When we found out that OKS would be having the 10am slot at the Jitterbug tent at Just So Festival, we were incredibly excited – and a little nervous.
We loved festivals before we became parents, and we have loved Just So since our families grew. To be able to take Wake, Shake and Spin to the most magical of family events was our own dream come true.
Armed with tents, a van, 5 kinds of glitter, a 7ft spinning wheel, ketchup and calpol (all essentials covered), we set off early Friday morning to set up camp. We had other friends coming with us and altogether there were 21 of us heading to Cheshire for a weekend away from reality, away from home, away from everyday life.
Just So did not disappoint.
For anyone who has not been to Just So – it is a festival like no other. There are festivals which are family friendly, but Just So is more than that – it is aimed specifically with children and families in mind. It has everything covered from a site that is kept clean all weekend, to great affordable food, a jam-packed programme of activities for all ages, and the opportunity to wear sequinned hot pants all weekend without anyone batting an eyelid. What’s not to like?
There is fantastic music at the Footlights stage day and night – but you won’t find Muse or Adele headlining here! Just So has Laura Oakes, The Baghdaddies and The Bobbysocks to name but a few – music everyone can enjoy and dance along to, with enough space for everyone to bust their own style of moves without elbowing anyone else around them.
The sections of the festival ensure there is something for everyone from stand up comedy and theatre in the forest to meeting the fairy queen, rowing boats on the lake to science in the courtyard, baby play to pillow fights, the viciously fought Tribal Tournament, stunningly beautiful lantern parade and of course – the legendary OKS early morning silent disco!
Our first session was on Saturday morning. We were ready at 8am – and we weren’t on til 10. We wanted to be super prepared, there was so much tech to get right – and so much that could go wrong! Worst of all – what if no-one came?!
The staff at the Jitterbug tent which holds a variety of dance classes and discos throughout the weekend were super helpful. Lisa made it easy for us to get set up and organised, and put our minds at rest about the millions of things that were making our brains ache.
We had prompted our families and friends – they knew what time to be there – and to make sure they looked like they were having a great time! We were even promised some Dad-dancing to make sure the dance-floor wasn’t empty.
With play lists set and headsets on, we couldn’t believe it when people started to arrive early! Wake, Shake and Spin was underway – there was no turning back now.
With fancy dress in abundance for the Just So tribal teams, we had owls fluttering around the tent, bees high fiving as their morning greeting, and a Mother frog playing her child frog upside down as her air guitar to ‘Sweet child of mine’. It was all going on!
The first spin of the wheel landed on Gangam and the tent erupted with Strictly wannabes singing at the tops of the voices and showing off moves which would have put Ed Balls to shame.
Time slipped by as the songs we love played on – the stage was bouncing as we joined in with our favourites, we were surrounded by happy faces and soon ran out of headsets. It was quite an emotional experience to fill a tent at 10am with joyful families cracking on with the conga and waving their arms aloft to Candi Staton – a definite summer highlight.
With disco twirlers and oversized sunnies, colourful wigs and tons of bubbles, the tunes played on. Katy Perry sing-a-long resounded around the tent and out into the fields as more families arrived to ‘Wake, Shake and Spin’.
As 11am approached and we said goodbye to our fantastic crowd, we were hot, sweating and elated. It felt like we had just filled Wembley Stadium! It also felt like we had done a full day’s work what with fitting in the limbo, Ghostbusters and of course the OKS favourite – 9-5, we were exhausted!
As with all family camping trips, the rest of Saturday was eventful with unpredictable weather covering all four seasons and unpredictable toddlers covering ….. well just being unpredictable toddlers! The best thing about it was that we were in a field of unpredictable toddlers, sympathetic parents and endless activities to distract them with. Ideal!
Just so kept us busy with children’s comedy, pop-up juke boxes, a trampolining stuntman, campfire songs and our favourite – the lantern parade. We crashed into our inflatable mattresses ready to go again the following morning.
Sunday was equally amazing – some people came again from Saturday! We danced, and sang, twirled and whirled and we had the time of our lives. With our families and friends and all of the lovely Just So Festival goers – what a way to start the day!
The rest of the weekend didn’t disappoint – with storytelling, theatre, a giant sandpit and music galore. Team Lion may not have won this year but we had such a fantastic time despite the rain – see you next year Just So 🦁.
Our Kids Social is back in its Manchester home and you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@ourk_s), online at www.ourkids.social or if you would like to discuss a future collaboration then contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org – we are all ears!