Scouting for Girls 1 – 0 Hooded Ram

Last night was definitely a learning curve for me and I really hope it was for the Hooded Ram too. I’d been looking forward to this gig for a few weeks. With it being my first one since I got sober I decided to make some preparations. I contacted the Hooded Ram on Twitter and asked if there would be alcohol free drinks available and to my surprise I received a very speedy and lovely response saying there would be “plenty of choice at the bar” and I was also asked if there was anything specific I was hoping for.


I was excited that a company was actually taking AF drinks seriously and clearly didn’t want to provide the usual Becks Blue or Heineken. I was chuffed and looking forward to trying out what they had to offer.

I’ve been having weird mood swings at the moment and certainly don’t seem myself so yesterday was a pretty shit day and I wasn’t that crazy about going to the gig. After hours of being up and down about whether I should go or not, I decided I would challenge myself as some of the low mood was probably anxiety about the whole occasion and knowing that I would be surrounding myself with drunk people in an overcrowded beer tent. I’ll admit, it’s not my best thought out event and I should have considered how I might feel a bit more but the tickets were booked and I was going with Fiona so all should go well.

The tickets said “opening time 6pm, start time 6pm”, so you would probably expect to see the main act by at least 8pm. As it was a ‘festival’ we decided to get there early to take in the atmosphere and what was going on before Scouting for Girls showed up. We got there at 6.30pm and to our surprise they were still prepping the staff. Absolutely nothing was happening! I stayed positive and headed straight to the bar filled with excitement at what alcohol free beers were available. The barman looked at me blankly when I asked “what alcohol free beers do you have available?”. It was like he’d never heard of anything so ridiculous. I asked another member of staff and they said they didn’t have any alcohol free drinks, just soft drinks. Gutted and disappointed is an understatement! I’m not one for drinking Diet Coke all night so that shitty mood I was hoping to get rid of went slightly lower. I caught sight of the man running the show and asked about the availability of AF drinks. I believe his name is Rob and he was very polite and admitted that they was looking into AF drinks but it was “something that got missed”. He looked a bit surprised when I asked for my money back but after a few seconds of thought he kindly agreed with no argument and asked me to wait a few minutes.  He was clearly run off his feet and I think he was secretly hoping I’d just ‘disappear’. I didn’t and I was going to. After about 20 mins waiting I went looking for him. He then randomly offered to send someone to the shop for whatever AF drinks I wanted which I thought was slightly odd but I put in my request and waited patiently for probably another 20 mins. It was getting a bit boring now and I caught his eye again and asked if he’d forgotten about me. I explained my reasons for wanting AF drinks and the fact I was in recovery. I think it was at this moment the penny dropped and the nice man realised I wasn’t just a boring fart who wasn’t drinking and there was a genuine reason. I did explain that had I not received a message from the people at Hooded Ram I wouldn’t have had a problem at all. I do feel I was offered something that actually means a lot to me and then let down in a spectacular fashion. Rob was very apologetic and a really nice guy who was clearly very busy. I got my money back and left him to it 🙂

It’s about 7.30pm now and there’s still not much happening apart from some random music being blasted out. It felt a bit like Bob from security had whacked his favourite Spotify playlist on. About 8pm the first support act Bobble Heads came on. They was a group of local young kids that were pretty good actually which was a nice surprise. Then we had quite a long break whilst the crew changed the equipment (it didn’t flow very well) and the next support act arrived. They were pretty crap if I’m honest and the crowd didn’t seem that engaged either – a poor show!

Finally at 10.05pm and after standing for 4 hours the main act came on – Scouting for Girls! They were good and I enjoyed the set – for the whole 1 hour 15 mins …

I’m not one to moan (I don’t think I am anyway, haha), but it was one of the strangest gigs I’ve ever been to. I came away thinking either someone needs sacking or someone needs employing.  As for the AF drinks situation, I reckon they’re missing out on a small fortune. I don’t drink alcohol because my life is shit with it. That doesn’t mean I want to drink Diet Coke all night. I enjoy having a beer and when I’m going to a festival, I’m expecting to be ripped off whatever I purchase. Last night the Hooded Ram could have taken a lot more from me had they been serving alcohol free drinks. I had £50 on me. If AF drinks were available I would have probably got food as well. I got told they was charging £4 per pint. If they charged the same for AF bottles (which I’d be willing to pay) they could have easily taken £40 off me as well as the £27.50 I paid for my ticket. As it turned out they refunded my ticket and I didn’t spend anything because Fiona bought me a Coke and that’s all I had all night. There will have been lots of people there last night who would have taken advantage of AF availability. Especially as it was a ‘school night’.

Overall thoughts – a poorly organised night with half arsed entertainment, clearly making as much money as possible out of crap overpriced beer. Scouting for Girls were good whilst they were on!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your evening 🙂

Claire xx


  • Interesting blog Claire. I am in recovery too and think the planning ahead is a great idea. I have over 10 years sobriety and in that time have never had an AF beer or wine as I worry it would take me closer to an actual drink of alcohol. There is a wealth of fabulous soft drinks, and some amazing ones made locally, I love Roots Rhubarb Tonic and Apple Orphanage drinks in particular 🙂 Good luck in your recovery (oh and Bobbleheads are AWESOME!)

    Liked by 1 person

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