Dear Mummy, after reading a lot of mixed reviews about Geronimo Festival we were eager to head up North and check out this family festival first hand.
We travelled ‘north of the wall’ a good 6 hours journey from Hampshire (Daddy’s SAT NAV said 3.5hrs) but traffic was bad on our journey. As we left the sunny south (actually the weather had turned sour) we had mixed expectations for our time at Arley Hall and what lay ahead.
But those pangs of negativity were quickly shunned as soon as we hit the gates of Geronimo Festival. A long journey had left us frazzled and with looming thunder clouds on the horizon and the threat of rain we were desperate to get our tent pitched.
First off, no queues. For like ANYTHING! We breezed through the car park, waltzed the wristband collection and armed with our trusty festival cart found plenty of space away from the car park entrance near the festival entrance. Plus the camping site was flat with only one muddy choke point by the road crossing and best of all only 5-6 minutes walk for my little legs.
All the staff and marshalls were amazing, friendly and very helpful, one even walked around the tents ensuring that everyone was happy and safe regarding a yellow weather warning which was issued over the course of the weekend. This must be what they call ‘northern hospitality’. Thankfully the wind never materialised.
We pitched our tent quickly – lots of festivals last year makes you a wizard when it comes to erection 😉 and we beat the unpredictable weather. I was even able to help this time!
After pitching the tent on Friday night we enjoyed entering the festival at 6pm and having the whole site to ourselves for a couple of hours, with no day trippers to contend with there were no queues on any of the rides and only a sprinkling of other camping festival goers.
We woke bright and early the next day after a great sleep, no noisy stage music to deal with or rowdy teenagers, most families were tucked up in bed by 10pm.
We took a leisurely stroll down to breakfast in the camping area to the Dorset Cereal tent and enjoyed a free dining experience called #BreakfastOnTheSlow something we try to adopt at home. muesli and granola, natural yoghurts, milk and fresh juice were laid out on the tables for people to help themselves to. I didn’t need an invitation to tuck in!
I enjoyed the free Yoga classes on the lawn while listening to live music and old-fashioned games were laid out to keep us kids amused while adults could read the morning papers. Very civilised. It was the best start to the day we’ve had at any festival!
Even though we packed for four seasons, the weather man got it wrong about the rain and our first day was a sun fest! We ditched out festival cart and walked around the festival with rucksacks with temperatures of 23c we made a beeline for the Castle Stage, which was smaller than expected for a festival of this size.
We’d forgotten cash so luckily there were a couple of cash machines dotted around the site on the way, they charged a fee of £2.95, which was standard as far as festivals go. Thankfully we hadn’t forgotten anything else but there was an emergency shop on site that stocked camping bits and pieces. Again it was very expensive and luckily we had come prepared.
We we’re spoilt with the kids entertainment on the stage on Saturday and Sunday with CBeebies stars Justin Fletcher, Cook and Line, Mr Bloom and a whole host of talented performers, singing and dancing along with the crowd. It wasn’t too busy at the stage so everyone got a good view however the security barrier could have been a bit lower for us smaller folk to stand at the front and see over.
Hopefully in the coming years Geronimo will get larger musical acts to keep the crowds there in the evenings too. For a family festival the music stopping at 9ish is a good time, however it was a shame to see the stalls and activities close up around 6 (some even earlier), as there was still a lot of daylight hours with people mulling around.
We enjoyed raving with Big Fish Little Fish family raves and it really was one of the highlights of our Geronimo festival. The weather was so nice it was hard remaining in the marquees as everyone wanted to be outside.
Even though some people in the past had said Geronimo is a glorified fun fair/summer fête we think a better music line-up would help combat this in the next couple of years. We loved that adults could chill out in the spa zone and with a kids club nearby it offered weary parents a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of the festival.
When it came to activities the kids were truly spoilt especially the festival goers that camped. As included in our wristband price were all the fairground rides which were free. This included the giant wheel, carousel, helter-skelter and kiddies rides. This could have been better communicated as we only realised on the Sunday!
This is where the Geronimo experience was probably a bit easier for campers compared to the day trippers as they didn’t need to queue for ride tokens. Also as a camper you didn’t need to queue for the car park each day or entrance to the festival site. Plus you were in earlier for the bookable activities like Tumble Tots and Monkey Do.
There were so many activities we joined in with over the course of 3 days at Geronimo Festival. We escaped under the canopy of the trees at Woodland Tribe and Monkey Do. Climbing, building dens and cooking dampners on the camp fires.
Then we headed to the canopy of the Big Top, with two circuses on site we were really spoilt for choice. We watched an amazing performance from the Gandey’s Circus troop and our only regret was not seeing more circus and theatre acts while we were there. With the sun shining it was tempting to stay outdoors all the time.
There were so many places to craft and take a memento home of our stay at Geronimo, from hiding in cardboard dens, to making clay woodland creatures and funky spray painted record art, I’m sure we could have spent a day just making stuff.
All the little pop up stalls with quirky characteristics like the spoon meadow, pirate shows and the hobby-horse tent really added to the bohemian festival feel and again perfect for us younger kids.
The physical activities were really good and ensured I was tuckered out by the end of the day. I went rock climbing and played on the inflatables for….HOURS! I hung from netting and bounced in the trees with Monkey Do. I even clambered through an obstacle course with Tumble Tots.
The only area where we queued for activities was the Hasbro City and with good reason! It’s not every day you bump into Bumblebee and see a real Transformer.
With Hasbro giving away free samples of PlayDoh, My Little Pony Toys and offering kids the chance to play and hangout with larger than life mascots it’s easy to see why this area was popular.
Overall, if you are thinking of booking Geronimo Festival we’d say do it! It’s fantastic fun for the kids. As adults we’d suggest make it easy for yourselves and camp over a couple of days. There is far too much to take in over one day, plus it’s quieter early in the mornings and later in the day meaning you get a better experience. Midday on Bank Holiday Monday was the busiest we’d seen it with long queues for the food stalls and rides.
Talking of food, yes it was expensive it’s a festival after all. With the standard festival food of burgers, fish and chips, pizza and noodles it was nice to see vegetarian and vegan options along with fresh fruit stalls. However we did see a lot of people with picnic hampers and packed lunches but it was unclear whether they were campers or day trippers.
Either way, there is the opportunity to keep costs down during the festival. The free water points were helpful when temperatures soared into the high twenties. Maybe next time they could be clearly signposted. Also the introduction of more kids portions would really help appeal to those on a budget.
The site is filled with wonderful trees decorated with googly eyes which offered shade for families and a talking point. Geronimo should really build on this concept more and reinforce its own identity as there were little things we recognised from other festivals which made it a bit hodge-podge and random.
Watch our video to see Geronimo in all its glory!
As newbies to this festival we had a fantastic time. The atmosphere was great and the people were so friendly. It really was high energy and lots of fun. We just can’t get the theme tune out of our heads! But remember to keep us little ones in sight. With so much going on and so many of us excitable little ones, a large number managed to escape from their parents, thankfully to be reunited thanks to the amazing crew and security team on site.
Have you heard of Geronimo Festival or have you been?
Love Bella x
Disclosure: We were offered a free family weekend camping ticket in order to conduct an honest review. All thoughts and imagery are our own.
50 thoughts on “Geronimo Festival 2018 Review”
Aww how exciting – we’re heading to the next Geranimo festival and it will be our first family festival experience 🙂
I hope it’s as good as Arley Hall x You’ll love it if it is! Enjoy x
Looks like you had a fantastic time at the festival. I can’t believe how colourful it all looks!
Oh how cool. We haven’t been to a festival in a few years xLooks like you had an awesome time
That festival looks like loads of fun! That climbing wall especially, how awesome!
Aw so glad you had a good time and the weather stayed bright. Love that claiming wall!! x
What a wonderful experience for the family. Camping is not my cup of tea but this does sound like fun, and there are so many lovely activities to do I could be persuaded to give it a try.
Sounds like you had a lot of fun meeting all your favourite characters and enjoying all the rides on offer. At least you were pretty prepared to avoid spending uneccessarily.
I’ve seen your videos on Facebook already and I instantly looked up tickets for next year when my youngest will be 3 already and we can go!
Enjoy! Definitely would recommend camping x
It looks brilliant! I want to take us to a festival and this one looks perfect for the family: am heading to see if the dates for next year are available yet…
What a fantastic festival- the arduous journey was worth it for all that fun – so much going on! I know what you mean about late night noise it’s good to find a festival where you are guaranteed not to have that. An awesome weekend! #CountryKids
It looks like you had a great time and maybe camping for the weekend is the way to do it. We went the first year, lots of queues, kids couldn’t see and the weather didn’t help. We were only there for the day though. The rock climbing looks awesome!
Sounds like they have taken feedback from recent years and made this years event a success
Wow it looks like there is so much to do at the Geronimo Festival, it doesn’t sound or look like you’d run out of ways to have fun during it. Glad you had such a good time
It looks like you guys had an AMAZING time at Geronimo Fest. I totally wish we’d booked to go now! Loved your choice of wording for some of your review as well, it gave me a well needed chuckle :p
Thanks Louise 🙂 we always aim to please! Glad we made you smile x
I have heard of Geronimo festival and read some nice things about it, I am so jealous you guys met bumblebee, it would have been awesome for my nephew big time.
wow it looks like you did loads! what a fun day out
i never heard about this festival. looks like you guys had a blast
I’d not heard of Geronimo festival until recently. I actually loved following all of your activities on Instastories. There looked like there was so much fun things to keep little ones entertained and I’m definitely going to look into this for next year. I love how all of your photos are so colourful and capture the fun of the festival #countrykids
This has been really helpful – thank you! I am considering this festival as an option for J either next year or the year after but I wasn’t really sure what it would be like and you have done a great job of making this much clearer for me. I agree that as a visitor I would expect to see the stalls and activities continuing in the evening especially with the long daylight hours at this time of the year. I would also expect some good music as I am sure that the price suggests that this is already present. However, the range of children’s activities looks fabulous and you have convinced me that this is definitely a festival I would like to explore.Thanks.
the activities look great also love that they have a spa zone for adults to chill!
Wow – that looks so fun! I bet she’ll keep some magical memories from that. #Dreamteam
Wow it sounds like there was lots to do.i like that you for fair rides included, that saves a lot of money and child drama! #TwinklyTuesday
Wow, sounds like it’s a great festival to visit. Love the images. Bit of a distance from South Coast but glad to read worth it.. Aye something to check out I think
I have kept seeing good things about Geronimo and have been debating whether to go with the kids. It’s so good to see your honest assessment of the costs when you are there – definitely worth bearing in mind if we do go and gives me something to think about in terms of keeping costs down. Love your photos – Bella makes a beautiful big blue butterfly!
It’s good to hear that this festival is so family friendly. I remember my boys were invited to a yoga session at one festival and then once they were in the people in charge wanted money for them! I also like how it is quiet at a reasonable time as there’s nothing harder than trying to get excited kids to sleep in a tent with lots of noise around.
Oh my goodness so many cool things to do at this festival. I have heard of it before but didn’t realise there was so much there to do. the activities look ideal for Bella’s age and above. that hobby horse race looks such fun. I think I may steel inspiration from this for a little horse race fun at Coombe Mill.
Thank you for sharing your lovely visit on #CountryKids
I’ve never been to Geronimo but I’ve seen and heard so many good things about it. It really does look like you’ve had a busy and fun packed time. The weather cerianly looks like it was on your side! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun
I have never heard of this festival before. But it looks like so much for for kids.
The festival looks like really good fun. It’s great here is so much to do there. I love the fact they have climbing walls, my children would love those.
Sounds like a really fun family festival and it’s so good that you didn’t have the rain which was expected x
I loved reading your post and watching your video. What a fab time you all had with so many things to see and do and Bella, your dancing is fab and what beautiful fluttering butterfly wings you had!
It certainly looks like you had a great time at Geronimo Festival. My girls would love to go too I’m sure. #CountryKids
Awwh, it looks like you had a lot of fun. We were going to go on the bank holiday monday, but we run out of time.
Looks like you had a great time!! Now mini M is older it’s definitely something we’d like to do in the future #countrykids
Sounds like you had a good time. Love those blue butterfly wings. We’re thinking of festivals next year as my youngest is only 2.
I’ve not heard of this festival before! it’s a great way to introduce children to them XD so many fun activities
Wow! What an amazing Festival!
I have never heard of Geronimo but am amazed all the fantastic activities that you could do. I love the fact that a lot of it was about ‘doing it yourself’ and learning at the same time.
Bella, I love the photo of you as the Blue Butterfly! You look so pretty in it. Also the photo of you and your lovely Mummy on the Carousel Horse.
I have to admit, I would have loved to try the wooden hot-tubs outside; what an adventure!
This looks great. The kind of thing my youngest would have loved when she was a bit younger. I’m glad to hear you got the benefit of our Northern hospitality too!! #familyfunlinky
This looks like so mcuh fun. I think my little boy would love it!
Wow this looks like lots of fun – especially the Transformer! #twinklytuesday
I’ve never been to a festival but this looks so much fun! Thanks for sharing and linking up with #twinklytuesday. Hope to see you back again soon!
I saw this festival advertised but was quickly put off by the prices and some of the reviews. You have opened my mind to going next year with my two minions.
It’s a real steal with the early bird prices atm, last time we looked it was £150 per adult for four days camping! Must admit it’s a bit hairy camping in wet weather and there were some hiccups but we enjoyed the festival x Check out the videos and hope to see you there soon x