isitors to the only UK camping festival just for families can expect to step out of their day-to-day lives into an enchanting environment where music, theatre, dance and stories are woven through the woodland at the glorious Rode Hall estate in Cheshire.
The landscape will be transformed by large-scale art installations, quirky characters and magical decoration broken down into different areas for families to explore, each bursting with workshops, performances and surprises.
Families will be invited to enter the jaws of a giant metal whale to be serenaded by a lovesick submariner, taken on a surreal journey on a fantastical flying machine, and charged with saving the world from being gobbled up by the all-devouring piggy bank of doom by Talking Birds, Pif Paf and Teatro-saurus. And every evening, ‘Forty Winks’ will celebrate bedtime with an aerial dance performance entitled ‘Fly by Night’ by the Baretoed Dance Company.
The festival audience will, as always, be creating marvellous and unusual things. Huge tea sets will be created from mud, babies will be making pots on a potter’s wheel, impossible photos will be taken in the fantastic photo booth of wonder and confusion, and families will have to work fast to create a play in an hour. And that’s before they even learn to levitate…
From wild barn dancing with Cut a Shine, to Russian folk dancing with Mazaika, the festival’s music programme will be an eclectic mix to keep tiny feet tapping from dawn til’ the retro discos fade into quiet. Bands include Sheelanagig, Louis Barabas and the Bedlam Six, The Robbie Boyd Band, Fiona Bevan and the Bonfire Band. Families will be singing and dancing their socks off too, with Familyoke, jive, swing and belly dancing workshops and the annual participatory opera.
As a festival just for families, babies will be especially well taken care of in Peekaboo. Programme details will be announced in the next couple of weeks, but practicalities such as a breastfeeding boudoir, a well-stocked baby change area and baby bath time, will help the smallest visitors to enjoy their first festival.
This glimpse into the curious and wonderful world of Just So doesn’t even touch upon the pillow fights, midnight feasts, trapeze workshops, lantern parades, drumming workshops, dressing up, campfire singing, den building and stone balancing that will also be on offer.
Early Bird tickets for the event sold out in September, and with the festival directors confirming they have no plan to increase the capacity of the festival, families will need to be quick if they want to join in the festivities!
Rowan Hoban, Festival Director, says: “We think that we currently have the right balance with a safe and intimate atmosphere so that families can have creative adventures, singing, dancing and playing together without having to queue up or make their way through overwhelming crowds. Our aim is to create spellbinding environments where the audience feel like anything is possible”
For full details and to buy tickets, visit their website.