didn’t make me happier. It made me feel the need to jump around constantly.

I remember I was in a drunken rant about how I didn’t know why I was listening to people talk about stuff (i.e. Anthony Bourdain’s Q&A) when I could just be partying and talking to people myself. There was a point in the third song of The Roots when I was spacing out and realizing I should head back into Extra Mooga and start partying. Nothing against those guys. A lot of people came to see them and they are exciting. But I just figured, I could be partying, drinking and maybe finally find something to eat.

Silent Disco was so much fun. A DJ spinning tunes into wireless headphones. From an outsider, it’s looks funny seeing people dancing to silence. I have a video, but I don’t think the people in it would appreciate me posting it. That was partying.

While James Murphy was closing the night in another DJ dance party, I walked over to see if there was any food. A bit of a line. Then all of a sudden, everyone disappeared (maybe they were told the food was gone). A few seconds later, around 30 plates of pork come out and no one was around. That was the darndest thing. Once there’s finally food, there’s no line. And then a few people walked up, but they said they didn’t eat pork.

Even with the scarcity of Extra food (Too much Googa, not enough Mooga), I still had a great time. It was a beautiful day. I ran into friends and made plenty of new ones. I don’t think much about how much I spent. The amount of free flowing alcohol helps me forget.

GoogaMooga – http://www.googamooga.com

About The Author

Jason Lam

Food blogger since 2008. Hair model since 2003.

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