Geronimo Festival Review
As many of our readers know we loved the Geronimo Festival last year and we have been eagerly counting down the days to go to the festival again. This year the festival added a new location in Leeds to have the Geronino fun available to more of the public so we thought we would go and check out Harewood House and see if the festival was as good as the original one we had been too. So here is our Geronimo Festival Review
The issues on the Sunday
We visited the event on Bank Holiday Monday and had a fantastic day. Many of you will have seen the negative social media and online reports about the festival on the Sunday from many disappointed families who had visited the event. I feel genuinely sorry for these families as due to a mixture of reasons, the event on the Sunday failed to be the family day out they expected, as this is a real shame as they were unable to experience the fun, variety and family focus which is why I love this event. Many of the issues which the famlies faced were dealt with by the Monday and all the families I saw had a great day out. The issues that were in question were the number of people, car parking issues, wait times and the stage. The event on Sunday was sold out and this combined with the horrendous weather on the day meant that not all the activities could go ahead and led to much bigger queues for the other activities. On the day we visited in relation to the issues
- Number of people: we visited on Monday which had only 1/3 of the numbers who visited on Sunday. We only had to wait for a short amount of time for any of the activities and everything from shows to rides, could be accessed without much of a wait time.
- Car parking: The organisers had opened additional routes into the estate and had lots of signs to guide families to the correct parking. We arrived at 10:30 and didn’t encounter any issues, we were parked up without any wait and there was ample staff on hand to guide vehicles into the right spot.
- Wait times: given the smaller number of people, but also the much better weather on Monday, families were able to have picnics, do other activities which may have not been available due to the bad weather on Sunday. Even whilst we were there, additional activities were opened with the improving weather, with the hammocks, to zipride being opened during the course of the day.
- Stage: The stage was the same that had been used in Tatton Park but the positioning in Tatton Park had meant that even though it was a smaller stage then normal festival, everyone got a decent viewing chance. However, in Harewood House, the positioning was not high enough so children would not really be able to see the stage which is a shame as the stage timetable was full of some really big names.
What we thought
As said above, we did have a fantastic day and like last year our children got to see and try and lots of amazing activities and had huge smiles on their faces throughout the whole day. We visited with little adventurers aged 9, 7,5 and 3 years old and there was more then enough for them to all enjoy.
We kickstarted a day with the woodland area, the children loved the monkey nets, Maya was in her element with the wild art and Zayn and my nephew loved the junk orchestra. This focus on good old fashioned, outdoor fun is an integral part of the ethos of the event. The staff in the woodland area were fantastic, and were really hands on with the kids, my daughter almost had a one to one wild art paint lesson, whilst my nephew was shown the art of Catapulting. As the woodland was located at the front of the grounds, many people missed it out as it was the quietest area so ideal to really get your hands on and try out the activities properly.
We decided to visit the circus but as there was no timetable up outside the tent, we hadn’t realised that there were different shows on at different times of the day but it was great as we watched Sam Sam the Bubbleman, who was fantastic. I loved the show as did all the little adventurers and I think it was a great, quirky addition to the live shows. We have been lots of circus and more mainstream shows and this was a welcome change. The show was the right length at about 40 minutes and there ws plenty of seating so a good number of families could enjoy the show. There was popcorn and candy floss for sale, both very reasonably priced which was again a nice thing to see for a major event not charging extortionate amounts.
There were so many great activities on for the children to enjoy, from carpentry, to graffiti classes but these were for over 8 years old so we didn’t get a chance to try them this year. As the sun came out the event truly came into its element, the fabulous hammocks were out, coupled with amazing puppets which really stole the show. The centre focus of the area was the shows and we watched some fantastic ones from the bikers riding through fire to the jousting. There was literally enough on there to spend hours in this area alone. My little adventurers adored the bubble lady by the shop and we spent ages, watching in awe as the assistant made huge bubbles and chasing them all over the grounds.
The hands down favorite activity we did on the day was the Jedi Training which for my Star Wars mad children was the epitome of being the best day ever. Raihan adores the dark side and he was literally oozing with glee when he looked at the pictures of him and Darth Vader, especially as he was able to show his own Darth Vader keyring to the man himself 🙂 This activity was really fab as the children got to practice using their light sabers, got to face the baddies and then watched a final clash between good and evil. However, the highlight will always be the characters breaking into dance (Darth Vader doing the robot) and getting all the children to dance along, it made it into a fantastic party atmosphere and every child in the tent was smiling from ear to ear!
One thing that I really liked about this years event was that the children got to try out something that they watched and I think that’s a great way of getting the children really hands on and the best way to get them to try new activities. We watched the trapeze show and it was fabulous to watch the children all wide eyed and in amazement of these very talented performers. Straight after, the performers would then let the children have a try at the smaller trapeze activities and even those as young as Zayn got to give it a whirl.
We were exhausted after all these activities but we managed to fit in rides on all the fairground rides and even visited the adrenaline area where I got to try zirpriding! It was a shame as due to health and safety reasons the height limit was increased so none of the children could have a go, but it meant I got to for once! The queues for all these were just a few minutes wait and the children got to try as many as their heart desired.
What needs to be improved
We did have an amazing day but there was still areas which need to be addressed to help overcome any potential issues like those which were faced by the visitors on Sunday.
- Map: there is not a single map on the site and organisers need to be able to provide visitors with something they can use to understand how the event is set out and where the different activities are. Once you walk around, you will see the signs for the different areas, but there needs to be a map on arrival and in various points onsite so families can easily see where they need to be heading.
- Labelling the tents: This for me is imperative, we saw that the Jedi Training was in tent 2, but where Tent 2, was a mystery. I knew that my children would love the activity and decided to run around and see if I could find an information point, and this again was not labelled, with no map, and no one to really ask, it was a little bit of a wild goose chase. By luck I happened to go to a tent which was the information point and the staff were able to point in the right direction. We managed to get to the tent just before the activity started and was so pleased as it was one of the best activities we did on the day.
- Activities and timings: The bad weather can be blamed for this but there needs to be a better outline of the day for each tent. With the bad weather and delays, I know timings were changed and organisers were continually updating this online, but it was hard when there was little internet connectivity to find out what was happening where especially if you had misplaced your programme.
- Stage: This was hard to see and I think this is something to consider carefully if the event was to held in Harewood House again.
We had a fabulous day and were so glad that the event organisers managed to put on a great day for those families who visited on Monday and were trying to address the issues that arose on Sunday. There was lots to do for the whole family and I would not hesitate to recommend it to families, so if you are put off by the negative reviews, please don’t be, I am sure you will have a great day at the event in Tatton Park. My little adventurers returned with lots of stories and had a great time meeting one of their favorite TV stars! If you are going this year to the event in Tatton Park, here is a post on how to make the most of the day. If you are looking to buy tickets, this can be done here!
We are ambassadors for the event, but all views and content are my honest views.