“What is this strange little world we’ve stepped into?” we hear you cry. “Why are people dressed as foxes?” “Why should we bring a spare pillow?” If you’re new to Just So Festival, welcome! And never fear, we’ve put together this guide to the practical and the not-so-practical, so that you can jump in feet first.
Now you have your tickets, there are a few things you can do in advance of the festival. If you bought your programme with your tickets, it’ll arrive around three weeks before the festival, along with the 2017 festival album, with songs from lots of this year’s bands, so that you can all start listening and deciding who’s not to be missed. If you didn’t, never fear, you can buy programmes from our shop from mid July, or pick one up on site.
You can also nab yourself some festival merchandise in advance (from mid July), t-shirts, hoodies and water bottles will be available online and on site.
Have a good look through the information pages on the website so that you know all the practicalities.
If you have any questions about access, or if any members of your family might need additional support, please do contact our font of access knowledge, Callum on firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the accessibility pages on the website.
We’ve put together an A-Z packing list (you can download it here). If you spot something important we’ve missed, give us a yell!
Yes, yes, we’re sure you’ll remember to bring your tent and probably some pyjamas. But now for the important stuff!
CAAAAAKE! Bring your best baking to the Just So Bake Off, and you could win a family ticket for next year’s festival. Bring them to the Social Barn by 6pm, and after judging they’ll make their way to our volunteer tent to treat those superstars.
Costumes, costumes, costumes. Dressing up is welcomed with open arms at Just So. Dress up for the Tribal Tournament or as whatever you like, whenever you like!
Your pillows. You’ll need them to sleep, but also for the PILLOW FIGHT.
Your dancing shoes for strutting your stuff in Jitterbug.
You can arrive in the car parks and camping fields from noon on Friday 18th August. The gates to the festival don’t open until 2pm, so there are a couple of hours to get pitched up and collect your wristbands without worrying that you’re missing out on anything. There might be a short wait to get parked up, but we work hard to get everyone in as quickly as we can.
We expanded the size of the campsites in 2015, so do spread yourself across them. The area nearest to the car park fills up quickest, for obvious reasons, but if you persevere and walk a little further, you’ll have more space to spread out in the parkland on the other side of the main path, especially down the hill a little towards the woods. This is a good direction to head in if you’re hoping to reserve camping spaces for friends.
There is normally quite a queue at wristband exchange around 2pm when the gates are opening, so we recommend someone from your gang heading there earlier if you can with everyone’s tickets – our wristband exchange staff will happily give all the wristbands to one person to give out back at camp, so you don’t all need to hang around for that.
When the gates open to site, head inside and explore! There are large maps inside the entrance and dotted around site as well as in your programme. There are also signposts pointing you towards the different areas of site.
The information tent is inside the festival site, on the right hand side as you walk in. This is your first port of call with any questions or problems, and our gorgeous welcome team will be on hand to help. This is also where First Aid is located. Elsewhere on site, we have a really wonderful team of volunteers. There will be at least two in each area of site, and they’ll be wearing top hats, or similar silliness.
The programme can be quite a lot to take in, with over 250 different pieces of programming going on over the weekend. You can browse the programme in advance or when you get to site. Hands on hearts, we recommend not becoming slaves to your programme! Often the most magical moments at Just So are stumbled upon and impromptu. We suggest picking one or two things per person that you definitely don’t want to miss, then having a longer list of things you would like to catch. But do allow yourself to be distracted, to follow a flight of fancy, because the magic of Just So is the unexpected!
We try very hard to make sure that most of the programme is drop in. There are a few things, like the some of the workshops, which need to be booked. These are marked in the programme, and can be booked on site, at the location of the workshop, from 9am for morning workshops, and noon for afternoon workshops.
We’ve got a few Just So Traditions, pieces of programming that are not to be missed. Our very best are:
The Just So Bake Off. Make your cakes before you come, bring them to the Social Barn on Friday evening for judging. The very best wins family weekend tickets for next years festival. Then all the cakes head off to our volunteer catering tent, as a big thank you to our quite incredible team of volunteers and staff.
Pillow Fight. Bring an extra pillow and head to the Village Green lawn where the tribal leaders will be instigating a quite enormous pillow fight. Not for the faint hearted.
Midnight Feast. Well worth staying up late for (or going to sleep and then getting up for!), the Just So midnight feast is a magical concoction of stories, music and treats which will take place in the Social Barn this year. The stuff memories are made of.
Campfire Songs & Stories. One of our favourite spots on site, the campfire in Spellbound Forest is the place to head to before bed, for rousing campfire singalongs, and beautiful twisting tales from our amazing storytellers.
And the big one…
Wondering why everyone is covered in feathers and fur? The wildly competitive Tribal Tournament is our biggest Just So tradition. Choose to join the fish, frog, fox, owl, lion or stag tribe, dress up if you like (lots and lots of people do), take part in tribal shenanigans over the weekend to win points, then march with your tribe on Sunday evening to find out which tribe is victorious. You can keep track of points over the weekend, and see how your tribe is faring on the big tribal scoreboard on the village green. You can find all the details here. May the best tribe win.