Friday, 8 September 2017

Family Fun: The Just So Festival


A weekend packed full of fun, mystery and a touch of magic. That is the Just So Festival, a family friendly weekend held at Rode Hall in Cheshire. The festival is ran by Wild Rumpus, a not-for-profit community interest programme dedicated to supporting the arts. This is our second year attending the festival and we loved every minute of it.

What I personally love about the Just So Festival is that it has such a wonderfully relaxed feel. All the activities are created with children in mind and the whole festival packed with quirky and spontaneous activities and experiences, which means there is plenty of fun to be had whether you love to plan your day or simply wander round and explore.

The weekend is absolutely jam packed with things to do and caters for all ages, meaning there is never worry of bored or unhappy children. The festival is spread out across the site, so although some areas were busier than others at different times, it never feels cramped and queueing is also not an issue. We arrived early on the Friday as soon as the campsite opened and got on with the job of setting up the tent and then set about exploring and having fun.

There were far too many activities happening over the weekend to list or experience them all. We looked through the programme for each day and chose a couple of activities that appealed to each child and then made sure that for the rest of time we simply explored and discovered things in a more relaxed manner, finding things that caught our eye.

Babies and toddlers aren't forgotten at Just So and Weleda were once again sponsoring the peekaboo tent and providing creative activities such as making flower crowns and planting seeds in their gorgeous mini herb garden outside the tent. Baby Green also enjoyed Wake up Sleepyheads, a lovely activity involving music and movement which was perfect for toddlers and she got really rather messy in a painting session!

The Peekaboo Tent - Sponsored by Weleda

Weleda Seed planting area - Featuring herbs included in their bestselling Skinfood

Baby Green enjoying the Sandpit outside the Kidunk tent (A new children's clothing brand that has just launched!) and playing in the Soil in the Weleda herb garden.

For older children one of the highlights of the festival is the Tribal Tournament. Wherever you look there are children and adults in the most fantastic costumes, bees, owls, stags, fish and more. Glitter, shiny fabrics, feathers and sequins are everywhere with people competing to gain shiny golden pebbles for their choice of tribe. Children can earn pebbles for a variety of things, whether it be for having a great costume or telling a great joke. Each tribe has it's very own tribal leader and pebbles need to be handed over to the tribal leader for them to be added to the scoreboard. My son loves this common thread of fun that runs through the weekend and took great joy in collecting and handing over golden pebbles at every opportunity!
The Owl leader with our very own owl. The tribal tournament scoreboard.

When asked what his favourite experiences of the festival were, my son mentioned toasting marshmallows in the Spellbound forest, the fun of the Tribal tournament and the Actual reality arcade where favourites such as Tetris are brought to life as fantastic activities without a single screen insight.

The magical spellbound forest and campfire area

The Actual reality arcade with classic games such as Tetris

Just So, although aimed at children is a great experience for adults too. I had a fantastic Skinfood hand massage courtesy of the lovely ladies at Weleda and we enjoyed live music which was happening all day both on the main stage and in other areas of the site. There is a really nice variety of food available and a sheltered area to eat if the weather is misbehaving, meaning you can really just relax and enjoy rather than having to worry about mealtimes.

Seeing the look of wonder on the children's faces is a real highlight. Some of my best memories are stumbling across artists around the festival such as the hilarious witch in a barrel, which had my son in stitches. The spellbound forest is easily one of the most enchanting spaces, with storytelling, outdoor theatre and so much more to enjoy this is a fantastic area to explore and discover.

Just So really stands out for being inclusive and eco friendly as well as lot's of fun. The attention to detail that goes in to organisation truly makes all the difference. Whether it's getting your drinks in reusable instead of disposable cups or the effort to provide recycling and composting bins across the site to minimise waste, these little touches made me all the more impressed.

The Village Green - Home to the Peekaboo tent and so much more

The weekend provides so much entertainment and fun. It has become a real highlight for us as a family. Just So will appeal to those looking for children's activities that are a little bit different to the norm, the mix of arts and experiences coupled with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere really stand out. Tickets are available for the weekend, with or without camping and also as day tickets if you live locally.

The weekend draws to a close with the announcement of the tribal tournament and the amazing parade which is a real treat. The festival is such a fantastic way to make family memories together, from the very messy pillow or jelly fights to just being able to spend time together in the beautiful rural setting, it has something for everyone.

Early bird tickets for Just So Festival 2018 (17 – 19 August, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire) are on sale from Friday 25 August at www.justsofestival.org.uk at special early bird prices. Under 3s free.

Ana x

I was kindly invited to attend the Just So Festival by Weleda and share with you our thoughts and impressions. Please see my full disclaimer for details.
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