JUST SO “Family Friendly” FESTIVAL, 2018

Our first Just So “family friendly” Festival experience was most definitely a success! Unlike most other family bloggers, I had no idea what to expect, but as a first-timer the whole experience certainly made me want to return next year.

How Did Just So Compare With Our Other Family Friendly Festival Experiences?

The other family friendly festivals we have been to this year were Timber and Geronimo and I would say that Just So fits nicely in the middle of the two. We loved all 3 but they each had different qualities: Geronimo was lots of fun, large and busy but perhaps a bit commercialised in parts; Timber was über chilled-out, not too busy and not too large although not specifically geared towards children (but our kids still loved it); and Just So, although quite busy, is a good example of the quintessential festival for both adults and kids.

Our Just So Festival Highlights:

As you entered through the “insta-famous” Just So archway the Spellbound Forest was the first area you came across. This was a restful, magical area of woodland with various activities. One of our children’s favourites in here was the Barefoot Walk (although Little Miss spent most of the weekend barefooted!)In the Spellbound Forest we also loved the Clay Face Tree Sculptures (read more here),and of course we really enjoyed the Campfire Stories with festival favourites Ian Douglas and friends. Bean especially enjoyed toasting marshmallows on the campfire whilst listening to stories!

– Opposite the Spellbound Forest was the Playground of Illusions, an area of trickery and mystery from the Travelling Light Circus. The highlight here was the mesmerising Pendulum Wave Machine but there were various other illusions to enjoy.

– Both children really enjoyed learning Circus Skills in the Roll Up, Roll Up area. Bean found he has a skill for spinning plates on his finger and Little Miss enjoyed hula-hooping…or attempting to, anyway!

– On the Village Green there were quite a few shows to watch but unfortunately we kept missing them! (See “Our Just So Tips” below!) However, we did manage to catch the hour of bubbles, which was fab (everybody loves bubbles!) and Bean had fun with a water-gun full of paint at Never Mind the Pollocks.

Footlights was one of our favourite areas. Conveniently located next to the main food area (gluten free fish and chips…AMAZING!!) so we were able to buzz along with Thingamubub and the Thingumajigs whilst having our lunch and made sure we caught our crazy favourites Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers to join in with songs about David Attenborough and Seaweed Under the Sofa!

– Another favourite area was the Flamingo Lounge. We took part in dance workshops and especially loved the Retro Disco where I danced to songs from my teenage years with my children and hubbie which was just fabulous!

– In Idlewood we were reunited with the familiar Hammocks and Woodland Library that we loved at Timber and Little Miss P was thrilled to meet The Fairy Queen.

The Just So Pillow Fight is something we had heard about but couldn’t quite get our heads around! Hundreds of people in a field having a massive pillow fight just shouldn’t work…but trust me, it does work and really is something amazing to witness!

– Our absolute favourite experience of the Festival has to be the beautiful High Wire Aerial Acrobatics show by The Bullzini Family at the end of the Lantern Parade. Everyone was absolutely mesmerised watching a beautiful love story unfold once night had fallen in front of the beautiful Rode Hall. The image of a man cycling across a high wire with no harness, in the dark, with fireworks going off, is a memory that will stay with me forever.

Our Just So Festival Tips:

The Programme…So many people say not to be ruled by the programme and I would agree to a certain degree. It’s true that just by wandering around the site you can stumble across fabulous things that you maybe wouldn’t have planned to go and see. However, there were quite a few things that we would have liked to have seen that we ended up missing (e.g. David Gibb), and there are things we have read about since that we wish we had seen, so my tip is to highlight in your programme the things that you DEFINITELY want to see and keep an eye on the time to make sure you don’t miss them!

Join A Tribe and Dress Up…I didn’t realise how big a part of Just So this was until the very last minute but I was quite pleased with the basic costumes we pulled together to become part of the Fox Tribe and wore on the Saturday.

It was so refreshing to see lots of people wearing exactly what they wanted and no one judging anyone or looking you up and down! Grown men going all out and joining their kids in full costumes with glitter, feathers and make-up was fabulous to see! At Just So you could turn up in a bin bag, stiletto heels and a feather boa and no one would bat an eyelid…amazing!

Be Prepared For Some Queuing…One thing we weren’t expecting to do was queue, but as Just So has become more busy over the past 9 years some of the more popular activities did require a bit of queuing. Bean and Mr J. queued for Never Mind the Pollocks and Little Miss and I queued for half an hour to see The Fairy Queen and we decided not to queue for the Custard Catwalk due to the size of the queue! Apparently there was also a very long queue for the Lantern Making. However, there is plenty that you don’t have to queue for and the queues aren’t too painful as the atmosphere is great!

Take A Picnic Blanket…I seem to find myself saying this a lot in my blog posts but the trusty picnic blanket came in very useful again!

Take A Pillow…For the aforementioned Pillow Fight (although my children were just as happy, if not happier, playing in the feathers that popped out of other people’s pillows – as you can see in the photo above!)

Take Marshmallows…For the campfire! The General Store did sell some but sold out very quickly.

Just So Festival takes place at the Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire. Early Bird tickets for their 10th Festival in 2019 have already sold out! Limited Tier One tickets are available here so get yours now!

Were you at Just So Festival this year? Did you enjoy it as much as we did? Feel free to leave a comment below!

N.B. All photos taken and edited on an iPhone. All photos are the property of typicalmummy.co.uk. Please do not reuse without permission.

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