One of our favourite summer events over the last few years has been the Just So festival. Last year my sister and I took the children and we had a ball. We dressed up as bees, danced our socks off and sang our little hearts out – and that was just the adults.
The children adore this festival and my youngest is at the age where he will get so much more out of it this year. A multicoloured, bubble blowing, giant snail must look absolutely wondrous to a toddler!
This year’s Just So line-up is looking fantastic, with so much variation in both music and entertainment. I’m pleased to see some of my favourites returning though. I’m so looking forward to seeing the Zong Zing Allstars again and I’m thrilled to see Thingumabob and the Thingumajigs in the programme too. For something new, I’m excited to hear the Hallé Children’s Choir who are bringing a performance called ‘How the Leopard Got His Spots’. I expect it will be utterly beautiful and I can’t wait.
An absolute gem of a tradition, the Tribal Tournament brings out everyone’s super creative talents. Some of the costumes I’ve seen over the past couple of years have been phenomenal! As I said earlier, we decided to be bees last year and we may well do the same again this year since we have the costumes.
Tribe members earn golden pebbles throughout the weekend, delivering them to their tribal leader as they go. The main event for the tribes is then held on the Sunday, when everyone comes together to find out which tribe has the most pebbles and is the champion! Golden pebbles are available from festival vendors and performers in return for doing something great. Tell a joke, do a funny dance, show off your uniqueness in some way and you’re in with a chance of a golden pebble.
There is so much going on at Just So that you can’t possibly see it all. It’s a very good idea to buy a programme when you arrive so you can roughly plan out what you want to do with your weekend. Having said that, one of the highlights for us was Zong Zing and we just happened to be walking by Footlights when they were playing.
There are several new areas this year according to the Just So website. I’m looking forward to discovering Wonderland, where there are to be musical workshops, author talks and night time DJ sets. Another new area is The Ministry of Games where there is apparently going to be the Biggest Ever Pass the Parcel – that sounds like fun!
Just So wouldn’t be Just So without The Spellbound Forest and Ian Douglas the Storyteller. Ian is utterly brilliant as he draws you in with his tales. Even if you’re not really paying attention at first, by the end of the story you are completely immersed. One thing that was disappointing last year was that people were talking loudly while Ian was storytelling. If you’re down in the Spellbound Forest and Ian is telling a story, your day will be all that bit brighter for having listened instead of chatting to your neighbour.
Oh, the food. The food at Just So is YUM! It isn’t cheap, but it is absolutely delicious. We usually treat ourselves to one bought meal per day whilst we’re at the festival, then eat at the tent the rest of the time. When you’re a family of five it isn’t always affordable to eat out for every meal, but if you don’t try at least some of the amazing street foods then you really are missing out on the complete festival experience.
And if you’re trying the food, it’d be pretty rude not to sample at least one fancy beverage, right?
The Just So site opens on Friday at around lunch time for campers, and we need to leave on Monday morning. It’s three days of whimsical, magical, pure fun and it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Tickets are on sale over on the Just So website now.