We were thrilled to be invited to review Geronimo Festival 2018. Attending a family friendly festival was very high up on our family bucket list. We tried to attend one last year but none of the dates or locations were quite right for us. This year Geronimo festival also added a weekend at Knebworth house in Hertfordshire as well as another yearly festival at Arley Hall in Cheshire. I have to say that it was a great tick on our bucket list as we had a fabulous weekend.
A Little Bit About Geronimo Festival 2018
This year Geronimo festival kicked off at Arley Hall in Cheshire. The festival took place from May 25th until May 28th. The site had camping pitches available plus glamping for those wanting a bit less hassle and a bit more luxury. You could also attend the festival with day or weekend tickets and parking tickets were also available. The dates for the festival at Arley Hall for 2019 are May 24th until May 27th. You can buy your tickets here.
They also had their first festival dates at Knebworth house in Herts. There was no camping on offer and the festival took place during the day on Saturday the 31st June and Sunday the 1st July. It was one of the hottest weekends of the year so no wellies were needed. Currently there is no mention on their website if there will be a further festival at Knebworth in 2019. We attended on both the Saturday and Sunday. I was glad that we did as we didn’t in any way manage to see and do enough in just one day. We also conveniently stayed at the Novotel hotel which is situated by the entrance to Knebworth house (perfect!). Read more about our stay – Novotel Stevenage Review.
Review of Geronimo Festival
Tickets for Geronimo Festival 2018 were £25 online (plus £2.50 booking fee) per day per person – including children 2 and over. A 2 day ticket was £45 plus a £4.50 booking fee. While we were gifted our tickets we did make a £20 donation to a charity of their choosing. Under 2’s, carers and seniors were free. The on the gate prices were £5.00 more although there was no booking fee. A parking pass was valid for the whole weekend and this was £10.00
As we were travelling down on the Saturday we did arrive a little later than planned. This meant that we were parked very far away down a steep slope. I was glad that it wasn’t a wet day as I’m not sure my car would have coped in wet grass. This was also a little unsuitable for families with buggies.
When we arrived at the top of the hill we queued for our wristbands and my bag was then searched for alcohol. After this we picked up a paper A4 double sided map. One side had the day’s schedule on it and the other side had a handy map. You could also purchase a programme for the weekend.
The site was full of quirky decorations which were great for some fun photos. They had monkeys hanging from trees, bike wheels from string, lampshades above a seating area and much more. It was a nice touch and helped it to really feel like a family festival.
The festival site was massive. They had set out many benches across the field which were mostly set out near eating areas. We usually managed to find somewhere to sit when needed. It was around 28oC for much of the weekend and sadly there was very little shade. The tents were incredibly hot and the site had very few trees for shade. While this may have been fine for most adults it was a bit too much for many children. It would have been nice to see some shade being created with large umbrellas and/or canopies. We found ourselves sitting in the shade of all sorts of strange places out of desperation. At times we also struggled to find cold drinks to buy and free water points. This is an essential consideration for next year.
The Main Stage – Geronimo
Geronimo is affiliated with the BBC which meant that most of the performers on the main stage were from CBeebies. We managed to see Cook and Line from Swashbuckle who had a really fun interactive show. Alex Winters hosted the inbetween show entertainment which meant lots of free sweets and water bombs! Other stars we saw were Justin Fletcher, Sid and Rebecca (Let’s Play), Katy Ashworth (I can cook), Mr Bloom and Rock Choir. Plus there were many more. The entertainement was virtually non stop on the main stage.
Justin Fletcher was certainly the most popular and the field was full with people, tents and buggies for his performance. We managed to see about half of his performance which involved lots of tic a tape and singing for everyone to join in with.
Mr Bloom was a far more relaxed performance and we even managed to bag a spot in front of the stage. He had a band with him and they performed some of the songs from his past shows.
There was even an onstage performance of the Gruffalo, which sadly we missed. There were regular meet and greets with the Gruffalo throughout the day though which my son was delighted about.
Other Entertainment at Geronimo
As well as the acts as mentioned above on the main stage there was plenty of other free entertainment across the site. There was a theatre tent with family friendly performances and mini discos. Plus small theatre tents with mini performances or story telling. We saw outdoor theatres with performers and puppets. There was an outdoor arena with motorcycle displays, Horseman of the knight and more.
Over on the far side of the field they had a circus tent with 4 performances a day by Cirque De Hilarious. We also came across an Indian circus performance which was really interesting for my son.
A firm favourite of my myself’s and my son’s was the circus workshop with entertainment. I wish I could remember what they were called. We spent quite a long time there on both days with Jamie practicing on tightropes, wobble boards, plate spinning, stilts and more. They had a drum kit out for the kids to play on and entertainment in between with sing a longs and more.
Other Free Activities at Geronimo
As well as all the entertainment being included in your ticket at Geronimo the vast majority of activities were also free. We enjoyed many of them and some of our favourites were as follows.
Driving school. For older kids they could attend a free mini driving course. For younger kids from the age of 5 they were also allowed to drive around the track a couple of times in the cars.
Another favourite was the real virtual reality arcade. Which had fun ‘real’ size ‘old school’ computer games. Such as pacman where you wear the heads and run around a maze after each other, laser game with ropes for lasers, tetris with big foam blocks, Space invaders with bean bags and more. So much fun!
We also spent a lot of time in the Hasbro section of the festival. They had a princess caravan, Transformers section, playdoh, games and Nerf. In the Transformers area they had a meet and greet with Bumblebee. Plus a truck with interactive things for the kids and more. There was a younger Nerf section where kids could fire cars out of Nerf guns. Plus an older section where people who were big enough could play at Nerf wars in teams….and much more.
There was an area for meeting animals at Geronimo with parrots, unusual animals, giant tortoises and more. Some of these asked for a donation or suggested at a donation for meeting their animals.
We even found a tent full of rocking horses which was also a welcome break from the heat as the tent had open sides.
There were other free activities that we didn’t do or have time for as Jamie felt he was too small for. They had an Adrenalin zone with a high drop you could jump off onto a massive bouncy pillow. Plus an inflatable obstacle fun run, rock climbing walls and more. These were free. They also had donkey rides. I’m unsure if these were free.
Activities at Geronimo that cost Extra
The only things that we came across that you had to pay for were the Fairground rides and bouncy castles. The fairground rides were £2.00 a ride (aside from the Big Wheel which was considerably more). You had to purchase ride tokens for all of the rides. We bought 10 for £10 which meant we had 5 rides. It would have been nice to see a slight discount for buying multiple tickets.
There was a huge inflatable area at Geronimo. My son was desperate to go on them but at £7.50 (it may even have been £8.50) for a day wristband there was no way I was paying out after already spending £10 on fair ground rides. Especially as cold drinks were far more essential in my budget. It was a shame that it was so expensive. I doubt that we’d have had the time to go on more than once during the two days we were there.
Food and Drink at Geronimo
There was something for everyone food wise at Geronimo. With specialist milk shakes, sweet stalls, slush carts, duck wraps, fish and chips, burgers, sushi and much more. Some were fairly priced others seemed a little expensive. But I guess that is to be expected of a festival.
We had an absolutely fabulous time at Geronimo and we would love to attend the family friendly festival again. They really had thought of everything. The entertainment was non stop and certainly entertaining. There was more to do than I ever imagined and we certainly didn’t get to do everything in the time we were there. Considerations for next year, if it’s as hot, are to have shade being more available and cold drinks being easier to buy across the whole site rather than just one area.
Disclosure : We were provided with tickets for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions and photos are my own and must not be reproduced without consent from myself.