“The golden age of travel” at the 2015 Just So Festival

It's a Wild Rumpus at Just So Festival 2015

It's a Wild Rumpus at Just So Festival 2015 - Credit: Archant

The multi award-winning Just So Festival is one of the top arts festivals in the UK for families and is right on our doorstep.

Getting Tribal at Just So Festival

Getting Tribal at Just So Festival - Credit: Archant

This year’s theme was “The golden age of travel” and stepping through a showstopping suitcase archway, families – including my own - were transported immediately into an outdoor adventure like no other in the beautiful Rode Hall Estate, near Congleton.

It’s a weekend event, but day tickets are available, which we took advantage of. After passing through “Grand Central” complete with Passport Office, Bureau de Change (where nature rules the stock market) and mischievous luggage porters we were spoilt for choice for the art, music, literature, comedy and theatre for families to try out, watch, join in or laugh at.

Something for the grown-ups at Just So Festival 2015

Something for the grown-ups at Just So Festival 2015 - Credit: Archant

The Festival is stunningly imaginative with many different areas to explore. Highlights for my eight and 12 year old included a Comic Book Workshop in the New Curiosity Shop area in the Spellbound Forest, seeing poet John Hegley on the Footlights Stage, comedian James Campbell on the Woodland Stage, taking part in Massive Battleships and witnessing the amazing aerial theatre show “Planetary” in The High Seas area. We were also highly entertained when we caught sight of the (organised!) massive pillow fight which looked like a lot of fun on the eccentric Village Green area, for weekend campers.

Our day was rounded off with taking part (albeit peripherally) in the incredible Tribal Parade. Families attending the Festival can opt to be fishes, foxes, owls, stags or lions and take part in games and earn points all weekend. On Sunday each tribe meets and walks to a grand finale at the Footlights stage to see who has won. Even if you don’t opt to dress up (and we didn’t) it’s a great experience to be part of; watching the little ones completely caught up in the fun of it all and in a whole other world of their own is just magical. We finished our day with Mark Radcliffe’s (from BBC Radio 6 Music) band, “Galleon Blast”.

The smaller children are indeed spoilt for choice with things to do, including Bubble Hour, a Fairy City and Fairy Ball and a Pirate Training Camp as well as a whole area called “Peekaboo”, which devoted to the under fours.

This is an incredible event; the imagination and planning that has gone into it is just extraordinary and we should be very grateful that it lies just on our doorstep. Book now for next year and make some memories you or your children will never forget.

The Just So Festival 2016 will run from 19 – 21 August 2016 with early bird tickets now on sale at www.justsofestival.org.uk

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