Just So Festival 2012 Review

2012 Just So Festival weather: Sunny and warm, but with heavy showers.

2012 was the third Just So Festival.  You won’t find commercialism or big children’s TV characters here, just boundless opportunities to play and explore in a magical journey through the woods. This is not just a festival… this is a place where kids and families can come together in the beauty of imagination. The organisers are not professional festival managers by trade, rather it is led by two incredibly artistic mums and a devoted team who are all inspired to create a special and creative weekend for families to share. They care passionately about the event and it shows.  


Review by:  Claire Archbold (with 1 child aged 2.5)

AlpKitGetting to the festival and setting up camp

Getting to the festival was easy – we put in the satnav postcode from their website and it was a doddle but we did almost miss the ‘Weekend Camping Entrance’ sign as it wasn’t very obvious. No long traffic queues, helpful car parking attendants and a very small queue for wrist bands.

We were lucky and had a tent supplied from Alpkit. I have never had this luxury before, but it made a huge difference and I would certainly consider having a tent set up for me next time Lola and I go to a festival alone. Alpkit also supplied the pictured tipi, the kids (and adults) loved it, great for those rainy moments. It meant just one car trip and two very helpful chaps helped with that! Hoorah!

Festival FriendsThe people around us were all nice. No late night revellers shouting at 3 am like at many other festivals (not that I am knocking that) but the ethos of Just So is all about the kids, and with the entertainment finishing around 10.00pm we had some great night’s sleep.

The activities and line up are great. Although the map provided in the programme is less of a map but more of an arty illustration – although we couldn’t use the map as a map, the site is small enough to find your way around easily enough – even with a buggy.

The lantern making was a little disappointing. We got there in good time to make our lantern but alas, first no tape left, then no paper. Apparently a Lanternsimilar situation the year before so a little disappointed this wasn’t remedied this year.

The lantern parade started at 9pm and although it looked spectacular, it was a bit difficult to parade. Lola fell asleep – too much excitement I think – so after we had completed half the figure of 8 route, we headed back to the tent.

The next day we arrived for Ballet in the Barn, but alas, the ballet teacher didn’t show (shame on them!) so lots of delightful hay bale playing happened before a very kind lady came to the rescue and held an impromptu dance workshop whereby the children were dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Very funny. Lola loved it and I enjoyed watching.

We spent a lot of time in Wild Things, Lazy Days and 40 Winks. Mostly because my little one loved the woods and loved the circus skills. All of the areas were great. We visited every section and found a whole load of things to do all included in the ticket price.

Food was great and well priced.

What would I change or improve?

Water ran out in the toilets (sinks only!) and at the external water taps. Not so good.
The pre-bookable activities – especially the very popular Pirate Skills – was a bit of a challenge. There really needed to be more sessions!
A better map – but I am just being a bit fussy there I’m sure!

Any other comments and your Top Tip

Lovely festival with really helpful staff and a great feel to the place. My top tip is camp near to the toilets and washing facilities – they were very well maintained so there wasn’t any of ‘that‘ festival odour and it makes life with little ones so much easier.

Site and Facilities:

Toilets were good apart from the occasional lack of handwashing water. Site is lovely BUT the cattlegrids are a nightmare to navigate with loaded trolleys, pushchairs and little feet. Be warned!

I am always a little concerned about the lack of mobile phone reception at festivals but at Just So I did have reception throughout the weekend. There was also somewhere to charge your phone for free if you left it for a couple of hours.

And would I go again?

Yes, absolutely! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Just So Festival 2012 Review

  1. I agree with you Dawn. We had a great weekend but there wasnt quite as much there as I thought there would be.
    The camping facilities and organisation in my opinion were poor. What was particularly annoying was that we were informed that we need not worry about the difficulty of moving our camping gear as there would be a drop off area nearby, wheelbarrows and Sherpas available. None of this was true. If we had been told that there would be no help we would have come prepared with our own trolley/wheelbarrow.
    Also promised were “lovely loos” and plenty of showers. The toilets by halfway through the weekend were as smelly as any other festival toilets with the added problem of no water from the taps to wash hands. Twelve showers which were often rotated so that six were locked and six in operation meant that there was nearly always queues for a shower. Our kids had stand up washes in our washing up bowl – which they thought was cool.
    Our kids are 4&5yrs so we didn’t struggle too much with these problems however I would be cautious about taking very young children especially if you are not used to camping. Take something to transport your camping gear from the car, lots of baby wipes and hand sanitizer. Or just go for the day.
    BTW folk festivals are very kid friendly, usually quite small and often you can park next to your tent.

  2. It was a good festival, but not in a hurry to return next year. You were very lucky to get 2 sherpas to help you move your things – we couldn’t find a single one!! In addition, the so-called drop off point was full of parked cars, so we had to park and walk quite a distance 🙁

    Disappointed about the lack of some organisation – the ballet teacher didn’t turn up on either of the days – try explaining that to a 3 year old! As a geography teacher, I agree the map was appaling. No face painting as promised in the programme – luckily not an issue for us as we brought our own, but we were stopped by loads of people asking where the face painting was. Fire display on Sunday night ran late too – we went home instead of staying to watch this.

    After last year they said they would improve the water issue – but I have to say that it wasn’t really any better.

    Thankfully the magic of the Fairy Queen and storytime by Steve Smallman make up for some of these things!

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