What a weekend! What a week! We’ve been none stop recently and are now resting in Hooper Towers. Out of the many adventures we have just had, we also got the opportunity to go to the Just So Festival, Rode Hall, Cheshire. The festival ran from Friday to Sunday (19th – 21st August 2016).
Just So Festival
Just So, is a festival for families with children. We’d recently came back from Kendal Calling, where children seemed to be an after thought so we were really looking forward to a festival dedicated towards children. The festival is in its 7th year now and creates a fun environment for children to explore and experience shows and opportunities. It is a relatively small festival with around 5,000 ticket sales, which is ideal for navigating and dropping into workshops and performances.
We’d set off from Wales around 10am and had a three and a half hour drive in the rain towards Cheshire. Our little tiny Nissan Note was jammed with all our camping gear as we’d been camping since Tuesday. The tent was soggy, our clothes were soggy, but our spirits were up and were ready to festival.
We made a detour to a Gastro Pub on route, which seemed to be a festival tradition now. It’s like your last luxury meal before the food trucks. We called into the Pound Inn, Leebotwood.
When we eventually arrived at Rode Hall the car parks were filling up and we were diverted to a new field to start a new car park (as the other routes had got too muddy). This was perfect. The reason being that the camping field was literally 100 Metres from the car. A small 3 minute walk and we could ferry our gear to out pitch. We were nearly set up when we spotted Samantha and the North East Family Fun crew. So they started to pitch up near us.
Wristbands and Soreen
After setting up we set off to the ticket centre to exchange our tickets for wristbands. All parents were encouraged to add their mobile number on their child’s wristband. As we had our bands installed we were offered some Soreen. Which confused me a little bit and I sort of stood there in a daze. I know it sounds daft, but I didn’t know what she meant by would you like some Soreen. Turns out Soreen had been a sponsor and each family were given a Tupperware of 8 Soreen bars. Luckily I love the stuff and it filled a gap between activities.
Tribes and the Tournament.
One of the strange but cool things Just so does is encourage you to join a tribe and earn points for your tribe. Out of the 6 tribes to choose from we chose Stags… but when we could only find fox costume kits in a fancy dress shop in Aberystwyth we chose foxes.
After all “Foxes Foxes are the Best! Foxes Foxes Never Rest!”. It was only really on the last day that we got into the Tribe thing and when we embraced it, it was brilliant. A fellow fox walked over to us and advised us of a way to earn Golden Pebbles for our tribe. If we visited the information centre and told a joke or sung a song we would earn a pebble. So Imogen and Abigail went in and earned their gold. We then had to find the Fox leader to hand in the pebbles, to get added to our tribal score.
Over the course of the weekend the scoreboard kept being updated. Foxes were in the lead at the end of Friday. Saturday evening saw the Foxes lose the lead by an erroneous score update for the lions. Someone broke into the score board and turned the Lions score from 80 points to 990 points. By the morning this was all resolved.
Imogen spotted a food van over in the High Seas area serving “Wood fired Pizza”. It was lovely, and then became the benchmark for her dinner choices from then on. Her pizza of choice was Ham and pineapple, but she would sometimes pick the ham off and leave it. Abigail is a plain Cheese and Tomato kind of girl.
Pudding was a Giant Crepe filled with Nutella and strawberries. Between the two of them they managed to eat two-thirds of it and thrusted the remainder into my hands. I won’t deny it, it was lush. The timing was lousy though as we’d just bumped into Samantha and family again and I’m chomping down the fat end of a filled Nutella Sauce Bomb. It was on my hands, chin and I didn’t know then best and quickest way to not look anti social or be a greedy pig.
The Social area was home to the main stage, where the bands were playing. Their sets were staged at about 1 hour intervals with a 45 minute set.
Here you also found a selection of food trucks, bars and a dining barn. This was exciting for the kids, to sit on hay bails and eat dinner off a makeshift table created from hay bales and a door. Food was reasonably priced and the drinks weren’t off the map either.
I would be lying if I said the weather was perfect. The best way to describe it was hot and humid with a good offering of rain. From the Friday night till the Sunday Morning there were intermittent showers. But Just So offered entertainment in tents, which allowed shelter from the rain.
When it rained we popped in to hear an author read from their book. Which surprisingly lead to some of our best experiences at Just So.
Just So Overall
We didn’t know where to go with Just So at the beginning, there was just so many activities to take in that we couldn’t decide. The festival is spread out over a large site, which means there is quite a bit of walking between areas. This also meant that you weren’t in over crowded areas too. The weather sort of put a downer on the days, but as it was warm we dried out quickly and were ready for action. The selection of Food on offer was good. With limited funds we tried out several, Imogen’s Favourite was Pizza, Abigail’s was corn, we opted for Greek Gyros as our favourite.
We left the festival on Sunday night smiling, giggling and humming / singing tunes that we’d heard. Overall Just so was a Successful first festival for the Hooper Kids and the Big Hooper’s bought into it and loved it too. Roll on 2017!
Early bird tickets for Just So Festival 2017 (18 – 20 August, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire) are on sale from Friday 26 August at www.justsofestival.org.uk at special early bird prices of £120 (adults), £45 (child) for weekend camping, £70 (adult), £25 (child) for 2 day non-camping, £40 (adult), £15 (child) for day tickets. Under 3s free.