UK: The award-winning, Wild Rumpus-produced Just So Festival has started to reveal its programme for 2016. An annual, intimate, weekend-long camping festival, Just So showcases art, music, literature, comedy and theatre for families amidst the woodland landscape of the Rode Hall Estate, Cheshire.
Just So was awarded Best Festival in 2015 by the National Outdoor Events Association and claims to be the only combined arts festival dedicated solely to families in the UK.
With a mix of regional, national and international artists and performers, the festival promises to treat attendees to ‘an expedition of mischief and mayhem, to lands full of magical midnight feasts, raucous pillow fights, tribal tournaments, curious creatures and breathtaking beauty.’
Headliners for the Footlights Stage include six-piece folk act Skinny Lister and Hope & Social, and will be joined by over 20 other artists & bands. More music & dance performances and workshops include the first chance to squash, roll, pop and squeeze in Sponge, the premiere of the new show by participatory dance artists Turned On Its Head, and Around The World in 80 Notes with Melanie Ash and Jade Jagger.
The eccentric Village Green will host some of the UK’s most popular children’s authors sharing the best new books out this year. The area will also feature a sports day with a difference, comprising toddler jousting and pillow fighting. The Village Green is also the HQ of Just So’s Tribal Tournament, featuring immersive theatre specialists LAS Theatre. The Fox, Frog, Owl, Fish, Stag and Lion tribes will compete in games and stage a Tribal Parade on the Sunday.
The Spellbound Forest allows families to experience the best in new outdoor performances, with comedian James Campbell, an interactive dig with How Time Flies, Handmade Theatre on the Woodland Stage, high octane manoeuvres from Phone Box, a new solo production by Corey Baker Dance, live demonstrations of impossible happenings in Professor Kelso’s Strange & Unusual Phenomena, plus campfire tales, music and songs as dusk falls.
Tales of Animalia is a brand new area for 2016, in collaboration with Just So’s friends The Fabularium. The High Seas promises a plethora of nautical adventures and film screenings, while Head Over Heels will feature tumblers, somersaults and aerialists.
Peekaboo, (for 0 – 2 years) is where to find the best arts (and facilities) for the tiniest visitors, including an interactive dance and music show by aboutNOWish, plus music, paint, clay, dens, bubbles, storytelling and bath time.
Winners of the Festival Kidz Gold Award for three years running, Just So Festival aims to create memories treasured by families year-round and has a pioneering approach to accessibility, enabling families with all needs and preferences to enjoy and participate together.
Rowan Hoban and Sarah Bird, Directors of Wild Rumpus which produces large-scale family arts events in wild natural landscapes, set up Just So Festival in 2009 to create a weekend where families could be immersed in stories and moments of wonder together, and experience world class breathtaking outdoor arts.
Hoban said: “At Just So 2016, audience members will be journeying through the most magical, awe-inspiring landscape for three nights. They must watch carefully the whole journey, as Roald Dahl once said, as the best adventures and greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.”
Bird said: “Spending time together as a family, exploring the woods, venturing to the Lake at dawn, singing around the campfire, eating under the stars, dancing like wild things to incredible foot stomping bands and listening to stories that will fill us full of awe and wonder at the magical world around us – what’s not to look forward to?”