Just So Festival, 18 – 20 August 2017, Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire
The multi award-winning family arts festival, produced by Wild Rumpus, will have a new garden-themed area for the tiniest of festivalgoers in 2017 in association with the world-renowned Derbyshire based holistic, natural health and beauty brand Weleda.
Now in its 8th year and recently awarded Best Festival by the National Outdoor Events Association, Just So is an annual, intimate, weekend-long festival – an imaginative outdoor adventure like no other as the only arts camping festival in the UK dedicated solely to children and their families.
Dedicated entirely to families, the relaxed pace of Just So offers a whole site of imaginative adventures. Peekaboo is an area totally devoted to 0-4s and their grown-ups and where to find the best arts for the smallest of visitors – a whole area of innovative performances, activities and right royal facilities.
Festivalgoers will step through a verdant archway into the new Peekaboo Garden – an area of baby botanical bliss in a new location close to the family campsite, ensuring that babes in arms will be guests of honour and offering a beautiful and stimulating space to play, create and relax.
Visit a living Weleda garden to discover more about the amazing properties and powers of our plants and experience some huge adventures for little people connecting us to our natural world.
Join the Weleda team for a Mad Hatter’s tea party and sample Weleda’s pure and 100% certified natural products including their multi-award winning baby and pregnancy ranges. Flex some creative muscles together in flower crown and seedbomb making workshops (advance booking) and enjoy some grown-up relaxation time with complimentary Weleda Skin Food hand massages.
Look out for the curious bubble-loving snail Snigel in brand new inspirational performance The Adventures of Snigel and Come Rain Or Shine imaginative family sculpture workshops from the team at the award-winning Yorkshire Sculpture Park. From the early morning until night, music, dance and movement, paint and clay workshops, baby book club, baby massage and baby yoga will ensure the littlies doze off to the sound of our bedtime lullabies to soothing live beautiful harp music as dusk falls.
Enjoy airy baby changing and relaxing baby bath time here with complimentary Weleda Baby products, the Just So baby-feeding boudoir, sponsored by Medela, pregnancy yoga, a Sling Library support and advice on hand from trained midwives and Cheshire East NCT and high chairs and bottle warming facilities across the buggy-friendly festival site.
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.
Other areas for Just So 2017 include the new glorious lakeside Silver Screen glade dedicated to all things cinematic, a completely crackers celebration of fodder in the Social Barn and provocations, debates and talks in the new Forgotten Courtyard. Don’t miss the extraordinary Spellbound Forest and the magical Woodland Theatre for the best new outdoor performance for families campfire tales, music and songs, meet creatures and characters beyond your wildest dreams in Tales of Animalia and find a secret fairyland with mischievous sprites Away With The Fairies
Head to the eccentric Village Green to meet some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors sharing the best new books out this year and take part in the Tribal Tournament where festivalgoers can encounter a sports day with a difference – pillow fighting anyone? Throughout the festival join the Fox, Frog, Owl, Fish, Stag or Lion tribes to compete in ridiculous games and all manner of unexpected shenanigans to earn coveted golden pebbles. Find your tribe on festival Sunday and take part in the Tribal Parade, a Just So highlight.
Dance like wild things to the outstanding line-up of over 20 brilliant artists and bands on the Footlights stage including the UK’s current award-winning queen of country music Laura Oakes, the carnivalesque Bramble Napskins, and the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band. Do some more wild whirling and swirling at Jitterbug where more unmissable music and dance performances and workshops include CanCan, Charleston, Circus Swing, Flatfooting, Bollywood, Ballet, Tap and Jive.
Contemplate the universe at The Observatory with brand new performance How I Hacked My Way To Space by Unlimited Theatre and be wowed by Spanish contemporary trampoline circus show Anyday by Max Calaf Seve. Learn about the constellations with Star Gazing sessions led by an astronomer, play our Eye Spy in Space game weave stars for Woollen Constellations to form a tapestry of beautiful stars lit up at night and make an array of star and moon shaped lanterns to parade against the twilight sky.
Make your way to the calming High Seas on the Left Bank of the stunning Rode Pool lake for relaxation galore. Walk through Between Stillness and Storm, a newly commissioned, mesmerising, large-scale sculptural installation by renowned artists Aiden Moesby and Tim Shaw and experience changing sound, light and motion made by a range of historic and contemporary instruments for “sensing” the weather. Enjoy family yoga, tai chi, meditation and take a wooden rowing boat out on to the tranquil expanse of water. Look out for some fishy and feisty mermaids here too!
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 Tourism Experience of the Year, Festival Kidz Gold Award and Inclusive Tourism 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 “thank you to all our incredible audiences who have adventured together at Just So to help us make it one of the best family festivals in the world today. Spending time together as a family, exploring the woods, venturing to the Lake at dawn, singing around the campfire, eating under the stars, dancing like wild things to incredible foot stomping bands and listening to stories that will fill us full of awe and wonder at the magical world around us….what’s not to look forward to. We can’t wait to share Just So 2017 with you soon.”
Families planning to come to Just So 2017 are being advised to buy tickets earlier than usual this year, with tickets selling at a record rate for the 5000 capacity August event.
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Family adventurers should keep their ears to the ground for more adventures and surprises to be revealed each month.
For information and tickets visit www.justsofestival.org.uk.