Some­thing Just So spe­cial about fes­ti­val...

Solihull News - - FAMILY LIFE - ZOE CHAM­BER­LAIN zoe. cham­ber­lain@ trinitymirror. com

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

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