I love that Governors Ball has a ton of delicious sounding and looking food options each year, but I also hate it. Maybe you’ve heard of a book called The Paradox of Choice? If not, it explains the theory that when given too many options, we’re paralyzed by our inability to choose.The vast variety and long list of delicious looking pictures and descriptions, made these choices seriously hard to make.
Despite the struggle, we forced ourselves to narrow down our top choices in the name of research and good reporting! Plus the food at Governor's Ball isn't cheap, you'll want to do your research before committing to a $15 burger or $10 ice cream that only disappoints and leaves you hungry. Unfortunately I only know this because I have experienced it myself on multiple occoassions, which is how I initially started making food guides for the festivals. I love food and I want to always give myself the best chance of tasting the most delicious food items Governors Ball has to offer and I want to help our readers narrow down their choices.
The first and most time consuming part of the plan is to filter through the massive list of Governors Ball Food Vendors and narrow it down to your top 3 “must try” meal items, one per day. This top three list can include desserts or you can create separate lists for food and desserts depending on your budget and how much you plan to eat. My fiance and I elect to separately pick one regular meal option per day and one dessert to share. When picking these options, we start by adding all the items we think sound appealing to a list without discrepancy, if it sounded good, I added it. I then looked up Yelp, Google and Facebook ratings for each restaurant and added this information to this list before sorting by highest rating. I don't always select the highest rated items, personal preference also plays a part depending on what type of food I'm most interested in trying. I go through and highlight my top three items, starting with what I'm most determined to try and working down. Once done, I make my list and commit to trying those items at the festival before trying other options. All remaining items on our lists are added to a consideration list, which we aren’t obligated to try, but we will keep in mind for additional meals if we get hungry.
If all this work seems silly to you, just know, I used to feel the same way, but buy enough overpriced disappointing food and you just might find yourself following this guide before you go next year. If you want to see an example of how we use this guide, read our 2017 Governors Ball Food Review for a list of what we selected.
This seems minor, but of the two steps on this short list, it's the most important. It's far too easy to fall into the trap of just eating whatever’s closest when you realize you have a quick break between shows and don't know where the vendor you want is located. By committing to a single item or two per day, you can use the map to plan the best time to go to that vendor without any disruption to your schedule. Simply head to the vendor when you’re near it for a show or to meet up with friends.
When I haven’t made a plan, I’ve found it’s surprisingly easy to walk right by a food vendor I really want to try without even realizing it. This is extremely frustrating when I go to look up the vendor later and realize how much more convenient it would have been to go thirty minutes ago before I walked to the other side of Governors Ball.
Plus, the actual act of committing to get the daily item each day focuses your priorities to include the stop at some point. Personally, I set an alarm for 6:00 PM each day reminding me to order my daily item, if I haven’t already. This not only reminds me if I have forgotten, but will hopefully minimize the risk of the item running out before I have the chance to order it.
I told you it was simple, in fact it’s so simple, you’d think I would have tried done it years earlier. If you're interested in seeing how we used this guide for our personal quest to find delicious food, read our 2017 Governors Ball Food Review.
As a side note, before anyone mentions the music is the priority and not the food, I completely agree with this. Which is why I never have more than two items on my list each day and I encourage making a plan to get it when it’s most convenient for your schedule. However, at the end of the day, if you’re going to eat, you might as well eat things you have a higher possibility of liking.