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The Professor at Just So Festival

Posted by Emma Cranstoun on

One of our Scrubbington's Family went to Just So Festival and has written a lovely review that we wanted to share.....

With slight trepidation and my husband unavoidably detained at work, I embarked on my first solo festival experience with my 6 year old son, Bryn. However my fears were groundless as the Just So Festival at Rode Hall, Cheshire, proved to be the perfect introduction to family festivalling.

Aimed at families with children under the age of 10, Just So Festival had the feel of a huge village fete with craft, storytelling by the fire, live music, circus workshops and a baby area and not a Cbeebies star in sight.

A sense of nostalgia is evoked with bunting everywhere and brightly coloured wooden signs directing you to The Spellbound Forest, Footlights, The Forgotten Courtyard and The Village Green. Not too large, with different elements to explore, woods, fields, food stalls and courtyards, each part of the festival had it’s own identity.  

One of the major elements of The Just So Festival is dressing up. Before arriving, you decide which tribe you want to join, owls, fish, stags, foxes, frogs, lions or bees and throughout the weekend there is an element of competition leading to the tribal tournament. The costumes were amazing and some families must have spent all year planning them.

Having heard horror stories of festival toilets, one thing I was dreading was the toilets and washing facilities on site. I was pleasantly surprised; there were a good amount of toilets regularly cleaned and topped up with paper. Armed with Professor Scrubbington’s Magically Foaming Hand and Face wash, we were quickly in and out, with hands that didn’t smell like chemical toilets.

The showers were a little grassy by the time we got there, but the water was hot and there was space to hang clothes off the floor and for Bryn and me to shower. Bryn loves Professor Scrubbington’s Magically Foaming Hair and Body Wash, the bottle is easy to handle and just right for smaller hands to master and because it is already foaming, there is less time taken on lathering - a bonus when there is a queue waiting outside!

Scrubbed clean, we were ready to dance the night away. All the bands at the festival were great; child-friendly without being childish. We were sent a CD along with our programme, so we could acquaint ourselves with some of the songs beforehand. Regulars David Gibb with his Teddy to the Disco song and the eccentric Biscuithead and Biscuit Badgers got us dancing. We are still singing Biscuithead’s Seaweed Under The Sofa and David Attenborough song!

As the weekend went on I noticed Bryn’s growing confidence and independence, deciding what we were going to do next and running on ahead. Naturally a cautious boy, he was happy to dance on his own to Perhaps Contraption and volunteering for activities such as the hilarious live action word game, Hangman in the Roll Up field.

Bryn and I found ourselves continually drawn to the Spellbound Forest, enticed by the embrace that a good story well told can give you. Sitting round the campfire, listening to storyteller Ian Douglas was a very special place to be.

Throughout the weekend there was lantern making, a lantern procession of over 500 lanterns (we were number 408), pillow fights, poetry, cartoon drawing, performances including Hikapee’s Look Up and the extraordinary Bullzini Family tightrope show. With so much to see and do, there is no way we could squeeze it all in to three days .

As we packed our tent at the end of the weekend, despite having had very little sleep, having lived off ice cream and pasta for 3 days, Bryn was singing tunes he had heard, telling me rubbish jokes and about favourite moments things he had seen. I realised something a bit special had happened at Just So, we had had time together, just us, exploring and experiencing new things. It was a little bit magical.


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