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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.

Musical delights

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.

Theatre adventures

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.

 

Animation celebration

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.

Fire Garden

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?

Spellbound Forest

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.

Follow Just So @justsofestival facebook.com/justsofestival

 

 

When it comes to festivals and being sustainable, we have a long way to go. So much plastic, from drinks through to food vendors is rife and when you’re locked in a festival environment for the weekend, there’s often few alternatives out there. So, when Deer Shed announced that they were getting #DrasticOnPlastic at this year’s festival, we travelled down to Thirsk in Yorkshire to see what it’s all about.

Now in its 7th year, The Big Feastival is a unique festival experience that blends top musicians with the best food you can think of, along with entertainment to keep the kids thoroughly entertained from morning to night.
Hosted on Alex James’ farm nestled in the Cotswolds, you won’t be disappointed with the music line up with Basement Jaxx, Craig David and Paloma Faith headlining the weekend.

Since becoming a family of three, we have merged our love of summer music festivals with keeping our five year old little lady entertained. Getting the family friendly festival blend right is something we’ve been perfecting over the last few years, so here’s our handpicked top 5 family festivals with environmental consciousness of 2018 for you.

Just So Festival, 17-19 August, Rode Hall, Cheshire

Just So Festival is the perfect place to immerse small minds in creative memory making. It’s the place dreams are made of, with interactive installations wherever you turn. The Spellbound Forest at dusk is a magical place to be – gather around a picture perfect campfire for bedtime stories, drum circles and magic being made. You’ll find babies well catered for with a line up especially for them – we highly recommend baby yoga and story time is a right treat. Don’t miss out of Saturday evening’s Tribal Tournament where costumes have been handcrafted months in advance and the atmosphere is electric. There’s heaps more on the line up since our last visit, so take a look and plan your trip.

Timber Festival, 6-8 June, Feanedock, the National Forest

From the makers of Just So Festival, comes a brand new imaginative creation for 2018, Timber Festival. Set in the depths of the National Forest, is a festival that blends environmental appreciation and the arts. Music will take you from morning to night as you take part in singing the Dawn Chorus or stay awake for a Secret Midnight Gig. For families you’ll find immersive theatre, ariel acrobatics from trees and have the chance to delve into the world of bees and even learn a pollen packing dance. This is a festival to reconnect you with nature and assist you in coming away a more relaxed and energised version of yourself, make sure you get involved in a guided run at sunset and don’t miss out on the eco spa.

Camp Bestival, 26-29 July, Lulworth Castle, Dorset

Camp Bestival holds the title as the best UK Family Friendly Festival, so it’s a must to include in this list. You’ll find music, family theatre, comics and amazing food. Headlining you’ll see Simple Minds, Rick Astley. For the kids there’s a UK festival exclusive taking place; ZSL London Zoo: Gruesome Nature Live! An interactive musical show featuring original songs, you can find out the frightful facts about some truly grisly creatures, including who’s got the largest, slimiest eyeball, and which species of animal can endure fire, ice and radiation and even survive in outer space, plus many more monstrous truths.

The Big Feastival , 25-26 August, Alex James’ Farm, The Cotswolds

The Big Feastival is a treat for grown ups and children alike. This festival really blends a grown up festival feel with the most amazing organic food options and music line up, with heaps of activities to keep the kids entertained too. Justin Fletcher kicks off the main stage, with Paloma Faith closes it. Check out our full preview here.

The countdown is on. With less than 50 sleeps until Boomtown 2017, we are very excited to see what Chapter 9 of the story has in store.

If you read our last feature, you’ll be pretty clued up about what Boomtown has to offer, being one of the UK’s most innovative independent festivals. Boomtown leads the way in terms of set design and production values, offering its 60,000 attendees a fully immersive, theatrically-led experience.

Just So Festival is a curious place for a two year old and the perfect place to experience our first ever eco family festival.

We arrived at Rode Hall in Cheshire on Friday morning; after a short queue of traffic we pitched our tent and hung up our bunting. If the memories of Glastonbury have put you off festival camping, then let me assure you there is space a plenty and the toilets and showers were the cleanest we have ever seen.