There are many good reasons why early bird tickets to Just So Festival sell out each year before the outdoor arts and music line up are even announced. Legendary moments and goosebump experiences form the backbone of the festival each year including the Tribal Tournament, Pillow Fight, Midnight Feast and Campfire Stories.
If you are a Just So first-timer you may wonder why everyone is togged up with fox ears, owl feathers, fish scales and lion manes. The Tribal Tournament is what makes Just So Festival unique – a ridiculous competition that runs through the weekend which makes big and little kids do things you never dreamed of doing (in a good way … honest).
Head to the eccentric Village Green to view a humongous scoreboard and meet the curious Tribal Leaders of the fox, frog, owl, fish, stag, lion or bee tribes (who also roam around the festival throughout the weekend). Align yourselves with a tribe and take part in bonkers games and unexpected shenanigans to earn golden pebbles which go towards your tribe’s score.
Points can be awarded for anything from best dancer to the grubbiest baby or most impressive stag antlers. Unmissable highlights are big moments such as the Just So Festival Pillow Fight (be warned – this lasted for two hours in 2017), the Tribal Games with tug of war, ridiculous racing and suchlike and the Tribal Parade (festival finale) on the Sunday evening. Seeing motley tribes of animals dressed up and parading from different directions to find out who will win the Tribal Tournament is simultaneously nuts and amazing.
As families have a real role in determining the outcome of the festival, we love that it makes you feel more part of the event itself rather than passive audience members. And that you find yourself hi-fiving or being rude to (within reason – we are talking about blowing raspberries or thumbing your nose here) other random festivalgoers on site. We also love that you can dip in and out as you feel with the wildly competitive making it the backbone of their whole Just So experience (you can even win points in advance on the Just So facebook page) or you can just dip in and out on the way. Be warned though – once you have that first golden pebble in your hand it’s more addictive than you think!
With storytelling at its heart, this festival is true to its ethos round-the-clock. After a full day of being enthralled by outdoor theatre, curious walkabout characters across the festival site and meeting some of the UK’s favourite children’s authors with the best books out this year, the Spellbound Forest is where it’s at as afternoon becomes evening. Campfire Stories and Bonfire Bands from leading performers ensure you continue to be transported into other worlds every night of the festival. On Saturday do not miss the literary inspired Midnight Feast. Held at midnight in a twinkly barn, a triumverate of master storytellers (Ian Douglas, Gary Bridgens and Dieter Wadeson) regale wide-eyed families, dizzy with the magic of being up at midnight, with bewitching tales and song.