New York – On May 19 & 20, Brooklyn’s beautiful Prospect Park played host to tens of thousands of food, beer, wine, and music enthusiasts at the first ever Great Googa Mooga Festival. The festival did a wonderful job of advertising for its inaugural year with massive photos of recognizable personalities decorating subway stations all across the city; chef Tom Colicchio of Top Chef, brewmaster Garrett Oliver of the Brooklyn Brewery, and Paul Grieco, sommelier/co-owner of Terroir & Hearth.
While it was clear through the advertising that the festival was intended to bring together lovers of all things good – food, beer, wine, and music – what was not clear (and was perhaps the most endearing part of the festival) was the focus on responsible, sustainable business practices. During a press conference, organizers and sponsors of the festival explained the importance of spreading awareness about limiting businesses’ carbon footprints. An interesting development that was touched upon was the introduction of wine kegs by winemaker Bruce Schneider’s Gotham Project to limit the wastage of glass post-consumption. Chefs Robert Newton (Seersucker) and Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen) discussed the importance of developing ongoing relationships with the local farmers who deliver fresh goods to their restaurants and being able to ensure not only that the food is stamped ‘certified organic,’ but more importantly, that it is safe for their customers to consume.
With over 70 vendors in attendance, festival revelers were provided the opportunity to taste foods from some of the best restaurants in New York City. While we at Tipsy Diaries were only able to try a few of the vendors (our stomachs just aren’t that big), our ultimate Tipsy favorite was the Horse Balogna and Foie Gras Grilled Cheese from M. Wells. The perfect mix of crunchy, savory, sweet, and soft, it was heaven on golden toast. Yum!
On the ‘tipsy’ side of the festival, over 100 wines from around the world and over 30 different domestic and foreign craft beer makers were presented! Banshee, The Hobo Wine Company, Mouton Noir, The Red Hook Winery, and Palmina, were just some of the wine we got a taste of. Blue Moon, Brooklyn Brewery, Empire Brews, Saranac, and Bear Republic kept our beer cravings intact all weekend.
The lineup of musical acts was extremely impressive for a festival in its inaugural year, with the three biggest acts (The Roots, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Hall & Oates) drawing thousands of people looking to dance in the sun to both old and new hits on the festival’s main Nethermead Stage. Fitz and the Tantrums really rocked the house on the closing song of their set, their biggest hit to date: MoneyGrabber. Lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick began calling out the crowd members who were not getting down with everyone else and it was obvious that they had built a relationship with the audience. The whole band’s energy was contagious and the choice to feature The Roots, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Hall & Oates was well thought out by the organizers of the festival.
It was an amazing first experience for the Great GoogaMooga Festival. Great GoogaMooga all around! Until next time…Cheers!