Not even hours of chilly drizzle could deter thousands of beer-enjoying music fans from having a good time yesterday, as OctFest revelers turned the grand Parade Ground on Governors Island into a party. The festival, presented in part by Pitchfork and featuring two stages, features a superb selection of food, and generous pours from more than 90 breweries from around the world; it continues Sunday with headliners Nile Rodgers and CHIC, Yo La Tengo, and the Flaming Lips. Tickets are sold out.
If you're going today, bring some rain gear. There was a great comfort-level divide yesterday between those who came prepared and those who didn't. Here's what else what to expect:
- Included in the price of admission are 15 3-oz pours from the breweries of your choice. The festival grounds are well organized, with clusters of beer booths in different sections, making it feel like you're traveling among different worlds as you imbibe. Many breweries give out freebies as well, like frisbees, leis, caps, novelty items, and rolling papers. Additional samples are only $1.50 each, and you can also buy full cans of beer at separate bar booths. Needless to say, many people were feeling the buzz by late afternoon.
- Bon Appétit helped curate the food lineup, and it is exceptional. Mission Chinese Food has an all-vegetarian menu anchored by Sweet and Sour Pineapple Fried Rice. The great OddFellows ice cream showed up with a half dozen flavors, plus a deeply satisfying Chocolate Stout Sundae. The Shrimp Sandwich at Cervo's, the Meatball Sub at Best Pizza, the Carnitas Tacos at Colonia Verde, the Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich at Sweet Chick, the namesake Hank's Juicy Beef sandwich... all of these are excellent options. But really, the festival's single must-get is the KronnerBurger, the Oakland outfit making a rare appearance in NYC and tasting every bit as amazing as I remember from two years ago.
- The unappealing weather yesterday must have accounted for a lot of no-shows, as there were no lines all day at any booth to get beer. There was also plenty of actual, physical space, both in front of the stages and on the thick, grassy lawn between them—enough room for people to play frisbee! This is a welcome development for those who partied this summer at the massive Randall's Island festivals. As one Gov Ball veteran said, "Oh my god this is so nice and chill!"
Yesterday's music performances included Madison McFerrin starting the party off right, a rousing set by Saba, the beloved Jeff Tweedy playing solo, Preoccupations (formerly Viet Cong) kicking ass, Vagabon getting loud and rowdy, and Vince Staples closing things out.
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