Last year a guard outside the Great GoogaMooga found a used syringe in an open pocket of my backpack. “I’m diabetic,” I told him, and he asked to see my, um, uh, um, uh, “insulin?” “Yeah,” so I showed it to him, and then he asked to see my ID, which I also showed him, the name on which he compared against the name on the prescription. You know, in case I were one of those crafty intravenous drug users who carries around a bottle of someone else’s insulin to psych out music-festival security guards. (They’re so much more common than, you know, people with fucking diabetes!) Meanwhile, the friend I came with hid his one-hitter in his palm underneath his cell phone and strolled right into the festival.
So, the Great GoogaMooga did not feel like a welcoming place for diabetics. But it was also unwelcoming to the other annoying thing I identify with (and that keeps me from being invited to dinner parties): I try to keep vegan. And trying to figure out which vendors might have even just non-pizza vegetarian options was as confusing if not more so than trying to figure out how to buy beer. (Guys, I didn’t stay long at the GoogaMooga.)
I know that vegetarianism has lost some of the cache it once had: lots of aughties people who were trying it in college or in early postgrad gave it up as grown-ups, and The Hipster’s appropriation of 70s suburban signifiers has included a fondness for meat expressed in DIY butchery. Still, there’s a whole bunch of us out there—like 3 percent of the entire US is vegan, which must mean like at least 17 percent of Brooklyn, right?—and we like to eat food. And, you know, we’re willing to pay money for it!
Lots of business owners already know this. I’m going to name all the vegan restaurants in Brooklyn I can think of off the top of my head. Ready? MOB. The V Spot. Wild Ginger. Foodswings. BAD. Dao Palate. Vegetarian Palate. Imhotep. Champs. ‘sNice. (Then there are other places known for their large selection of veggie shit: Bliss Cafe, Luna Burrito, and more.) There’s also a nice place in Park Slope called Sun in Bloom, which has the distinction of being the only Brooklyn vegan-friendly restaurant that’ll be at the Great Googa Mooga. The one of the 85 food vendors.
If 5-10 percent of America is vegetarian, I guarantee you more than 1.17 percent of the GoogaMooga audience is. If someone offers me a last-minute ticket to the Goog, I may go. But I’ll probably leave my insulin at home—so I won’t be harassed, and because I won’t really need it.
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart