Something Just So special about festival...
THERE are few festivals that bring people together in the way that the Just So Festival does.
Whilst there’s all sorts of different entertainment taking place across 14 glades and marquees at Rode Hall near Stoke on Trent, most families come together to take part in the beautiful lantern parade and rousing tribal tournament.
There’s a camaraderie at this festival unlike any other, a feeling that all the mums and dads are all looking out for each other and their kids, and all there to have a great time.
Before attending each family decides upon their animal tribe – be it fox, owl, frog, stag, lion, fish or bee – and dresses up accordingly, if they feel so inclined.
The challenge is then to collect as many golden pebbles as possible at the festival, be it by telling jokes, singing, collecting acorns or anything else they can think of.
Our kids dressed as foxes and loved this aspect of it, really throwing themselves into getting every last golden pebble they could to hand them over to tribal leader Mrs Fox and rise up the all important leaderboard.
And they were over the moon when the foxes won the tournament following the tribal procession. Over the weekend, the children made their own lanterns and loved parading them in the dark, led by the wonderful Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band, before watching a fireworks display. There was also an old- fashioned sports day, complete with a tug of war, and an almighty feather- filled pillow fight that got everyone together on the Village Green again.
It was raucous and loud and fun but there were also plenty of quiet and relaxing moments at the festival too.
The Woodland Theatre is one of our favourite spots, with the audience sitting on the banks of a hollow with a little wooden stage at the bottom.
Here we enjoyed watching the hilarious comedian James Campbell and a musical show called Peter and the Wolf.
We learnt about Tudor dreams in the Dream Library, sent a postcard to Brazil in the Just So Post Office and danced to the fabulous David Gibb who sang about climbing trees on the Footlights stage.
We toasted marshmallows and listened to campfire stories, watched puppet shows, had a go at circus workshops, hung a wish on the fairy wishing line and went to a retro disco.
The toilets are always lovely and clean at the Just So, the food is fab and the tents are pitched close to the entrance, making everything as easy as possible for families.
There’s even a dedicated Peekaboo section for babies, complete with Weleda massages and tea parties for new mums and dads.
There are other family festivals but the Just So, which is now eight years old, is truly spellbinding for all ages, including grown- ups.
Looking forward to the next one!
Just So Festival 2018 takes place from August 17 to 19 at Rode Hall Estate, near Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.
Tickets are now on sale from www. justsofestival. org. uk at special early bird prices. Under 3s free.
Families enjoying the Just So Festival at Rode Hall, near Stoke on Trent