Review of Just So Festival 2019
Discover everything you need to know about the Just So family friendly festival and what we thought about the 2019, 10th anniversary event.
For those unaware the Just So Festival is a family friendly festival based at Rode Hall near Sandbach, Cheshire and has lots to offer for both kids and families alike.
Having first visited Just So in 2014 and attended for the last five years we were very excited to be invited to check out the 10th anniversary event and couldn't wait to see what they had in-store.
Just So offers a range of tickets from one day, to weekend day tickets, however after camping for the last three years and had an amazing time we knew that we wanted to be on-site again and opted for the camping option. Along with my nine year old Harry and six year old Isabelle we were also joined by my friend ( also a big fan of the festival) with a plan to meet up with other friends including Rosie and her daughter Olivia from Mum In The Moment.
Camping tickets included entry to the festival from 2.00pm Friday to Sunday midnight and camping from 12.00 noon Friday to Monday morning.
As in previous years we headed to the site for opening at 12.00 noon and although due to the weather we were greeted with a queue this moved quickly and we were parked up ready to pitch our tent.
On the days leading to the event the weather had been quite wet and forecast for Friday had predicted rain most of the day; unfortunatley on this occassion it was correct. We had hired an amazing canvas tent from One Adventure which was extremely easy to pitch and we luckily had it up before the rain started. However we weren't as lucky when putting up a dome shelter when the rain showed itself. To make matters worse we had borrowed the shelter from a friend so had never pitched before, and therefore learnt a valuable lesson to practice with new equipment before leaving.
Due to the all the rain in the preceeding days the camp had been set up differently to previous years. Although it took a bit longer to get our bearings the facilities were the usual high standard as in previous years with plenty of showers with hot water, toilets with real water and separate sinks for washing pots and drinking water taps.
Once we were unpacked and our waterproofs on we headed into the festival to start our adventures. Although the rain was coming down hard as soon as we took our first steps through the Just So entrance and saw the familiar and new sights we were all instantly excited.
The Just So Festival is divided into themed sections and we were delighted to see favourites such as Spellbound Forest with campfires perfect for stories and songs and the Village Green with bubble hours, pop shows and maypole dancing. Other areas we glad to see had made an appearance but had moved location such as Footlights main stage where you can catch the bands and the Flamingo lounge with great dance classes.
New areas had also popped up such as the Fire Garden with small cauldrons full of flames in different patterns and Wonderland with readings, fairies and shows and lots more.
With all the rain and tent stress our Friday started later than usual so we headed straight for dinner at the social. Here we grabbed a table inside The New Curiosity Shop with some of us choosing lovely burgers and others fish and chips which all went down a treat. Other options at the social included wood oven pizzas. paella and hot dogs. Around the festival there was also pasta, gourmet toasties, waffles, ice-cream, Tibetan food ( which was delicious), the Just So famous whole corn on the cob and lots more.
Our night continued with a trip into a Spellbound Forest where we caught the end of a campfire story. However after a small look around, a drink from the bar, the day had took it's toll and we decided to head back to the tent to get a good nights sleep, ready for a full Saturday.
Saturday saw the sun shining and the chance for us to wear one of our tribal outfits. The Tribal Tournament runs throughout the Just So weekend and allows the chance to be apart of a tribe from fish, fox, frog, owl, stag or bee and to take part in tribal tasks to win golden pebbles. Yet again we couldn't resist the calling of the Bee's and showing our Manchester blood.
We have learnt from previous years that the best Just So plan is to try not to cram too much in, just choosing a couple of experiences and events each day and then see what else pops up around from there.
On Saturday we decided on Vespaqua, a mobile bath. The bath could fit up to four children with adults welcome too, however only Isabelle and Olivia decided to take the plunge, and they had an amazing time. The water was lovely and warm and they were given bath toys including water guns to play with whilst they toured the festival in style.
From there we took part in a giant pass the parcel, checked out the barefoot walk which is a yearly favourite and played in the mud, which after the week's rain and footfall there was an abundance of, which the kids found lots of fun. Next we headed to Roll Up Roll Up for the Clown About Town, more mud, to check out the bands at Footlights whilst enjoying the food on offer and watched the lantern parade go by.
The evening took us for a walk through the woods with beautiful flower lights and animals before we headed to the very spectuclar Fire Garden. We also managed to fit in a quick dance in the Retro Disco before heading back to the tent at a shocking 11.00pm.
After a camp breakfast, Sunday became a jam packed day. Starting with Bhangra Tots and Bubble Hour for Olivia and Isabelle, then a trip to Footlights to see very funny band Biscuithead and The Biscuit Heads play our new favourite song David Attenborough (check it our in our Facebook Live video here). We watched My House circus show and the very funny Strong Lady at Roll Up Roll Up and enjoyed a lovely hand rolled ice-cream.
Over at the Village Green we took part in the Just So Sports day in the three legged race and got caught up in the middle of a game of reverse musical statues whilst we had a picnic. With a son obsessed with animation we had booked onto the Aardman Animation workshop where to Harry's delight we were taught how to make Shawn the Sheep and got to bring our masterpieces home.
We caught the very funny and amazing Giant Balloon show with myself and Rosie taking part and no matter what my kids say I didn't cheat ( well, I did but I was told too ).
We showed our joke, dancing and singing talents to try to win golden stones for our tribe and joined in the Tribal Tournament parade. Here we sung the bee chant at the top of our voices and marched to the Footlight stage in the hope we would win the trophy. Unfornately luck was not on our side with the Foxes being victorious (boooo or should I say buzz).
We finished our time at the festival with cheese and ham toasties and hot chocolate whilst watching Disney's Up and reflecting on our weekend in the woodland theatre.
What We Thought About Just So Festival 2019
Yet again we had an amazing time at The Just So Festival and it geniunley remains one the highlights of our year.
I won't lie, the weather and the mud made getting to the different activities longer and everything harder, however it didn't spoil the fun at all and for my children the mud actually added to it. The whole experience was as magical as ever and it was apparant Wild Rumpus pulled out all the stops to make sure all the families had a great time.
As ever the range of activities on offer was amazing and really varied meaning there was something for every member of our party. It was also great to see the children enjoying a weekend of outdoor fun, where they could explore in a safe environment with no technology in sight.
However the reason we loved our visit to this years Just So Festival is not just because the children enjoy themselves, the adults in our party also had an amazing time. We all enjoyed taking part in the activities and the shows and entertainment was great for all ages. All the food options were a big plus and made it easy to make sure the children were happy whilst very much pleasing the foodie in me.
We know that we will definitley be back in 2020 and can highly reccommend The Just So Festival for a great weekend of family fun.
Early Bird Tickets for Just So 2020
Just So 2020 will take place at Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire from 21st to 23rd August 2020.
Tier one tickets are now on sale and as the Early Bird tickets sold out in record time be quick as they won't last long !