Mark your calendars, The Great GoogaMooga food, drink and music festival is coming to Prospect Park the weekend of May 19 and 20. And it's free.
On Thursday afternoon, event organizers Superfly Productions—who are perhaps best known for creating Bonaroo—held a press conference inside of downtown's Bowery Ballroom announcing the GoogaMooga festival along with the names of Brooklyn and Manhattan purveyors that will be operating its concessions, including local haunts such as , , and . (For a complete list of vendors from other neighborhoods, click here.)
What sets this event apart from other Superfly productions such as Bonaroo, however, is that it's inclusive. It will be a free event that will be ticketed, meaning that festival-goers will have to go online and register. The music entertainment will be available for any and all to listen to. But visitors can choose whether to purchase dishes like the " pretzels, sausages and meatballs," that Frank Falcinelli told Patch he will likely be serving, or eat outside the venue.
"Like music, food is something that brings us all together," said Superfly Co-Founder Jonathan Mayers. "This is something that we've been working on for three years and finally this dream will take place in The Nethermead area of Prospect Park."
As producers are expecting crowds of 50,000 festival-goers each day, the catering lineup is exceptionally large. Roughly 75 vendors will be set up under eight food and drink pavilions with themes ranging from "Hamageddon" (an ode to bacon) to "The UrBarn" (featuring farm-to-fork restaurants and seminars on sustainability) to an ethnic pavillion and a "Pizza Experience." In addition, there will be tasting tents for oenophiles and beer geeks, showcasing 35 craft brewers and 30 winemakers.
"One look at me and you can see that the last thing I need is another food festival in my life," Borough President Marty Markowitz joked. "But an amazing thing is happening in Brooklyn right now with so many artisanal purveyors and exciting restaurants opening. So it doesn't surprise me that MoogaGooga has chosen to have the festival in Brooklyn."
The CEO of Rockwell Group, David Rockwell, also spoke on what festival-goers could expect from the design of the event, saying that the atmosphere will be carnivalesque, like a fun house. When pressed about how he will combat the long lines for food and drink that plague similar festivals, Rockwell said that his team is already working on a design that will facilitate fluidity and that it is up to the vendors to ensure they are prepared for the demand.
Other speakers reminded the audience that in addition to food and music, revelers could simply bask in the natural surroundings.
"Prospect Park may be the world's most perfect park," said New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "It's really like being out in the countryside. There is a sense of unending space. So, in addition to the food and the music and the drink, you will be sitting in one of the world's most romantic landscapes."
Thought repeatedly asked who might be taking the stage that weekend, Co-Founder Jonathan Mayers stood his ground saying the announcement was meant to celebrate the chefs and restaurants that will be contributing to the festival in May.
"Is it true that Prospect Park doesn't allow hip-hop?" asked Chef Eddie Huang of BaoHaus, to much laughter. Meyers assured him that the musical acts will be eclectic, with something for everyone.
Patch later asked Chef Huang, a self-described lover of hip-hop, who he would like to see perform.
"I always wanna see Cam'ron, but you gotta get a Brooklyn act in there," said Huang. "I would like to see one of the young guys like ASAP Rocky, Action Bronson, French Montana or an older act like Black Moon would be cool. Or Black Star? Something Brooklyn. I think it would be cool to do something like that."
In a subsequent interview with Mayers, he told Patch that there will be both national and local artists. Two stages will be set up at GoogaMooga with 10 acts performing each day. "We're hoping to create a legacy there that everyone can be proud of," said Mayers. "We hope this becomes an international event."
In voicing her support, Prospect Park Administrator and President of the Prospect Park Alliance Emily Lloyd said that everything about GoogaMooga was in sync with what the original designers of the park intended.
"Frederick Law Olmsted, Prospect Park's great co-designer intended the park to be a gathering place as well as a place of quiet respite," she said. "He wrote, 'the Park should be a pleasure ground second to none in the world.' We have every confidence that Superfly is going to create a spectacular pleasure ground for all to enjoy."
And about that name? "GoogaMooga is a DJ phrase that was used in the 1950s," said Mayers. "It means awesome." Awesome indeed.
For more ticket and event information on The Great Googa Mooga, click here.
*An earlier version of this article featured an incorrect quote that festival-goers could bring food from home to the park during The Great GoogaMooga. In fact, no outside food will be allowed inside of the event.