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Festival Mama vs Sofa Mama

Festival Season is well and truly upon us. And I’m seeing loads of pics on social media from friends who’ve come back from Green Man and Camp Bestival and all sorts of other outdoorsy musical events and I must say, I’m a little bit envious. That’ will NEVER be me and my kids.

Big Day Out, Melbourne 2006
As a teenager, I absolutely LOVED a festival. I can honestly say that bunking off school at 17 and going to Glastonbury in the back of a battered old van with the local crusties was one of the definitive moments of my life. I didn’t think I could be any happier than when I was at that festival, surrounded by fellow drunken / high “alternative types”. Of course, in 1993 it was actually still hot and sunny during summer so this was long before the bog-fest of later years. It was all incense, tie dye, tassels, sun-scorched grass, stone circles, crazy dancing, jamming on guitars with strangers, delicious smelling food stalls and warm beer in plastic beakers. I’d see hippy mamas with babies strapped to their bodies with colourful scarves and dirty kids with beads in their matted hair and think “that’s going to be me!”. I was ALWAYS going to be a festival mama.

But skip forward to actual parenthood 24 years later. That fantasy will never covert to reality. It’s one thing to fall unconscious,fully clothed into your tent every night, not wash for 5 days and drink your way through all the hangovers when you're (very) young, free and single. As a mother of 2 young kids, those are options that are no longer available to me. No. Now my fantasy is very much….my sofa. At a push, with the patio doors open if the weather is clement enough. So, I thought I’d compile a list of pros and cons to make myself feel better about the fact that I will probably never see the Pyramid Stage in real life again….

Festival: Live - Brilliant, varied, loud.
Sofa: Spotify or 6 Music – Repetitive, dull, quiet.                               
Festival wins!

Festival: Amazing, feel good, inspiring, creative, exciting.
Sofa: Very much dependant of behaviour of children. On average, angry. 
Festival wins!                                                                             

Festival: Delicious, varied, imaginative, good veggie choices. Very overpriced.
Sofa: Cheap, convenient, somewhat dull.
Tiebreak! (Festival can’t win because it’s still too much money. Sofa can’t win because it’s not that exciting)                                                                               

Festival: Wild, crazy, lots of it.                                 
Sofa: Little to none. (A few jiggles with small girl when guilted into it)
Festival wins!

Festival: Either with friends or you make friends (especially if you’re drunk and in a long queue). Lots of IRL socialising.
Sofa:  Social Media. Fellow parents who come over for coffee or wine.

Festival: Whatever you’ve managed to sneak in (can you even sneak stuff in these days?!) Overpriced lager or “craft beers”.
Sofa: Your favourite drink, from the cheapest place you can find it, bought in bulk and consumed in bulk.
Sofa wins!

Festival: Kids by your side at ALL times including bedtime and going to the loo.                                              
Sofa:  Free time when you sneak off for a poo, free time when you inevitably send them to their room/naughty step, free time when they voluntarily go off to play, free time when they are in bed, free time if you’ve organised a rare night out with other adults.
Sofa Wins!

Festival: Little to none. If you’re not staying up late ill-advisedly partying with other foolish parents, you’re trying to sleep through the pounding music, other people’s fun and drunkenness, your kids not being able to sleep, other kids not being able to sleep and everyone waking with cricked necks and rocks in their backs at 5am.
Sofa: As good as it will ever get….which is still better than festival sleeping.
Sofa wins!

Festival: Hell on earth. See previous lack of sleep, mix with noise, dirt, strong smells, no where to lie down and cry. 
Sofa: Cushions, blankets, being able to parent from one place whilst lying flat on your back with all the pop and crisps.
Sofa wins!                                                                                                          

Festival: However posh your festival is…you’re basically either on a plastic chair or a rug on the floor all day. If not on your feet for hours. (I once stood for 7 hours at a festival in Dublin without moving because the crowd was so dense)
Sofa: This one is a no brainer.
Sofa wins!

Festival: Tickets, camping, petrol, food, drink, extra kids activities…it’s EXPENSIVE.                                                            
Sofa: Free.
Sofa wins!

Festival: Now things may have moved on from the 90s but my feeling is that even if there are porta-showers rather than weird wooden huts and trickles of water that you queued hours for, or taps you put your head under….it’s not going to be great. I imagine mainly baby wipes and anti bac. No thanks.
Sofa: Bath or shower whenever I WANT!
Sofa wins!

Festival: I mean, I don’t even really need to say anything here do I? I’ve seen some very, very bad things in festival portaloos. Those images will never leave me and to be honest, I’m not sure if I’d have coped if I hadn’t had therapy.
Sofa wins!

So as you can see, sofa has categorically won the battle. I will not be attending any outdoors events in the near future. I like my loos clean, and my bed soft. Hippy Mama is not my destiny. 


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