Last weekend we spent 3 amazing days camping at our first family festival. We attended the Just So festival at the Rode Hall Estate in Cheshire. I’m not sure when I first heard of Just So, probably when I started reading parenting blogs when I was pregnant, 3 years ago but ever since I have dreamed of visiting what looked like a magical family festival. F is coming up to 2 and a half so we felt there was a good chance that this year she would be old enough to appreciate lots of it. Luckily we were right and she loved it. Let’s be honest, I loved it too, perhaps more so than the ladybird.
We arrived Friday lunch time, a little after the gates opened at noon. Lots of tents were already up so I’m guessing the gates opened earlier than stated. We had to carry our camping stuff past lots of tents already pitched to find space for our tent and make two further trips back to the car which was quiet tiring. When we packed up on Monday morning though we were able to move the car to the day trip car park which was much nearer to the tent, so it wasn’t half as bad.
The festival opened at 2pm but it was nearer 4pm when we stepped through the arch way and got our first glimpse of the festival. It was every bit as magical as I expected, perhaps the site was a little smaller than I imagined but I soon realised it was plenty big enough. We mostly just explored the site Friday afternoon and went to watch the Marie Celestial, a circus theatre show in the evening. This show was one of my highlights of the festival.
On Saturday we packed in lots of things that I had highlighted in the programme before we went including Adventures of Pom (a show for the under 4s, the ladybird sat still for the longest I’ve ever seen entranced by this), bubble hour (giant bubbles, the ladybird loved this), James Campbell comedy for kids (aimed at over 6’s but the ladybird was asleep in her buggy and myself and my husband laughed lots), Bird (outdoor theatre about the friendship between a boy and a bird, the ladybird didn’t sit still but no one seemed to mind as she was at least quiet) and music from David Gibb (great music for children and it was glorious sunshine during this). Unfortunately we missed the lantern parade as a storm hit and we took to our tent to shelter from the rain, thunder and lightning as the power was switched off on site anyway. We did make it back in the evening to watch another great band Electric Swing Circus whilst amazingly the ladybird slept in her buggy.
On Sunday we heard great storytelling for children, explored the high seas (they had a lovely big pile of sand which the lady bird loved playing in), watched some of the sports day, got caught in the rain again (the husband did at least have a lesson in juggling whilst we were sheltering from the rain) and watched a great slap stick show Actioon! by a Spanish company (Argot Theatre). Of course the festival was rounded off with the tribal tournament (we were foxes and who came second). After that we stayed to danced to the last band on the footlights’ stage “Galleon blast” fronted by Mark Radcliffe who played lots of rum-soaked songs (perfect for the little pirates in the audience) and Pogues covers (including the fairytale of New York!). Finally we popped in to the bonfire bands in the spell bound forest before heading back to the tent, tired but with many happy memories of a fantastic weekend. I can’t wait until next time!