Just So Festival Review & Video {The Best First Family Festival}

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Is Just So The Best First Family Festival?

A question that I’m often asked is;  ‘Of all the festivals you’ve been to, which is the best first family festival?’

It’s a tricky question to answer; depending on the kind of thing that would suit you.

Are you seasoned campers — happy in large crowds — or would you prefer something on a smaller scale. Would you be keen to experience something eclectic and left-field or do you prefer something a little more mainstream?

After going to Just So festival, last month, I’d probably say that it’s definitely one that covers most bases. And (in my humble opinion) of all the festivals we’ve been to, it would scoop our award for the best family festival for first timers.

Just So is one of the smaller UK family festivals with a capacity of just 5000.

— which makes it a great first festival to cut your teeth on.

If you compare it to Camp Bestival for example — which has a capacity of 30,000 and is a much bigger beast — it’s positively tiny.

But good things come in small packages. And even though it’s diminutive in size, Just So has got a lot going for it.

Our video of Just So Festival 2017

The Just So Festival Site

The site is fairly large for such a small festival. But I loved this as it meant we didn’t do a quick circuit, then feel as though we’d seen everything half an hour.

It’s beautifully laid out with lots of different areas to explore.

Just So Festival {the best first family festival}
Image credit: Just So Festival

Which Festival is Best for Kids?

Our favourite area — without question — was the Spellbound Forest.

A magical space that reminded me of the Dingly Dell at Camp Bestival. All twinkling lights and bunting festooned in the trees, with so much to see and do.

Just So Festival the best first family festival}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
The Spellbound Forest | Image credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

What is the Safest Festival in UK?

One thing I felt very strongly, was that Just So felt lovely and safe. As the festival revellers were all families, there were always adults keeping their eyes open for little lost souls.

And as the site almost felt a little too big, for the capacity of the festival, it didn’t feel too overcrowded or busy. There was lots of room to run and play.

Which meant that the boys could hurtle around in safety, without me feeling anxious about their whereabouts.

The forgotten courtyard at Just So festival
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best first family festival}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

What Activities Are There at Just So Festival?

There were lots of lovely activities to do at Just So.

My bestie — who’s also a regular festival go-er — and I both agreed that it made a lovely change to go to a family festival that had so many free activities on offer.

Most festivals have a dedicated kids field — or kids area. But as Just So was set up almost entirely for children, there seemed to be so much more to do.

Unlike other festivals, Just So didn’t feel at all corporate either; it felt very organic. And this was definitely reflected in the activities on offer.

Everything from learning to dance; disco, Bollywood or Charleston (to name a few. To lantern making — or creating a dream catcher — perfect for tweens and younger teens.

Plus Jellybean architecture, theatre performances and circus workshops aplenty. There was literally something going on for the entirety of the festival.

Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Play actual reality games in the giant arcade
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Make a wish… | Image credit: The Listed Home.

The boys spent a lovely morning in the Kidunk tent making paper crowns and playing in the sandpit.

We’re excited to be working with Kidunk this year. They’ve launched their fabulous kidproof clothes! It was lovely to be able to go and meet Lisa and the team.

Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

All in all, there are so many things to do at Just So — to suit most age ranges.

Perhaps, older teens wouldn’t get as much out of the activities on offer as the younger kids. But there were certainly loads of things to do and — even as a fully grown adult — I was captivated all weekend.

The Tribal Tournament at Just So Festival

Now, the Tribal Tournament is an integral part of Just So.

Pledge your allegiance to the animal tribe that you’d like to represent. You can choose from owls, foxes, frogs, stags, lions, fish or bees — then dress up accordingly!

Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Our family and friends are no strangers to fancy dress. We’ve been Jellyfish, Spacemen — even the Angel Of The North. We like nothing more than getting the face-paints and costumes out.

But if this isn’t really your thing, a token pair of ears or a tail will suffice.

Festival Fancy Dress

That said, seasoned Just-So’ers take fancy dress very seriously indeed. I absolutely LOVED how much effort people made. And even though the parade day was Sunday, the fact that people got dressed up in full costume, every day of the festival, made it feel like a very special place indeed.

One thing I will say, it gets very competitive and if you have a child who will be devastated to come last on the leaderboard — choose your tribe wisely!

We were Team Lion. I lost count of all the children who joyfully ran up to us to say that we were losing!! Perhaps if the boys were a little older (or more sensitive) I think this could have posed a problem.

Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Hanging out with the Queen of the Lions | Image credit: The Listed Home.
My pride and me | Image credit: The Listed Home.

2017 was the first year that Just So had the bee tribe and, as a result, there were bee fancy dress costumes swarming everywhere! It was definitely one of the most popular fancy dress costumes.

I think it would perhaps be a little fairer if the tribes were more equal in numbers but — winning and losing aside — being given handfuls of golden pebbles for our efforts ( I think our little team amassed around 70 in total!), was a brilliant incentive to wear full costume every day.

The camaraderie between our fellow tribe members was lovely.

Comrades from the same tribe, seeking you out to tell you where to find more golden pebbles was such a sociable and noteworthy element of the festival.

Family Camping Festivals

There were lovely facilities for campers at Just So; outdoor kitchens to wash up, plus the obligatory showers and loos.

You can take your own tent or treat yourself to boutique camping; they had yurts, tipis, tents and pods to choose from.

As we have Dolly the caravan, we always get a live-in vehicle pass — extra on top of the ticket price — which means we’re in a separate field to the tents.

But happily Just So offers the same policy as Shambala, whereby you can have friends who are camping in tents, pitch next to you in the live-in vehicle field.

This is such a lovely bonus.

One of the things that makes me a bit cross about certain festivals is that the campers are segregated; caravans, campervans and tents each have their own allocated campsites, which is a bit annoying if you want to all camp together.

One of my very favourite things about festivals is hanging out at our base camp. Cocktail hour at Dolly is renowned and having a little corral, with a group of friends, really makes the whole festival experience.

Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Thankfully, Just So has the right approach here and this relaxed policy meant that we were able to have our friend Julia (from the blog Rainbeaubelle) pitching her tent next to us.

This was lovely as we got to hang out together all weekend; the twins played beautifully as they had Julia’s children — Sam and Flo — for entertainment, and it made for a much more sociable, happy experience.

Food & Drink at Just So Festival

If you’re not planning to take a weekend’s supply of food and drink with you to Just So, fear not!

There were loads of lovely options available to buy at The Social.  It was like a mini market selling street food; wood-fired pizzas, Mexican, Indian, churros, ice-cream — there was a really good array on offer, for fairly reasonable prices.

Once you’d bought your food, you could head over to eat in the Social Barn.

I loved the atmosphere in here particularly; tables crafted from hay-bales and boards made a fantastic makeshift restaurant, for everyone pitch in and enjoy their grub.

Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

The Best First Family Festival

There were so many things I loved about Just So Festival — too many to squash into one post — but I think my very favourite thing was the giant pillow fight on the Sunday.

Pillow fight at Just So Festival {the best first family festival}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

This was something I always yearned to do, when I was a little girl, so it was a life-long ambition fulfilled!

There were other brilliant things too; of particular note was the lantern parade on the Saturday night.

I would definitely say, to get the most out of it, immerse yourselves in everything that makes Just So Festival unique.

Leave your inhibitions at home; get dressed up, embrace the mayhem and remember what it is to be a child.

Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Little vixen; my beautiful goddaughter | Image credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Miles and miles of smiles; Flo and Bertie | Image credit: The Listed Home.
Just So Festival {the best family festival for first timers}
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Of all the festivals we’ve been to, my boy and I agree that Just So is definitely the best family festival for first timers. It’s small enough to not feel overwhelming but the site is large enough — and there’s enough going on — for it not to feel tedious.

It’s a brilliantly, bonkers weekend; full of magic and wonder.

Just So gives you everything you wanted to do when you were younger but weren’t allowed to do, on a plate.

Food fights, pillow fights, midnight feasts.

Totally enchanting and marvellous, we can’t wait for next year!

And if this rambling post hasn’t persuaded you, I’ve made a little film of our weekend. Have a look and I defy you not to feel bewitched.

Caro Davies editor of The Listed Home
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Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.

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11 thoughts on “Just So Festival Review & Video {The Best First Family Festival}”

  1. Ah I absolutely love this post Caro – didn’t we have the best weekend!! I didn’t know you got a cheeky pic of me doing my lion make up!! As a family festival first timer I would definitely agree that it was a great introduction and so much fun. My kids are still talking about it all the time! X

    Reply
    • Aaah it was SO good wasn’t it?!!!!!! I LOVED hanging out with you and your littles!!! It totally made it for me, to have a little camp with our little pride — loved it. I think the boys prefer it too, when there’s little ones for them to play with. The last few festies it’s either been just us, or the families we’ve been with have much older children. They’ve not stopped talking about Sam and Flo! :)

      Reply
  2. I keep saying I want to do a family festival I have never been to one ever. They always look like so much fun and activities galore. Sounds like the perfect one to start with. I love your adventurous snaps here hun. #wrc

    Reply
    • Aah DO IT!!!! This is definitely a good one to start off with — there’s so much to do and small enough for it not to feel overwhelming. Plus it’s probably only about an hour from you! :)

      Reply
  3. What a full and fantastic review Caro! As you know I’ve been wondering whether to go along with my girls next year and after reading this I’m even more keen to go. I know that my youngest will adore everything about it and be in her absolute element (the husband and eldest girl may need more convincing!). It all looks so vibrant and loads of fun. Great post! xx

    Reply
  4. What a blooming great review Caro. So much detail and excitement and I LOVE how involved you got. We missed it this year as we went on holiday that weekend. I love your outfits and those Frogs – wow x

    Reply
  5. Aaah you know me ;) I LOVE a festival!! It’s definitely my happy place. And to be honest, the mud is just part and parcel of it :) You should come along to one, one year. I BET you’d love it!!! xx

    Reply

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