Festival Food Scenes (Get Hungry for Outside Lands!)

Its now the middle of the summer and festival season is about halfway through. With a handsome handful of festivals under my belt (SXSW, Coachella, Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest Festival and Camp Bisco), I can safely say that I’ve got a pretty accurate picture of what’s going on in the 2011 Festival Scene. And with Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Pacific Festival, Sunset Strip Music Festival, Sunset Junction, North Coast Music Festival, ACL and De Luna Music Festival that snapshot is going to continue to evolve.

While there have been some changes in the chemistry of music line-ups, and the emergence of some new acts, those are to be expected. Yet one of the surprises of this festival season has been some of the changes in the way food and beverages are offered at some of these events, most noticeably with certain festivals really stepping the game up in terms of the food service they provide.
To date, Bonnaroo and Coachella have been the most impressive – with Bonnaroo definitely carrying the torch. Whereas Coachella’s choice offerings were only in VIP and limited to the Cool Haus truck and a Fish Taco truck (there were also food trucks at the satellite parties), the Bonnaroo trucks in the Food Truck Oasis were accessible to all.
The organizational team behind Bonnaroo clearly committed themselves to upping the ante on the quality of food and succeeded in their mission by hosting six food trucks. The proof was in the pudding, or rather – the lack thereof, as many of those trucks ran out of inventory on the last day. Demand exceeded supply.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Kerry Woods, one of the men behind Superfly and Bonnaroo, and the man instrumental in bringing the Food Truck Oasis to Manchester, TN. Over some grass-fed, seriously delicious burgers, make you salivate meatballs and brisket sliders -

Sliders – Gastro Pub

Kerry gave me a rundown of how the festival’s culinary offerings have evolved and where he hopes to see things go in the future. What few may know is that some of the upgrades had been tested at Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, where quality wine and food has been a focus of the event since its inauguration. Although we did not get to sample everything in our food truck rendezvous – Kerry did have this to say about the Good You’s “Best Burger.”

From the Best Burger, we powered through some meatballs from the Eatbox truck. With a tip box as sexy as theirs and some crafty meatball themed concoctions – how could we not?

All in all, the food truck oasis was a big hit. I went there multiple times, sampled food from every truck other than the taco truck (the lines were always so long) and always left more satisfied than if I’d had traditional festival fare. Look for the same event production team at Outside Lands Festival to carry the kitchen torch one step further with wine and food offerings that are likely to be as pleasing as the amazing music line-up they already have slated. If you are looking for all of your senses to be stimulated, I strongly recommend heading the the next festival curated by the fine people of Superfly Productions and Big Hassle Media – Outside Lands taking place August 12-14th.
Buy tickets to Outside Lands here.

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