Recap: The Great Googa Mooga 2012

In case you haven’t read around the Internet by now, The Great Googa Mooga occurred this weekend.

Admittedly, I didn’t stay long enough on the first day (Saturday, May 19th). I was there for an hour or so and had a not-so-good time because of mainly really poor cell phone reception (obviously, this was not the event organizer’s fault), there’s no Wi-Fi access to ameliorate the mobile communication problem, and it was really hot and I wasn’t prepared for the very huge crowd of people and what seemed like miles of lines that formed at every food and beverage vendor.

The Googa Mooga cake sculpture Fun, carved fruits at the UrBarn Exhibit
Hamageddon Crazy. Crowded.
The Googa Mooga cake sculpture, UrBarn Exhibit, Hamageddon, and crowds near the main stage on Saturday

On Sunday, it was a lot better and fun. I did have access to the Extra Mooga (ticket price for that is $249.50 for the entire weekend, while general admission (GA) was free but sold out in minutes) for that day so the experience was different than the ones who were general admission.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band Patton Oswalt, Eddie Huang and Tom Colicchio
The Boathouse (VIP section)
Dirty Dozen Brass Band on the main stage, Q&A Panel: Patton Oswalt, Eddie Huang and Tom Colicchio, and the Boathouse, all at the VIP/Extra Mooga section


The most obvious difference between GA section and Extra Mooga was the shade and more picnic tables to sit down and eat. The VIPs did not have all-inclusive access to food; only the food from four food stalls that doled out samples from featured chefs and restaurants, and two main beer and beverage sites (that was included for the Extra Mooga). There were also a few parties and Q&A sessions with notable chefs and food personalities like Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations, Marcus Samuelsson, Chef Tom Colicchio and Eddie Huang.

Here’s some photo highlights and some short video clips of the inaugural Googa Mooga:

Anthony Bourdain Anthony Bourdain's sidekick Zamir
Anthony Bourdain and his occasional traveling companion Zamir

Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations was there for both days. Entertaining to hear him talk about his travel experiences and the guests who did attend asked questions like “Where and when was the last time you vomited?” “Is it true that you’re no longer interested in partaking in “The Layover”? Can I take over once you leave that show?”

My Youtube video clip above is an audience member asking about what he eats at home. (Or click here if it doesn’t display on your iPhone.)

Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires did a great show on Sunday. It was soulful and as one of my Twitter followers commented, “hot.” For a food photographer who’s trying concert photography (very different things, people) this was by best set.

Set up for Peelander-Z Peelander-Z
Peelander-Z
Peelander-Z

For a while, I’ve heard from my concert photographer friend, Andrew mentioning of this Japanese punk rock band Peelander-Z and they did play on Sunday afternoon. Honestly, this band was the best of the performances I’ve seen this entire weekend. It was high energy, very entertaining, and they were literally on the move, as you see on my YouTube clip. They managed to gather a large crowd unlike the majority of performers this weekend and spread their contagious enthusiasm and energy. (Hall and Oates doesn’t count since everyone knows they’re the headliners of this festival.)

John Oates Daryl Hall
Daryl Hall & John Oates
Daryl Hall & John Oates

And yes, here are photos of Daryl Hall and John Oates. Admittedly, they are stars of one generation earlier than I but at least my parents did play their music often enough that it does sound familiar when they’re on stage.

Anthony Bourdain introducing the Big Gay Ice Cream men, Doug and Bryan
Ottavia Bourdain & Doug Quint of Big Gay Ice Cream Truck Chris Cosentino and Doug Quint taking a self-portrait with an iPhone
DJ Hesta Prynn Dancers on stage
Banana ice cream sandwich and a fruit cereal flavored ice cream pop

And the final event of the festival (at least for me) was attending Big Gay Ice Cream Truck‘s Disco Party. A DJ to get the crowd pumping; drag queens, celebrity chefs like Chris Cosentino and Anthony Bourdain (and his wife Ottavia), dancers, dancers on stilts and unicorns galore. There’s also banana ice cream sandwiches and fruit cereal ice cream pops distributed at the party and colorful, inflated unicorns were souvenirs. Even this adorable toddler wanted two of those unicorns. Lots of fun.

As any huge festival goes, especially at Googa Mooga, it’s an exhausting, controlled chaos. But with having good friends and company around, it makes it enjoyable.

To view more of my photos of this music and food festival, please scroll through the slideshow below (or click through my Flickr set):

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