Nestled in the middle of the country, you’ll find a festival dedicated to small people and their families. You’ll struggle to find anywhere that will inspire small minds with wonder and creativity like Just So Festival – you seriously have to see it to believe it.
It’s a festival with sustainability in its heart and we can’t help but be reminded about the changes in our environment when we saw a whole month of rain fall on the opening day of the festival. We finally made it to Rode Hall on Saturday morning, after an epic attempt to get there on Friday morning (flippin’ rain!) So after setting up camp, what were our festival highlights?
The spellbound forest
Where else can you find a mad professor, listen to stories around the campfire, make clay faces, go on a barefoot walk and bump into two marvellous ladies playing Ed Sheran on the Cello? The Spellbound Forest could be a festival in itself. It’s truly magical and if you’re lucky you’ll even bump into the Fairy Queen. It’s a must do first stop on your Just So adventure, and you can guarantee you’ll spend lots of your time here – certainly make time for the woodland theatre, but make sure you get there early as it fills up fast.
We loved them when we visited 3 years ago and we weren’t disappointed again this year. This theatre company are truly magical and play a really special part in the Just So experience – think wild creatures playing fiddles in enchanted woodland, only this year throw in a treasure hunt with a full theatre production at the end… the field was full of engaged little faces… they really do know how to capture small imaginations.
Fancy dress, and more fancy dress
The last time we visited, we were potty training Isabella and I had a potty attached to my backpack the whole weekend. I certainly didn’t appreciate the emphasis that Just So puts on fancy dress and I was adamant to make the most of it on our return. The weekend is dedicated to ‘tribes’ – select from frogs, fish, stags, bees, foxes, lions and go ALL OUT. Families don’t just dress up on one day, but the whole weekend. There’s some serious effort that goes into the fabulous creations and it’s a total feast for the eyes. I managed to get Isabella in a different fishy outfit every day, but I need to up my festival game – we need to go back next year so I can excel in all things handmade, eccentric and fancy dress! Go team fish!
Tops tips for Just So 2020…
Take your refillable bottles
There are water points dotted all over the festival site, so there’s no need to buy drinks – refill those bottles and enjoy! Food and drinks vendors were asking for your reusable cup too which was great to see.
Think about food
If we did this again, I’d probably pack more food to take with us. As much as I love festival food, there really aren’t many places that do children’s portions. Down by the Curiosity Shop we stopped for fish and chips – with no option for a child’s portion you’re looking at £7, and a portion that’s too big for a small child. If you don’t want your child to live on £5 corn on the cobs or chips for the weekend, take food with you and make a trip back to your tent to eat. Clearly you can buy large and share, but I’ve certainly been to festivals that cater better for children. Hopefully this may change for 2020 as we love festival food and can’t really be bothered to go back to the tent to cook!
Let yourself wander
You can get totally caught up in the ‘programme’, but some of the best things we’ve seen at Just So have been from wandering around and bumping into little pop up shows, dance, theatre and circus acts. At every corner there’s something to see and to do. This year was a little tricky due to the mud that was left from Friday’s rain – we certainly could’ve done with lots of haybales to sit on around the place to make things a little more enjoyable, so always pack a picnic blanket to try to get some rest!
Tickets for Just So 2020 are now on sale https://www.justsofestival.org.uk/
Adult weekend tickets with camping from £130, Child tickets from £45, Under 3s free
See you in the fields?