This weekend we have braved the British weather and spent three days in a field. No, not any old field, but a field full of magic and wonder. Just So Festival is one of our summer highlights, a children’s festival with a firm emphasis on the kids, not parents ‘having it large’ and dragging their kids behind them in a trolley while they party, which so many ‘kids festivals’ have become.
Just So is everything that a young person could wish for and more. Circus skills, dressing up, dancing crazy, running wild, learning new skills and all dusted with magic and sparkle.
This year we took our family along with us, and my two and their cousins bounced around the tents from one workshop / activity to the other. Much laughter, hilarity and silly games ensued. It was fab to watch.
On arrival, we pitched our bell tent in the far camping field, nestled against the hedge, which gave us some shade and privacy. The festival site is so designed that getting from the car park to the camping site is not a horrendous ordeal. It is actually very manageable and with little sweat.
Once pitched, we headed into the site, a short walk along the track and we were there, standing at the Spellbound Forest. First up – Circus Skills. Diablo, stilts, and hula. My two can spend hours playing with all the equipment, and they did.
All around us families were dressed up in their ‘tribal’ costumes, showing their firm allegiance to the Owls / Lions / Fish / Frogs / Stags / and Foxes. We, were #teamfox, who for most of the festival were leading the score board. All four of us spent the weekend in fox ears.
Each tribal team can ‘win’ gold nuggets for all manner of things, from finding unusual items and exchanging them at the Bureau de Change for gold or by winning an event or even telling their tribal leader a joke.
Look at these costumes! Frogs! It was so lovely to see whole families involved in the tribal tournament.
My favourite part of the festival is the Spellbound Forest. At first, entering the forest you will stumble upon a large fire pit. There, throughout the day you will find story tellers, science experiments, samba bands and more. Behind the pit, further into the woods was the puppet theatre. A brilliant solo performance between one child and the puppeteer. The child wore headphones and had a private show. Such a magical idea.
All around the woods, there were many crafts, clay faces, willow weaving, dream catching making. Wander further down the track and you will discover the theatre in a small hollow. Catch a play, sing a song or listen to a story.
Further on, stumble across the Fairy Queen or the creatures from the Fabularium who will tell you stories of Peter and the Wolf or the Hare and the Tortoise.
Once through the Forest, you will reach the High Seas. Pirate adventures, the cinema showing Swallows and Amazons and of course the craft tent where you can make the willow lantern for Saturday nights parade.
There must have been thousands of people in the parade, that snaked around the site. Families with children of all ages, carrying their beautiful hand made lantern.
#teamfish won the final tribal tournament. Foxes came fourth I believe. We could have stayed Sunday evening to watch the final event, but we dashed home to feed the cats.
Yes it may have rained, a lot!, but the rain didn’t dampen the spirit of Just So. And when the sun shone the site sparkled.
We loved it so much – thank you Just So for such a wonderful weekend. Can’t wait for next year!
Early bird tickets for Just So Festival 2017 (18 – 20 August, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire) are on sale from Friday 26 August at www.justsofestival.org.uk at special early bird prices of £120 (adults), £45 (child) for weekend camping, £70 (adult), £25 (child) for 2 day non-camping, £40 (adult), £15 (child) for day tickets. Under 3s free.
Collaboration Note: Thank you to Just So Festival for gifting us these weekend passes for the purpose of this review. All words, thoughts and images are my own. Thank you for supporting the posts that make this blog possible.