Geronimo festival screen - Bubbablue and me

CBeebies fun at Geronimo Festival Tatton

Phew, it’s taken a while to get round to writing up our Geronimo Festival experience. I’d spotted the festival last year but couldn’t make it – but this year arranged to go and visit my best friend in Manchester, and then take her boy and N to Geronimo. I was horrified at the cost of tickets (£20 each, with the annoying £1.50+ per ticket Ticketmaster booking costs on top!), but decided it was worth it for a full day of activities aimed at children.

Geronimo festival screen - Bubbablue and me

I had been worried after seeing all the complaints about the Leeds Geronimo, but thankfully the weather was hot and sunny which was always going to make it a lot better to enjoy a day out. We arrived early to ensure we weren’t parked miles away, although there was still a fair walk for little legs. It did mean we got to see some of the Roald Dahl exhibition pieces on the walk. I’m just introducing N to Roald Dahl books now so it was a shame we didn’t have more time in Manchester to see the whole trail.

Great Glass Elevator Roald Dahl trail at Tatton
The Twits Roald Dahl display at Tatton

Even at 10am getting in was busy, but the ticket checking and wristband handing out was efficient. We were able to write on phone numbers (although next time I’ll write it afterwards so it’s not half hidden by multiple wrapping around little wrists) which is something I always forget to do. Once in we took photos of the show times at the various stages, then headed off to check out what was going on.

Hammocks at Geronimo
fun in the rainbow hammocks at Geronimo
Geronimo stage schedule

The bonus of arriving before all the crowds is that you get to speak to stall holders and have the choice of crafts in the craft tent. The boys made some Fantastic Mr Fox masks, pimped up some toy ducks (great idea for an art party) and the mooched looking at the other crafts on offer.

Pimp a rubber duck

We did try going back later but found there wasn’t space for us, or there were set times for activities so we’d missed our opportunity to join. I found this was a problem throughout the day. A lot of the tents had number limits for the activities, in particular those for 5 years and upwards, so most of the time tent doors were closed off because they were full or the session had started.

There were no programmes or maps available – although I cheekily asked a staff member if I could have one of theirs. I think it’s madness not handing them out to people – or they should at least tell people to take photos of the map and timetable at the entrance. Otherwise you needed to do an initial recce round the entire site to check out times for the activities you wanted to do….and then arrive early.

Enjoying Geronimo festival flags

Queues were a problem all day once the main stage performances started and the crowds started arriving. We queued for a while for the bouncy castles but then N decided he didn’t want to go on them so we left my friend in the queue while we went off to see Swashbuckle. N was a bit disappointed to see just Cook and Line. He was expecting to see children doing the jewel hunt in a replica of the tv show. But he did chuckle away.

dancing to Justin Fletcher at Geronimo

We watched Andy Day on stage talking about the dinosaurs and leading some roaring and singing audience participation. This went down well with everything (including a lot of adults sat near us), and I was pleased to see N joining in, in between eating his picnic lunch. There were a lot of sound issues with mics cutting out, so there was some time during 2 shows we couldn’t hear anything. This seemed to be sorted in time for Justin Fletcher later on in the day which was the only other show we watched.

Despite the popularity of the stage, especially for the Cbeebies performers, there was plenty of room to set out our picnic blanket and relax. We had a reasonable view from up on the hilly area, so it was well thought out for visibility for children.

helter skelter at Geronimo

After lunch my godson wanted to go on the helter skelter so we left them to queue while we checked out the mountain bikers jumping off cars (N wasn’t interested) and then watched The Imps motorcycle display team. The Imps because they’re all children starting at age 5! N loved this display, and we even had to go back later to watch a bit of it.

Motorcyle Imps bike
Motorcycle imps display

We also watched the unicorn and knights display. Because we love a bit of medieval fighting and horse-riding.

unicorn show at Geronimo festival
selfies at Geronimo festival 2016

There was certainly plenty of options to watch and we could happily have sat and watched more if there hadn’t been other things to see.

watching the motorcyle display

We had a false start in the children’s harp session where kids were learning to play along to a song. N decided he wanted to try, then got panicked when it was his turn saying ‘I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to do it because I don’t know how’. Me placating him explaining I didn’t know either but the lady was going to teach all the children, didn’t help. It drives me nuts when he says he wants to do something then worries about it and pulls out for no reason. I do wish he’d have more confidence at trying new things sometimes.

He didn’t want to see the animals area, and we didn’t get round to the woodland activities which I’d have liked to have seen. But there were plenty of roving characters to see, including roaming musicians, bird and giraffe puppets.

puppets at Geronimo
stickman at Geronimo festival
floating statues at Geronimo
Carousel roof against bluesky

We’d managed to fall upon the water zone – not particularly well advertised as a drinking water point, just hand washing next to the toilets – in fact my friend hadn’t realised it was drinking water and found that none of the food and drink stands had water left to buy – she ended up with some sparkling water as the only alternative, It was so warm, ice creams were essential for us…although I wish they hadn’t been because 50 minutes in an ice cream queue was insane. We heard a later mention that there were 11,000 people at the festival, but 2 ice cream vans that we spotted were not enough. And it looked like food queues were nuts too. They could have doubled up on ice cream vans in case of good weather, and they’d have probably had more sales because the queues wouldn’t have put people off.

a long awaited ice cream at Geronimo

Luckily N is really good at waiting and behaving himself. I suggested he go off and investigate one of the music tents we could see from the queue, but he wouldn’t go on his own so stood with me all that time. The person behind me was so impressed with him waiting patiently for so long that she complimented me on his behaviour. I was so chuffed about that. Of course, an ice cream at the end of it did help.

While we felt like we saw a lot, there was a lot we didn’t see thanks to queues (I dread to think what time the circus queue started because 30 minutes before a show it was huge). And areas we didn’t really reach. I think if there price was right, it would be worth doing both days then you can get there early and stay late to make the most of it without rushing round.

carrying the lunchbox home
Dragging a tree branch at Geronimo

As we left we were asked for feedback from a lovely guy who made N a little paper hat for his duck while us adults filled out the forms. Our thoughts were that we wouldn’t go back. We had a great time (my friend less so because my godson was being a bit of a whinger all day), but a lot of that was the weather. It would have been a disaster in rain because while there were tents, there wasn’t much room and enough to do for everyone in the sun, let alone if everyone wanted shelter.

The good:

  • The cleanliness and set up of the site. It was colourful and tidy, and little litter around considering lots of people picnicking
  • The site was a good size
  • The types of activities were varied and covered a range of ages from under 3s to primary school age
  • The toilets. There were plenty of them and were the only thing we didn’t queue for
  • Access and traffic getting to and from the festival. Tatton is used to putting on these events and we didn’t have to queue for ages to get in
  • Seeing N standing up and joining in with the stage show instructions and dancing. It’s not something he’s ever wanted to do before but he loved it.

The bad:

  • Timetables or lack of them. Apart from the arena and main stage, until you arrived somewhere, there was no way of knowing what was on and what times. Maybe they should include a map and timetable, plus specific activities online so you could print them off beforehand, or download onto phones. And maybe activities should have the ability to pick up times tickets for later slots if you don’t make a previous one.
  • Sound system problems – while there are always things that go wrong, it was a long time before it got sorted out in the first show we were watching. But the issue happened again in another show. It was a shame because kids don’t understand when things go wrong, and given the organisers had last year’s experience, and that in Leeds where I also understand there were issues, it maybe could have been solved quicker. The sound when it did work wasn’t always the clearest up on the hill either. At other festivals we’ve been to there have been speakers around the edge of the arena area so it’s clear and loud from every angle.

The ugly

  • The queues. Every ride, most activities, food, everything meant queuing. While the site didn’t feel overly full, it felt like they needed duplicates of activities to reduce the queues. So more bouncy castles, more ice cream vans, more food vans. Some people said it felt like the amount of activities that a normal family festival would put on for children but this one was all meant to be for children

All in all we did have a good day. The children loved it despite the queues, and although we didn’t get round everywhere I wanted to see, we had a full day out in the sun with friends (most of the time apart from queuing for different things) having fun.

Did you go? How did you find it? What other children friendly festivals would you recommend?

Check out these other festival options for kids:


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  1. Looks like a great event and I love your photos. I’ve read some reviews about it too and there seems to be an issue from queues and bits. But, If I was there, I would take the unicorn home. 🙂 x

  2. I find you honesty so refreshing. It sounds like it could have been an amazing day out had they been just a little more organised. Glad you still managed to have a good time and that the weather was on your side.xx #CountryKids

  3. What a brilliant honest review, thank you! On the face of it it sound like the most amazing children’s festival, but I would be really struggle with the queuing too! #CountryKids

  4. What an honest review! I actually miss attending festivals but maybe not the lines. We usually just attend the small ones because there will be less people and less lines. But there wont be big names though.

    You look like you had fun even if theres a lot of cons in this one.


    1. Definitely a pain with kids. Luckily N’s patient, but also that he isn’t usually that fussed about the rides with long queues. But it’s depressing spending much of a day out queuing.

  5. I’m glad you had a good day despite the crowds. Looks like there were plenty of interesting things to do. My son would have probably staying in that hammock for an hour. #countrykids

  6. Events like these are always hard to judge. I’m not a pro active organiser, I like to wander and see what we come across. I doesn’t sound like we’d have managed much!
    Online timetables would be a fab idea, maybe they could let you preliminarily book activities too so you can timetable your own day.

  7. We’ve read some really mixed reviews of Geronimo Festival. Not so sure we’d go to this…however if you are looking for a family friendly festival with an amazing music line-up then we’d recommend Blissfields Festival in Hampshire. We went last week and had an amazing time…less rides, no queues and plenty of activities xx #CountryKids xx

  8. What a shame the queues and lack of timetables let down what should really be a fantastic overall experience for the whole family. Like you say, if it had rained it would potentially have been a lot worse. However, I’m glad there were enough things of interest there to not let it ruin your day. We haven’t been to a kids festival yet but have been to music festivals that are family friendly, in fact we go back to Kendal Calling in a couple of weeks which has a good kids area. One to check out if you’re also music fans like us.
    Potty Adventures

    1. Thanks for stopping by David. We’ve been to Cornbury before, but I’m not too sure about camping for a festival. Thankfully there’s a few near us we can do for the day. I think the hard thing with this was just the amount of children and everyone being there for that reason. At least with family friendly festivals, they have similar activities but the demands is a bit more spread out.

  9. I don’t think I ever took my kids to anything like this when they were young, though I’m sure they would have loved it. the idea of having 6 of them at something like this terrifies me though, especially with all the queues and people, I’d spend all my time trying to find lost kids! I think just having N must come into its own for things like this and what a wonderful experience for him. I do hope his confidence grows, I feel your frustration when he backs out of things you know he would really like to try, keep encouraging him and I’m sure it will come.

    Thank you for sharing the festival at #CountryKids

    1. Having one definitely makes it easier and cheaper going to places like this. He’s definitely quicker at getting stuck into things now, but he’s still shy to start with. He did surprise me the other day saying he wanted to go to Go Ape. I explained that we could go and look at it, but it’s expensive and I needed to know he would definitely do it once up there. We decided we’d revisit when he’s his cousin’s age (I was meaning the 7yo, he thought the 13yo!)
      Thanks for stopping by

  10. We’re passed this stage now. I’d be torn. I hate over crowded events and so do the children, but some of your photos make it look very tempting. Very impressed that they could try harps. Eldest plays. Yet to find a visiting child who can resist running fingers over the strings. Awesome bird puppet. If nothing else, you can tick this event off your list. #CountryKids

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