5/19/2013 10:14:00 AM

GoogaMooga 2013: Shorter Lines, Fewer People, Restaurants Better Prepared

The short story on the first full day of the second Great GoogaMooga, the food and music fest in its sophomore year in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, goes something like this: shorter lines, fewer people and not-as-sunny weather added up to no drama and a better overall experience compared to its inaugural year. Remember all this? That wasn't the scenario on Saturday, at least through mid-afternoon.
Restaurants deserve credit as they did their part. Chefs, GMs and staffers we talked to Friday and Saturday shared examples of how they planned better and added efficiencies, from creating simpler menus or adding more staff. Craft executive chef James Tracey said they cut steps in prepping dishes onsite as did Num Pang co-owner Ratha Chaupoly. Eric Bromberg, chef at Blue Ribbon, talked about how his crew wasn't prepared for the crowds last year but how this year they added equipment, staff and an additional booth. Oliver Rassinoux, GM of DBGB Kitchen & Bar, also talked about added efficiencies on site. All of their booths, as well as those of the other vendors, were running well Saturday as far as we could see.

While the final report card for festival organizers SuperFly is still up in the air, it seemed like the execution of the event could still use some tweaks. The general admission/VIP gate on the west side of the festival opened 20 minutes late; event staffers were still setting up at 11:30 AM, a half hour after the doors were set to open; and the staff there didn't seem prepared to answer basic questions. There were some efforts made to improve from last year - the most noticeable uptick was with cell reception on Saturday, which was practically nonexistent last year.

We purposely didn't review any food or drink prices beforehand to see if we could easily figure out the plan on site; last year many complained it was too confusing. It was easy enough to figure out the food: signs were everywhere that said "cash only," and it was clear you paid at the booths. The drinks? There wasn't that much in the way of signage to explain what was going on, and the staffers at the tickets booths could have used a primer on directing people.

Ultimately, day one of GoogaMooga in 2013 seemed like a step forward from the inaugural year. What was your experience?

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