Tuesday 29 August 2017

Just So Festival Review 2017: An Amazing Technology Free Weekend

Having been home from France a mere 76 hours, just about enough time to wash everything, we set off again for the Just So Festival. This is our 3rd year as visitors and it was probably my favourite of them all. We were already pretty relaxed and settled into the pace as soon as we collected our wristbands and went in through the Just So archway...

Just So Festival takes everything that we remember from childhood and gives it back to us, usually large scale and over-the-top. Fairies in the woods and pirates on the high seas are real here, as are pillow fights, woodland dens and midnight feasts. Sit at a campfire and sing your heart out, or dance the night away to live music or disco. Make a building from jelly beans, picnic anytime and roll down a great big hill. You can even run away to train with the circus...

The staff and volunteers are what really make Just So Festival special. Everyone has a smile and can't do enough to help you. It's no wonder that they recently received another award for accessibility. The entire time you are there, you feel like a valued guest amongst new friends.

One of the first areas you reach when you enter is the huge green, this year half dedicated to the Peekaboo area, for children aged 0-4. This area is sponsored by one of my favourite companies, Weleda, and includes massage, baby baths, yoga, musical and messy play - as well as samples and advice. Our camping neighbours included the gorgeous StyleBySquidge instagrammer - he especially enjoyed the painting.

The site is spread over several areas, but they're all close by each other and each has plenty to do when you get there, so you can have a sit down and are never worn out from walking.

The woods are very special at Just So, and you are never quite sure what or who you'll bump into. The 'Barefoot Walk' was not something my boys wanted to take part in - despite me spending half the weekend asking them to put something on their feet! We had a lot of fun with the solar-powered instruments by the High Seas though.

And we discovered what the cast of Tales Of Animalia do when it rains between shows! It's amazing how many people you can fit under one gazebo. It actually barely rained and we had some gorgeous weather on Sunday to make up for it.

The Actual Reality Arcade was a huge highlight and we could have spent hours in there. Giant versions of arcade games with humans in every role. We laughed until we cried - and so did several bystanders...

There was awesome food! The vendors are chosen for quality and everything we ate was utterly delicious. It was pricey though on average. Single person pizzas at £8-£10 each is out of our league, although they would give you a free pizza if you had a cheesy joke they hadn't heard. I scored a real bargain on Sunday with the gorgeous Amrutha vegetable pakoras - they didn't have any small trays left so gave me a huge portion for £4 - cheers guys!

If you had the stomach for it, you could of course tempt your palate with the Insect Eating in the Social Barn. Once again, thankful I'm vegetarian...

There was no coffee down by the Silver Screen and High Seas areas this year - boo! There was however a bar at the campfire and it did work exceedingly well for a nice evening tipple before stories, singsong and bed. Lovely beers, cider or lager for under a fiver a pint. Better than in Manchester.

You can't mention the campfire and stories without mentioning long-standing North West Storyteller Ian Douglas, who married his wife Jo on the Friday. The woodland was decked out and it was especially beautiful. We were lucky enough to witness his proposal at Just So Festival last year, so we wouldn't have ever missed it. I've never seen so many people around the campfire as there were that evening and the atmosphere was awesome. Congratulations to them both.

The campfire was only beaten for us by one activity, and that was the Pillow Fight. You'd never believe it if you didn't witness it. This is the first time it's been dry weather and everyone was out to celebrate - it was epic.

Even those who didn't want to fight with the pack got plenty of opportunity to join in... Thanks to Jane Hodgepodgedays for the beautiful photos of my 7 year old...

A highlight for everyone is the results of the Tribal Tournament. This goes on all weekend and as you take part in activities, smile at strangers or 'walk to the car the most times', you can collect golden pebbles for your chosen team. It was very exciting watching the Baghdaddies do sound check for their set and knowing the entire field would be full of around 2000 people in 10 minutes time as the parades of teams arrived...

We've always been a bit disorganised regarding teams and this year was no different, with two of us supporting Stags, me Bees and my youngest Foxes. We all collected pebbles and did very well. Foxes won, Bees were second overall and Stags retained a regal air of dignity throughout.

The Just So Festival is awesome. We spent 2 1/2 days there and it was like having a whole extra holiday. There is no better way of letting kids be kids and adults be kids too...

Special thanks to all of the staff - including the lovely and incredibly helpful lady who directed us in, and the security who found and returned Lancashire Lass and our missing 7 year olds within 5 minutes (they didn't know they were lost).

For even more of what's on offer, because it's far too much for one person to see, let alone write about (I didn't even mention the UNSA show, the jelly fight, the Woodland Theatre, Wild Food Foraging etc). you can read my previous posts about Just So Festival 2015, Just So 2016 and the Mystery Machine On Tour.

Early bird tickets for Just So Festival 2018 (17 – 19 August, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire) are on sale NOW at at special early bird prices. Under 3s free. Find out more on the Just So Festival website.  

We attended Just So Festival as guests in order to review and for this I couldn't feel more lucky.


  1. What a fab festival that the whole family can enjoy. The food looked and sounded scrummy too. Definitely one to consider with our three next year (if you can guarantee us some good weather!)

    1. Pahahaha - we were all delighted with the weather! Spoilt we were :D Sadly I can only guarantee rain, but wellies are good! :D

  2. This looks brilliant What a great experience for kids and for the adults to enjoy. Love this x

    1. It is so lovely - so many memories made for all of us :) I felt like we'd had a second complete holiday x


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!