Just So Festival is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, and we can’t wait to celebrate with them. We last visited the festival when Isabella was 3 years old and she still has memories of dressing up in her mermaid attire and meeting the Faiyr Queen.
This year has a fabulous line up of arts, theatre, circus, dance and world-class music. Here is our low down of what to expect in a wild and wonderful weekend in the grounds of Rode Hall.
Being based slightly North of their hometown, we cannot wait to see The Baghdaddies and their fusion of Caribbean grooves and Middle Eastern rhythms (with a Geordie flavour!), with influences from ska, jazz, punk and metal. They pop up all over the festival, and there’s something special about hearing them around the campfire at this fabulous festival.
Join one of the many theatrical adventures happening across the festival site. The Fabularium are back with The Hare and the Moon, a story all the way from Far East Asia. The sun has disappeared and the Arctic Animals must band together to reclaim it, but are the strongest creatures actually the best for the job?
You’ll find Hurrah for the Pirate King, an opera, ballet and art-song show designed for children. Follow the Great Pirate King’s adventures as he takes you on a musical journey to find a treasure beyond gold and jewels. Babies won’t miss out on the musical fun. Little ones and their grown-ups can play in a 30-minute workshop with Hurly Burly, creators of Over the Moon – a first opera for little people.
World-class circus and dance
Kapow Dance Circus Theatre present dance piece Adrift, the story of two women lost at sea on a wooden raft. This moving story will be performed in the round using dance, physical theatre and circus. Mimbre’s Lifted is a brand-new, captivating performance exploring three strong women moving, lifting and balancing each other.
Aerial dance company Newtons Ladder will perform Sirin (Hope is the Thing with Feathers), inspired by the ancient myths of man falling in love with beautiful half-human creatures, whilst Thingumajig Theatre present a night-time procession of giant illuminated creatures in Ghost Caribou.
You’ll find the Just So Cinema in the Woodland Theatre. Bring bring a blanket, travel the fairy lit path into the woods and hunker down under the stars. This year the cinema is celebrating all things animation with the oldest surviving animated film from 1926, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, accompanied by an original new live score by Chris Davis, the 30th anniversary of Aardman’s A Grand Day Out, and the 10th birthday of Pixar’s modern classic Up.
Authors in Wonderland
Wonderland is an area hidden away in the woods where audiences can enjoy author talks, music workshops and night-time DJ sets. Joining the Wonderland line-up is one of the nation’s favourite illustrators Rob Flowers, who will read from his book Festival Folk, an illustrated atlas of carnival customs and costumes. .
Get tribal with The Tribal Tournament
Now this is what Just So is all about and what we really didn’t ‘get’ the first time we went. Basically get ready to dress up as different animal clans (bees, foxes, fish, lions and more…) You really won’t understand how much effort goes into costumes until you get there. Do an Instagram search and you’ll find people have been working on costumes since they day they arrived back from Just So 2018. Get those sewing machines out and get involved.
If you’re not feeling overly creative before you go, fear not, this year you can prepare costumes with Wintercroft, a family-run design company known for helping people make fantastical animal masks from sustainable materials. Wintercroft have created seven incredible new masks for the Tribal Tournament, so get involved, build your favourite animal and represent your tribe.
Be dazzled by the stunning Fire Garden, a pyrotechnic marvel of light set among the trees of a brand-new orchard. We think it sounds stunning!
Garden of Delight
We cannot wait to explore the palace of secrets in part of the Rode Hall Estate that has never been open to the festival audience before. Head into the woods to enjoy author talks, music workshops and night-time DJ sets in Wonderland, and visit the New Curiosity Shop to learn amazing art, animation, digital and journalism skills.
The Flamingo Lounge
This an area that’s been added since we last visited Just So and we can’t wait to check it out. It’s all about dance and you can take part in dance workshops including Tap, Capoeria, Circus Swing, Disco, Bhangra and Bollywood. And when night falls, the neon comes on and the party really starts. Dress to impress for the Ragroof Tea Dance featuring 1920s-1950s music, vintage costumes, glorious dance displays and dance classes – how amazing does this sound?
Here you’ll find bush crafts, tree climbing and campfire tales as dusk falls. Marvel at the Giant Marble Run suspended between the trees, watch theatre and film classics at the Woodland Theatre, and enjoy wild play at the Hammer & Chisel, our unique woodland playground. Under the supervision of forest play experts, create your own world or add to ours using pallets, ladders and ropes to create dens and secret spaces.
For the under 4s
The tiny little ones are well catered for in the Peekaboo Garden – an area of botanical bliss, innovative performances and activities for 0-4s in a gentle, tranquil valley. This area is about huge adventures for little people, with music, stories and messy play. Baby bath time here will ensure the littlies doze off to the sound of our choral lullabies as twilight settles.
For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.