Festival review: Just So 2018

This year was our second at Just So and we had been looking forward to it for many months. We had chosen bees as our tribe and had been keeping a close eye on all the progress posted on the Just So facebook page.

Once the weekend of Just So rolled around though I found myself with a pulled muscle in my shoulder, meaning that putting up the tent was going to be painful! Fortunately though I had my sister coming with me, to help me with both the tent and the children.

I arrived with my two youngest children at around 3pm on the Friday and festival programming had already begun, so once we’d said our hellos to fellow blogger Jane and family we collected our wristbands and made our way into the festival site.

There isn’t any way of seeing absolutely everything when you’re at a festival with so many performances taking place, so you have to just get to what you can. These were some of our highlights.

Spellbound Forest

Our first port of call, as always, was the Spellbound Forest. Ian Douglas is an exceptional storyteller and his attendance at festivals is always a highlight. As we sat around the (as yet unlit) campfire listening to one of Ian’s thoroughly engaging tales, I leafed through the festival programme (available for ¬£5 on site) and made a note of what else we’d like to do and see over the weekend.

It’s always worth going to the Spellbound Forest a little earlier to get a good seat!

Flamingo Lounge

The Flamingo Lounge was new to Just So this year so I wasn’t sure what would be on offer there. Flamingo Lounge housed a wide range of entertainments including a silent disco, dance workshops, debates and martial arts. My personal favourite was the retro disco each night, but though my 7 year old put up with my wailing along to Whitney Houston for a while, I was not allowed to stay until the wee hours!

Zong Zing

We just happened upon Zong Zing on Friday night. Wandering around the festival site, gathering our bearings, we followed the enticing Cavacha beats of the London African underground. I have searched high and low online for their chicken dance song but to no avail – we all loved it! You literally cannot resist the urge to dance!

The Tribes

One of the things that sets Just So apart from other festivals is their tribal tournament tradition. Choose a tribe and collect golden pebbles throughout the weekend. The tribe with the most golden pebbles are the winners! 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. (Works best for kids, fyi).

Most people dress up according to their tribe – it’s a great chance to embrace your inner child! We chose bees this year.

Just So gives us priceless family time

The costumes range from a simple fancy dress headband to all out transformations, and every one is wonderful

Roll Up, Roll Up

This whole area of Just So was such great fun. We could practise our circus skills, watch the amazing Bulzini family perform (even the youngest of them!) and have a turn or ten on the Custard Catwalk!

Robot did the Custard Catwalk no less than ten times!

The Lost Words (and some found ones)

We saw Seek, Find, Speak’s performance of The Lost Words at Timber Festival back in June, and they were performing throughout the weekend at Just So too. This tike though the audience were invited up to perform a reading at the end of the show.

The Lost Words holds a special place in our hearts

What makes this a highlight for me is that Robot, who lacks a certain degree of self-confidence, volunteered to read! I am so proud of him for trying something new and pushing his own boundaries.

And that, my friends, is what festivals are perfect for. For widening your horizons, broadening your view, tempting you to try new things and discovering more of what you love. They are a real adventure, a place to bond as a family, to do everything and nothing, to experience new things or revisit old favourites.

Just So was the last family festival of the year for us, and I cannot wait to see what adventures next year’s festivals bring!

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