Just So is an award winning family-festival set in the beautiful surrounds of Rode Hall Estate, near Congelton in Cheshire. Now in its sixth year the festival is run by Wild Rumpus team Rowan and Sarah, who are well known for creating imaginative large-scale outdoor experiences.
Unlike some of the bigger family festivals Just So is unique in that the whole weekends entertainment is solely dedicated to children, young people and their families. Even the bands are chosen for their family-friendly sounds.
Set across ten main areas there’s a wonderful array of engaging outdoor activities from music, immersive theatre, literature, arts, film, and most importantly adventure of every kind. Families have the freedom to explore, dance, chat and play in an uninhibited way that nurtures all round memory making.
There’s a variety of activities to capture the imagination of any child and adult from woodland walks, tribal tournaments, circus skills workshops, pillow fighting, lantern making, paper plane creating, campfire songs and storytelling, giant battleships, pirate training, dancing workshops, fairyland house and wand making and intrepid explorer training.
Peekaboo is designated area for the youngest of festivalgoers with baby yoga, sensory workshops, baby massages, bathtime and lullabies to sooth them to sleep.
There are no shortage of toilets on site, a mix of portaloos and flushing toilet blocks. Everything was super clean as one would hope at a family festival. The site facilities were exceptional from baby-changing tents, hot showers (rarely any queues), trolley hire and a buggy park.
Most things wound down by 10.30pm and it was lights out by midnight…. this was the quietest campsite I have ever had the pleasure of staying on ‘shhhhh’. It made a refreshing change not to be kept awake by the rumbling sounds of some distant dance tent.
Eating out at a festival can get prohibitively expensive, so many brought picnics & snacks to keep the costs down. For those who indulged there was a great selection of gastronomic delights from street food vendors selling falafels, wood-fired pizzas, pulled pork, fish & chips, paella, hot dogs, pasta, corn on the cob and frozen yoghurts. Hoban & Son’s travelling bars in converted ambulances provided a superb range of handpicked beers, ciders and ales.
A torrential storm brought Saturdays festivities to an early close, which meant the eagerly awaited lantern parade was called off. Luckily they got the power back up in time Electro Swing Circus who brought the festival alive again with the mix of sassy swing and stomping electro beats.
A highlight for me over the weekend was meeting the Gruffalo in the Spellbound forest. It’s amazing how quickly you can feel like a child again. That’s the thing I finally figured out…for adults Just So is all about getting in touch with your inner child, relinquishing the shackles of rat race and having heaps of unbridled FUN!
Many of our friends have dropped off the festival scene since entering parenthood, fearing festivals are too dirty or too stressful to cope with kids – I beg to differ. I have found the answer. Just So Festival has an array of offerings to suit everyone’s taste and in comfortable and stunning surroundings. I can’t think of a better way to spend some quality family time. There’s absolutely no way your children can get bored at Just So, and neither will you.