Wow, what a magic thing twitter is! One day a few months ago I said I wanted to go to a family festival and asked for advice, having never been to any (I know that’s a bit tragic). Go to Just So they said; so we did!
Verdict: BEST family festival ever, what a brilliant one to start with! (Please don’t sell it to someone else, because you guys definitely have the magic touch and creative imaginations which add a touch of magic to the festival).
Curly Headed Boy’s Verdict (5 3/4yrs): BEST HOLIDAY EVER, felt like 11 days!
Best way to approach it: With no plan, just mooch around and find the right thing at the right time. It didn’t work well to have a plan or try to stick to a timetable. Partially because it would mean trying to get across a large area quickly and partially because many of the events didn’t really stick to time plans.
Accommodation: We glamped in style with a Yurt from Fred. I can totally recommend this, as arriving at the festival and being able to dump all our stuff and head off to investigate straight away was fab. Plus, having straight sides has the added advantage of the big hairy northern one of being able to stand up (unlike a bell tent). Also, he was a thoroughly lovely, with an eccentric, intellectual, ‘hmmm not sure I can be bothered to make money out of this’ sort of guy, who apparently chose to rent his yurts to people more because of their enthusiasm, than to make a living from it. My pink whistling kettle was fabulous of course.
Take with you: We bought a radio flyer (big one), which was fabulous for carrying stuff to the tent, for carrying 2 tired kids, and for Little Dimples to sleep in (I hate to admit it, but the big northern one was right about this purchase!). I recommend wellies, fit flops, leggings + short skirt (can cool off it it gets hot), hoody fleece and a pashmina/scarf. Add in a feather bower, flower garland for your hair, and maybe a pair of wings from the fairy glass stall, and you are ready to festival!
Stars of the show: Ironically, the simplest things were the best stars of the festival.
Clay faces: These guys came to our rescue when the fairy queen let us down. They had officially finished, but spent extra time to make a face with Curly headed boy. Please have more of their sessions next year!
Outlaw bootcamp: This girl had an amazing ability with the kids. Curly Headed boy knows all about sneaking now!
Parkour: My god can this guy jump high. I love the philosophy of free running, check out the video below to see what they do. (Kindle readers, look up Free Running Concrete Circus on youtube).
Physics Busters: Simple, but effective. Curly Headed Boy went back to their stall several times because he loves ‘experiments’.
Jumblies: we ran into the green faced, blue handed jumblies and ended up following them into wonderland. Bizarre and brilliant, they were a good example of the surprises at this festival. Plus they managed everything with technical problems.
Steven Cole Author of Astrosaurs was another surprise find, and absolutely hysterical. A high point was when Curly Headed Boy asked him if he would like to get shot by his new bow and arrow. Obviously, we now own lots of his books.
The Tall Trees area: Was my favourite, a hidden magical area with an old painted piano, dib dab & sparkle (do your own face painting), and bed time stories (which stopped 2hrs early, which was a shame).
Stalls: unique, interesting and genuinely nice people.
Zilch Marks Goes to: Fairy queen. There was really no need to queue for her, the kids just wanted to wave at her. She didn’t look that magical and her assistant didn’t look magical at all (there were much more enthusiastic festival goers). She also shut early (2hrs) on the saturday.
Les Peches – loved these guys and had a truly peaceful, magical moment listening to them with the family. (You guys need a better youtube page, then I could have put a song up for you: I loved waikiki beach).
Jon Paul Palombo – I was a huge fan already because he’d said hello on twitter. But now I’m totally convinced he will make it to be really famous, because of the way he managed with no power on the saturday, which shows true class. Obviously, I had to go and see the band again on sunday, just to check out what they sounded like again (nothing to do with the big hairy one thinking I thought they were cute looking).
The Lovely Eggs – I didn’t get these guys, but 5yrs olds totally did. Apparently they were ‘rocking’. Hmmm, I have yet to be convinced, have a listen below and I think you will see why they appealed to the 5yr olds. For me they were a hell of a shock after the lovely acoustic stuff I’d been listening to before, especially when she started out by kicking her guitar!
70′s disco – class!
80′s disco – didn’t start on time on the sunday, so we missed it.
(Check out JonPaul Palombo’s debut single – Jimmy – after the audience participation bit, it is now permanently wedged in my brain.
The Lovely Eggs- tell me if you get them ?
What didn’t work: I think the organisers have an amazing imagination, the place looked like a magic wood, with the most incredibly little touches. But I don’t think they are so good at the practicalities or managing an event of this size. I’m sure they’ll get it more right next year.
Showers would have been good, and more of them!
Food: Too expensive, which I didn’t expect after the forum posts suggesting it would be cheap, so I hadn’t brought any. Plus it wasn’t really as child friendly/simple as I would have liked. Some pasta, jacket potatoes, and more fruit would have been great. Plus many didn’t open in time for breakfast and disappeared early on sunday. A plain old fashioned bacon bap van like you get at outside shopping malls would have been great! Thank god for Dorset Cereals (free boxes), Bear snacks (first time Curly Headed Boy has liked dried fruit), and the organic food box people (selling apples).
More of the simple/popular stuff: There were some great events which could have run all day. Like the clay faces, and outlaw bootcamp.
Luckily the stuff that needed improving really didn’t bother us, as we were looking for an adventure and a touch of magic, and we certainly got that. So if you haven’t been to a festival, then I really recommend you try out Just So as your first one. If you have been to them, but want something really family oriented, then this is definitely for you. In fact I reckon everyone would love it. See you there next year!
Review By: Lisa 'The Mummy Whisperer'