Just So Festival Review 2021- A Family Festival Full Of Fun
Discover the Just So Festival a family festival full of fun, magic and wonder in our 2021 Just So Festival Review.
A fun festival is what Summer is made for and you don’t get any more exciting than the Just So Festival.
If you have not come across Just So yet you have been missing out. A fun family festival organised by Wild Rumpus, it is based at Rode Hall near Sandbach, Cheshire it offers a full weekend of magic, wonder, silliness and fun for kids, adults and families alike.
We were kindly invited along to the 2021 festival to check out for the purpose of an honest review. We asked our On The Go Reviewer and Manchester Editor Gemma and her family to check it out.
(Tickets were kindly gifted for review purposes however all opinions are our reviewer).
Just So Festival Review 2021
We have been massive fans of the Just So Festival since our first visit in 2014 and have visited every year since. In fact (apart from last year when it had to be cancelled) my now eleven and eight old’s don’t remember a summer without this magical festival.
Just So offers a range of tickets from one-day tickets to full weekend options and having loved our last four years camping we opted for the full on-site experience. For those wanting to try camping in style, Glamping is available and there are a limited number of motorhome/caravan tickets available to purchase.
Along with my 11-year-old Harry and eight-year-old Isabelle we were also joined by my friend ( also a big fan of the festival) with plans to meet up with other friends during the weekend.
Camping tickets include entry to the festival from 2.00pm Friday to Sunday midnight and camping from 12.00 noon (or 11.00pm in accessible camping) Friday to Monday morning.
We were in Accessible Camping and the facilities were the usual high standard with plenty of showers with hot water, clean toilets and separate sinks for washing pots and drinking water taps. We understand from friends this was the same in the main campsite.
Once our tent was up and we had unpacked we headed into the festival to start our adventures.
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, The Woodland Theatre with films and performances and the Village Green with bubble hours and maypole dancing were back. It was also great to see that other areas such as the Footlight Stage where you can catch live bands, dance workshops and silent discos appearance had a new location.
We were also excited to explore the new areas such as Cloud Cuckoo Land with giant puppets, Grand Central and Shangri-La which offered relaxing classes such as family yoga and gong baths.
With a fully packed programme of events, it is never easy to decide our ‘must-dos’ and this year was no different. We always try to choose one event each which wouldn’t want to miss and then see where the festival takes us from there.
This year the campfire in Spellbound Forest was at the top of our list so decided to head there first. Here we got to enjoy fun and silly stories and songs from Ursula Holden Gill, amazing tales from Just So favourite Ian Douglas and later on toasted the marshmallows we had taken to make smores.
We then decided it was time to fill our bellies with some of the food on offer around. Whilst the kids went for the wood fire pizza from Doughology I and my friend opted for the most amazing burritos which were filled to the brim. Over the weekend we also sampled a whole host of delights including delicious fresh pasta and garlic bread from Spaghetti Sisters, fish and chips from the Fish bar, the infamous whole corn on the cob from the Tin Shack, artisan icecream complete with rainbow cones from Ginger Comfort Emporium, luxury hot chocolate from the Cocoa Caravan and lots more.
We enjoyed our chosen fayre over at the Footlights stage so that we could listen to the live bands. We were lucky enough to catch most of ‘The String Beans’ set, who put their own spin on rock and pop classics resulting in perfect songs to dance to.
Having seen the Wonderland DJ stage earlier in the day, we decided it was time for the kids and us to experience their first rave in the woods where we danced the night away.
Saturday, brought some intermittent rain but it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits or the fun.
We started off with a visit to Thread Exchange to use tokens we had received the night before when we had dropped off an item of clothing that we loved but could no longer use (with a story about them). We all loved this especially my eight-year-old Isabelle who choose a lovely fur stole for her dressing up box.
The Thread Exchange was run by Little Loop who rent out kids clothes to help in the fight against fast fashion – what a fab idea.
Our next stop was Hammer and Chisel where the kids were handed a saw and hammer so that they could help make a giant den. They quickly decided that they wanted to make a ladder, enjoyed choosing the wood to use, sawing it to the correct length and hammering it all together. They were over the moon when it was finished and fitted perfectly. In fact, this was one of my daughter’s favourite parts of the weekend.
Our day continued with circus skills in RollUp RollUp. Here Harry discovered the joys of the Devil Sticks, spending most of the day perfecting his new skill, and Isabelle tried her hand at the ariel hoop learning basic spins and balancing.
We also managed to grab a table in the Ministry of Games tent and discovering the hilarious Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza card game which has been added to the kids Christmas lists.
The highlight of the day however had to be the brand new Colour Fight at Grand Central. Here all we were given a different coloured powder to throw in the air and at each other. It appeared that most of the festival-goers had turned up for the fight resulting in colours flying in all directions and covering us in a rainbow. We were literally walking art and it was truly amazing to watch and be a part of.
The evening took us for a walk through the woods with beautiful flower lights, before heading to Footlights to watch the Lantern Parade with the backdrop of huge lit up planets. Sticking with the light theme we then headed over to the Observatory to watch the relaxing illuminated puppet show.
Sunday we donned our full Carnival Of Animal outfits. Formerly known as the Tribal Tournament, The Carnival of Animals underpins the whole of Just So weekend. You have the chance to be a part of fish, fox, frog, owl, stag or bee and to take part in tasks to win golden pebbles. Coming from Manchester we yet again couldn’t resist the calling of the Bees.
This year the Carnival of the Animals was run by the popular theatre company Fabularium and they did an amazing job. They brought new exciting costumes and extra flamboyance flair to the animal leader characters turning the carnival into a huge interactive performance that the kids loved being involved in – engaging with the Bee Leader whenever they saw her and doing anything they could to earn pebbles to try to bag the Bee’s first win.
Sporting our bee colours, Sunday turned into a jam-packed day. We jumped for bubbles during Bubble Hour, watched the hilarious Racally Diner show, took part in the annual Family Sports Day (there were pebbles up for grabs) drew silly cartoons with Marc Makes Comics in a fun workshop, and took part in a lovely drawing and music session with storyteller Ian Douglas as he took us through his new book. Harry was over the moon when he got to show Ian and performer Gary Bridgens his portrait of them.
Before we knew it was time for the Wild Rumpus Parade. Here we gathered in our animal teams to march to the Grand Central stage in the hope we would win the Carnival of Animals trophy.
We were not disappointed with the Bees coming out top for the first time ever – to say we were all excited would be an understatement. And in true Just So style it was lovely to see all that the friendly rivalry was forgotten with other animal teams congratulating us the rest of the evening.
We finished our time at the festival enjoying churros, reflecting on our magical weekend and soaking up the atmosphere of the Footlights Stage.
What We Thought About Just So Festival 2021
After the turmoil of the last eighteen months Just So, Festival was just the medicine we needed and yet again we had an amazing time.
I won’t lie, the capped numbers did give the festival a different feel to other years it didn’t take away from the overall fun and if anything it was more relaxing. Wild Rumpus did a great job in making us feel safe in the current climate without encroaching on the overall vibe. As usual, they went out of the way to make sure that the whole experience was as magical as ever pulling out all the stops to make sure all the families had a great time.
I am always impressed at the range of activities on offer, every year we always come away with a list of activities we didn’t have to time fit in and this year was no exception. There was something for everything for our party including us adults and my very hard to please eleven-year-old.
Best of all it is great to see the children enjoying a weekend of outdoor fun, where they could explore in a safe environment with no technology insight.
Just So Festival has remained the highlight of our year and can see it remaining so for some time to come.
We highly reccommend The Just So Festival for a great weekend of family fun.
Early Bird Tickets for Just So 2021
Just So 2020 will take place at Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire from 19th to 21st August 2021.
Tier one tickets are now on sale and as the Early Bird tickets sell out in record be quick as they won’t last long !
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