Just So Festival announces new experiences for 2018

Just So Festival, 17 – 19 August 2018, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire.

The multi award-winning family arts festival, produced by Wild Rumpus, will have new areas for families to adventure through in 2018.

Now in its 9th year, Just So is dedicated solely to children and their families, offering astonishing arts and unique experiences. An annual, intimate, weekend-long festival, Just So is an imaginative outdoor adventure like no other. Just So Festival is renowned as one of the top family festivals in the world and the best place to see the best new outdoor arts each year, with sister festivals in New Zealand and Brazil.

With a love of stories and childhood escapades at its heart, Just So Festival enables families to step out of their day to day lives and into a wonderland of world class literature, arts, theatre, dance, music, comedy and creative pursuits together. Underpinned by the Tribal Tournament, the most bonkers competition in the land, it takes audiences (from bumps to great grandparents) on a unique expedition of mischief and mayhem, to lands full of magical midnight feasts, curious creatures, raucous pillow fights, hidden retreats, top notch food, drink and boutique camping options and breathtaking beauty.

NEW FOR 2018

Celebrating 250 years since the first circus in the world was formed by local lad Philip Astley (from Newcastle-Under-Lyme, just 8 miles from the Just So Festival site), Roll Up, Roll Up will be a glorious large-scale, lakeside area, dedicated to all things circus and seaside. In this most spectacular and flamboyant area of Just So, expect tumblers, somersaults and aerial mastery from the best performers in the land. Gasp and faint at amazing shows, try your hand at all manner of circus amazement and relax and play together on the stunning lakeside beach.

The Flamingo Lounge is a new area filled to the brim with all things dance and tripping the light fantastic. Whirl, swirl, disco, cancan, jig, jive, rhumba, spin, strut, shimmy, swing, two-step and throw ALL the shapes together in this gloriously kitsch wonderland.  Take part in unmissable music and dance performances and workshops and when evening comes boogie the night away here too.

Head into the woods to indulge in relaxation, tranquillity and rejuvenation at the brand new Idlewood area.  Enjoy family yoga, tai chi, Indian head massage and reiki. Unwind in hammocks and experience dreamy live music and performance together.

Enter the intriguing and enthralling Playground of Illusions, a new area full of mystery and trickery to see the world in a new light

Head to the new Ministry of Games barn for the ultimate board games experience. Settle down on a sofa and get your game face on. Hone and learn powers of cunning, dexterity, strategy and (ahem) fair play together.  Roll the dice, choose your counter, deal the cards, pick your pieces and come and play some of the best board and parlour games ever. Quick or slow, little or large there’ll be games for all.

Together with these new areas, family festival goers can also:

  • Dance like wild things to the outstanding music line-up of over 20 live bands on the Footlights stage.
  • Head to the Peekaboo Garden for the best arts for the tiniest visitors (an entire area of innovative performances, activities and right royal facilities for 0-4s).
  • Step into the extraordinary Spellbound Forest for the enchanting Woodland Theatre, barefoot walk, nature and bush crafts, den building, tree climbing, campfire tales, music and songs as dusk falls and the forest magic really begins.
  • Stretch your knowledge of the world around you, meet some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors sharing the best new books out this year and take part in workshops, provocations, debates and talks in the beautiful Forgotten Courtyard.
  • Head to the eccentric Village Green to be wowed by some of the best new outdoor arts performances created especially for festival audiences in 2018.
  • Relax at The High Seas. On the Left Bank of the stunning Rode Pool lake, make Lanterns for the Just So Lantern Parade, enjoy beautiful vistas and take a rowing boat out on to the tranquil expanse of water.
  • Take part in the Tribal Tournament – the Bee, Fox, Frog, Owl, Fish, Stag and Lion tribes will compete in ridiculous games, challenges and all manner of unexpected shenanigans to earn golden pebbles and be crowned the winning tribe of 2018. Don’t miss the legendary Just So Festival pillow fight and Tribal Parade.
  • Enjoy an incredible array of artisan food and drink at The Social and across the festival site.
  • Experience the stunning boutique camping area in Landpods, yurts, bell tents, tipis and vintage tents.

Just So is set in woodland clearings, rolling parkland, arboreal amphitheatres and lakeside spots in the Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire, one of the most stunning landscapes in the UK, with limited public access the rest of the year.

A not-for-profit arts festival, the ticket price includes all entertainment and programming across the festival site, with capacity capped at 5000 to ensure a magical, relaxing and safe environment for all.

Winners of Festival of the Year, Tourism Experience of the Year, Best Practice Award, Festival Kidz Gold Award, Inclusive Tourism Award and Attitude is Everything’s Gold Award, Just So Festival aims to create memories treasured by families year-round and has a pioneering approach to accessibility, enabling families with all needs and preferences to enjoy and participate together.

Rowan Hoban and Sarah Bird, Directors of Wild Rumpus who produce large scale immersive outdoor family arts events in natural landscapes, set up Just So Festival in 2009 to create a spellbinding weekend where families could step out of their day to day lives, be immersed in incredible stories and moments of wonder together, and experience world class, breathtaking outdoor arts.

They say “We love to plot and plan for the next Just So Festival just days after the last one, when our heads are still full of magic and and ridiculousness – what better inspiration than our festival families whose phenomenal sense of tribal community knocks our socks off every year. We hunt high and low throughout the UK and beyond to find the very best performers and artists who we think can bring the festival to life. We love incorporating Just So traditions with new and exciting ground-breaking outdoor arts which we hope will create the most incredible memories. So roll on 2018 and in the words of the great Maurice Sendak ‘Let’s make mischief of one kind or another‘.”

Families planning to come to Just So 2018 are being advised to buy tickets earlier than usual this year, with tickets selling at a record rate for the 5000 capacity August event.


For information and tickets visit justsofestival.org.uk.

Family adventurers should keep their ears to the ground for the programme to be revealed in January.

Follow Just So @justsofestival facebook.com/justsofestival