Just So Festival Review 2022- A Family Festival Full Of Magic and Fun
The Just So Festival in Cheshire returned for 2022 offering a weekend of family festival full of fun, magic and wonder. Discover what we thought of this year’s Just So Festival in our review.
Summer and festivals go hand in hand, and for families, you don’t get any more magical than the Just So Festival.
If you have not come across Just So yet you have been definitely 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 2022 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 2022
Since our first visit in 2014, The Just So Festival has been a firm fixture in our summer calendar every year since (apart from 2020 when of course, when it had to be cancelled for Covid).
We were therefore very excited to attend our 8th Just So Festival and couldn’t wait to see what adventures they had in-store.
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.
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 at the main campsite.
We had been sent a programme (available to purchase) before the festival and this is definitely a must for us. There is so much going on it is easy to miss some of the hidden gems.
Although we always try to not over-plan, choosing one activity or show each then see where the festival takes us from there.
The Just So Festival is divided into themed sections.
We were delighted to see the return of favourites such as Spellbound Forest with campfires perfect for stories and songs; The Woodland Theatre with films and performances; the Village Green with maypole dancing and outdoor theatre.
For those who love to boogie, The Flamingo Lounge is the place to be with dance workshops and silent discos. Plus Shangri-La offers the chance to relax with classes such as family yoga, mindfulness and gong baths.
This year with Footlights, where you will find the main stage for live bands, was our first port of call. In fact, with the sun shining all and great acts playing it became our go-to base to chill out between shows and adventures.
Here we enjoy the acoustic sounds of Honey We Three, emotive ballads from Sound of the Sirens, the Latin vibes from Guacamaya Latin Band strutted our stuff to the folk trio Granny’s Attic.
We also watched the very funny This Is Your Trial show where parents and kids were put on trial in a comedy court.
And over the moon to catch one of our favourite Just So bands Thingumabob and The Thingumajigs. They never fail to have us up on our feet dancing to their catchy songs such as “Runcorn”, “We Are Just The Warm Up Band” and The Monkey Song (complete with dancing Monkies).
Along with our stints in Footlights, we headed to Spellbound Forest, for campfire songs and the storytelling of Ian Douglas, another Just So regular, who shares lovely folk tales and myths in the most magical way.
We also made use of the Shadow Puppet area, the kids using themselves to tell stories as they kept forgetting to make the puppets.
In the Village Green, we watched the Most Dangerous Cup of Tea in the World, an hilarious stunt act from Tit for Tat Circus, which saw knives, lit torches and hammers used in dangerous ways to make the perfect cup of tea. To say the kids loved this would be an understatement.
Photo Credit – Catherine Dineley
My daughter was also really excited when she got selected to take part in the family sports day in the leapfrog race. Although she and her little bee partner didn’t win it still made her highlight list!
We made Origami Wishing Stars and Wild Flowers in the Workshop tent and visited the Thread Exchange to swap pre-loved items of clothing. Before grabbing a table in the Ministry of Games tent, where we played a funny game of Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza card, which we had first discovered at the festival last year.
One of our top picks for the weekend was Community Chest, an escape room-style experience which involved puzzle solving and teamwork.
As only four groups could participate at one time, we did need to queue in order to take part. However, this gave us time to enjoy a little coffee break whilst the kids played with a ‘queue’ beach ball.
Community Chest proved to be worth the wait and was declared as one of our favourite activities of the weekend.
Other highlights of the weekend included, a huge water fight, with crocheted and sock waterbombs flying in every direction soaking everyone in their path. As you can imagine the kids loved this.
The Big Gay Disco Bike, where we boogied away to some great tunes, learning the best disco moves led by two amazing drag queens.
Along with Heliosphere, a giant helium balloon moon with a spiralling and spinning acrobat suspended beneath. This was truly breathtaking and one of my nine-year-old daughter’s favourite parts of the weekend.
The food on offer at Just So is always excellent and this year was no exception. They cater for all tastes and preferences with lots of vegetarian and vegan options available.
Over the weekend favourites included the Brisket Box and Salt and Thyme Fries from the Allotment, the Chicken Kebab and Steak Brioche from Smithy Farm and the Mac and Cheese from the Spaghetti Sisters.
Sweet treats were also aplenty, with the milkshakes from Harry’s, the churros from Los Churros Amigos, and the adult Pina Colada Ice Lollies from Lickalix standing out.
Underpinning the Just So Festival is the Carnival Of Animal. Run by the popular theatre company Fabularium, to take part you choose your alliance fish, fox, frog, owl, stag or bee and to earn golden pebbles for your team. Coming from Manchester we yet again couldn’t resist the calling of the Bees.
This year there was a change to the way the pebbles were earnt with an emphasis on being helpful and helping the environment.
My children always love getting involved and it was great to see them volunteer to do some litter picking and asking vendors and organisers if they had any jobs for them. I was hoping this new ethos will make it home – but from what I have seen so far it did get left behind.
Unfortunately, despite all the effort, the Bees didn’t manage a win this year, with the Frogs taking the cup.
One of the best things about the festival is that the kids get to experience simple things that they would not necessarily get to elsewhere.
They played for hours in the Circus Skills area perfecting hula hooping and the devil sticks. Made dens out of sheets and sticks; We went for a nighttime walk and play in the woods surrounded by twinkly lights; Ran around and dance with bare feet chasing giant balloons and so much more.
What We Thought About Just So Festival 2022
Yet again we had an amazing time at Just So. We had noticed a slightly reduced programming and a few regular activities missing however, for us this took nothing away from the experience.
Every visit has brought something different and this year we were able to enjoy a more relaxed feel. At no point were stuck for something to do and as usual came away away away with a list of activities we didn’t have to time fit in. It wasn’t until we were packing away our tent that we realised we never made it to the Telling Tales and Inky Deep areas.
There was something for everything for our party including us adults and my twelve-year-old who I feared my outgrown this summer tradition.
For me seeing the children enjoying a weekend of outdoor fun, where they could explore in a safe environment with no technology insight is priceless and will keep us coming back.
Early Bird Tickets for Just So 2022
Just So 2023 will take place at Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire from 18th to 20th 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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