Just So Festival Day Tickets – the perfect introduction to a family festival!
While we camped at Just So Festival back in 2017 and had a great time, this year we decided to return for a day. The Saturday to be precise. We’re lucky enough to live under an hour’s drive from the festival location, Rode Hall in Cheshire, and with us heading off on holiday on the Monday morning, we thought we’d completely immerse ourselves in everything Just So from dawn (9am ish) until dusk (8pm ish) and then head home to sleep and get sorted.
If you were following the festival antics on social media, you might know that almost a month’s worth of rain fell on the opening Friday afternoon which unfortunately meant long queues to get in to the grounds and a whole lot of mud. By the time we arrived on the Saturday morning, there was a lot of slip-sliding and the decision was made to close the car park to any additional cars later that afternoon and for the whole of Sunday. Obviously, disappointing for those who couldn’t get to the festival by other means of transport but the festival organisers were quick to communicate the change in circumstances and offer refunds. I don’t know what else they could have done.
How did our day at Just So Festival go?
I can’t lie, the mud was a pain. We ventured down to the main stage area, Footlights, where we’d normally spend an hour or two listening to the bands playing, but with no seats and no mud-free ground for a picnic blanket, we lasted five minutes. The Ministry of Games area, a previous favourite with my boys (aged 8 and six), was in a similar state. They found squelching through the mud fun for the first few metres but they got annoyed because their wellies kept slipping off and they couldn’t move around as quickly as they would have liked.
But, now the negatives are out of the way, I have a whole load of positives for you. Despite not being able to tick off everything on our list, we experienced a day jam-packed with entertainment, humour and laughter. And a lot of ice cream. SO much ice cream!
We started our day by meeting with the tribal leaders (we’re a family made up of two foxes and two stags) who were so funny and really got the boys excited for the day ahead. Picking a tribe – be that owls, foxes, fish, stags, frogs, lions or bees – is a really nice part of the Just So experience. You can wear a full costume with face paints, a pair of ears, a t-shirt with your chosen animal, or just wear your own clothes if dressing up is not for you. You can get involved in the tribal tournament and attempt to win golden pebbles for your chosen team as much or as little as you want. It’s fun to keep checking the scoreboard to see who is in the lead as you pass by, especially if you have a divided family and can tease each other.
One of the joys of Just So is stumbling across the unexpected. You spy so many amazing things as you amble around the grounds. Campfire songs and stories, awe-inspiring marble runs, singing classes, a real actual bath being pedalled round with a family bathing in it (yes, really) and also, quieter spots to take a minute or two to regroup and consult your programme.
My personal recommendation would be to make a note of a handful of ‘must-sees’ but then to take a walk and see what you come across. Even if you have something pencilled in, if you and your children are having fun, don’t be in a rush to move on to the next thing unless it’s something unmissable like James Campbell or The Fabularium. James had my children crying with laughter and The Fabularium had them completely and utterly spellbound.
How did Just So Festival day tickets compare to camping for the entire weekend?
Well, it had its pluses and minuses. The kids gave it their all for one day. We packed in show after show, and explored every corner of the (muddy) site. They had ice cream-covered faces and tired legs when we left and I don’t think a second day could have lived up to the first. But they did miss popping back to the tent for a rest stop now and again.
As I mentioned, most of the grounds were so muddy that we couldn’t use a picnic blanket (some places were better later in the afternoon when the sun came out) and there didn’t seem to be many chairs around so we were on our feet a lot. And because we weren’t camping and hadn’t brought our own food and drink with us, we spent a small fortune on meals and snacks.
All in all, we had an amazing time and as we’re not natural campers, I think we’ll continue popping to the festival as day ticket holders. If you’re on the fence about heading to a family festival with your children, a day ticket is a great way of testing the water. Just So is a festival that makes it incredibly easy for families to spend quality time together and take part in so many amazing and unusual things. It’s really special.
If you’re tempted to visit Just So Festival in 2020, keep an eye on the website as early bird tickets tend to be released at a slightly cheaper price. Even if it rains, I promise you, you’ll leave with incredibly happy children and feeling somewhat nostalgic for your own childhood.