What a wonderful weekend we had at the Just So Festival in Cheshire. It was packed full of family fun. We made lots of great memories that there are almost too many to share with you in one blog post.
As soon as you walk under the Just So sign and enter the festival site you feel like you are stepping into a magical world.
A chance to forget about all the ‘normal’ day-to-day stuff and get lost in the most creative and imaginative place. Where you can dress up and where pockets of theatre and performance pop up from time to time. Where there are drawing workshops and you can try your hand (or should I say foot) at learning the Charleston or enjoying a silent disco. Where there are sing-alongs and stories being told by the campfire. Where you are allowed to do things that you might not usually be allowed to do at home; have a pillow or jelly fight, have a midnight feast, build a structure with jelly beans.
Everyone seems to be there for the same reasons; to kick back, connect with their loved ones and spread a little bit of love and laughter. I think those are some pretty good intentions to have for a weekend.
In the end we decided that we would join the ‘Fish tribe’. It wasn’t just the children that had fun collecting the golden pebbles that score your team points, but the grown ups also seemed equally passionate about their chosen tribes. The Tribal Score Board was always up on the ‘Village Green’ so you could check in with how your tribe was doing.
There were some amazing costumes worn over the weekend. It’s incredible how creative folk can be and how much time people must have spent on their costumes.
It was so great to explore all the various parts of the festival, and I particularly loved the ‘Forgotten Courtyard’ and the ‘Spellbound Forest’. There were so many interesting nooks and crannies, and wherever you turned there seemed to be something fun happening.
One of my absolute favourite parts of the weekend was hitting a cake with a tennis racket into a fishing net that Bailey and Leo were holding, to a roar of cheers. We had four attempts, and in this case it was ‘fourth time lucky’. I had a brief insight into what it must feel like to be Andy Murray.
The live theatre that we watched was perfect for the whole family. The acts seemed to know how to entertain children and adults alike. Every now and again you would see a pool of people gathering around something and folk would wander over to join in and watch. Two favourites were ‘Fairies in Trees’ and ‘Anyday: Max Calaf Seve’ which involved a lot of clever tricks with a trampoline in a completely unexpected way, and had both the adults and children giggling.
A highlight for Bailey was ‘Away With the Fairies’, where she got to meet the Fairy Queen and write her wish to hang on the Fairy Wishing Line. She also got to join in and try weaving with natural objects. We have done this at home before, but this was a giant weave between two trees, and children could add to it when passing by.
On Sunday afternoon the sun came out and we nicely baked as we sat on a blanket and watched Bailey happily skipping around the Maypole holding her ribbon. It was 30 minutes of pure joy. Hats off to the lady who was teaching this group of about 20 children skip and weave in and out of one another whilst holding their ribbons. You would have expected it to turn into a tangle of utter chaos but she and the children did a brilliant job. It was so wonderful to watch this group of little people get such simple pleasure from dancing around the Maypole with their ribbons. All, of course to an accompaniment of some lovely folk music.
The lantern parade was truly magical. It took place at twilight, just as the sun was setting. Making a lantern was one of the activities you could join in with on Friday afternoon and Saturday. The three of us made our lantern together during the rain on Saturday morning. It was fun to make something together as a team; My husband, Leo was in charge of constructing the willow frame, and Bailey and I were responsible for covering the ‘moon’ shape with tissue paper.
I think most of the festival turned out to join in, as everyone gathered with their glowing lanterns and the procession wound its way through the darkness.
On Monday morning we headed home with happy hearts and a strong urge to have a bath.
If you would like to attend the Just So Festival 2018, early bird tickets are now on sale and you can buy yours and find out more information here. For any international readers, there is a Just So Festival in New Zealand in February 2018 (find out more here) and the festival also takes place in Brazil.
This post is in collaboration with The Just So festival, but as always all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the blog posts that make Geoffrey and Grace possible.