Just So Festival – a fun filled family adventure

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.

Just So, the family festival is just three weeks away


The award-winning Just So Festival (21 – 23 August), produced by Wild Rumpus announces its brilliantly bonkers programme based on the golden age of travel for 2015, the largest programme in its six year history.

An annual, intimate, weekend-long camping festival for children and their families the Just So Festival provides an imaginative outdoor adventure like no other, showcasing the best art, music, literature, comedy and theatre for families all embedded and entwined in a wondrous landscape of woodland clearings, rolling parkland, arboreal amphitheatres and lakeside spots in the Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire.

With an incredible mix of regional, national and international artists and performers, it promises to take you on an expedition of mischief and mayhem, to lands full of magical midnight feasts, raucous pillow fights, tribal tournaments, curious creatures and breathtaking beauty.

The eagerly anticipated Tribal Tournament will once more be headed up by that motley crew from immersive theatre specialists LAS Theatre. The Fox, Frog, Owl, Fish, Stag and Lion tribes will compete in ridiculous games and all manner of unexpected shenanigans. Find your tribe on festival Sunday and round off the festival in style with the Tribal Parade. Inquisitive and adventure driven family explorers can expect to tour the most curious of lands and encounter creatures and characters beyond your wildest dreams.

A visit to Grand Central complete with Passport Office, Bureau de Change and mischievous luggage porters is advice worth heeding, before venturing into the uncharted territory that is Just So Festival 2015. Head to our new eccentric Village Green to encounter ridiculous knitting, toddler jousting, pillow fighting and a nonsensical, outrageous game of Consequences.

Roll up, roll up at Head over Heels for the most spectacular and flamboyant area of Just So yet. Expect tumblers and somersaults, aerial mastery and juggling galore. Gasp and faint at amazing shows, and try your hand yourself at all manner of circus amazement.

Step into the Spellbound Forest to a place quite extraordinary. Woodland theatre, dancing and exploring by day, bonfire bands, stories and songs as dusk falls and the woodland magic really begins

Whispers have reached our ears of a Fairy City and Fairy Ball found within Away With The Fairies, an enchanting woodland, home of the Fairy Queen.

Make your way into the perilous High Seas supported by SunSense. Maps will be needed, encounter massive battleships, pirate training camp and watch out for the kraken.

At Footlights and Jitterbug we will see foot stomping, wild whirling and swirling, and unmissable family music and theatre performances including poet John Hegley, comedian James Campbell and authors Emma Carroll and Paul Stickland. When evening comes, dance the night away here.

At Silver Screen take part in BFI slapstick workshops, delve into the Picture Palace, encounter eccentric producers from the turn of the century, or bring a blanket while night falls and snuggle up to watch family classics.

Peekaboo, supported by Weleda, is where to find the best arts (and right royal facilities) for the tiniest visitors. Music, paint, clay, dens and bubbles, listening to stories and songs and baby bath time will ensure the littlies doze off to the sound of our choral lullabies as dusk falls.

Don’t miss The Marie Celestial. A co-commission between the Northern Festivals Network, headed up by Just So, and Glastonbury Festival, this melancholy, mechanical beast will form the incredible beating heart of Just So Festival and other Northern festivals in 2015.

Winners of Festival Kidz Gold Award for three years running Just So Festival aims to create memories treasured by families year-round. Rowan Hoban and Sarah Bird, Directors of Wild Rumpus who produce large scale family arts events in wild natural landscapes set up Just So Festival in 2009 to create a spellbinding weekend where families could play, dance and create together and see the world class breathtaking outdoor arts.

Rowan says “At Just So 2015, audience members will be journeying through the most magical, awe-inspiring landscape for three nights. They must watch carefully the whole journey…as Roald Dahl once said, the best adventures and greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places”.

Sarah says “we immerse families into a world of imagination, letting their creativity run wild. We believe in the power of a wonderful moment to change the way that a family engages in the arts together. If we don’t give you goosebumps we are not doing it right.

For the full line-up, further information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.

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