Geronimo Festival 2016, Tatton Park – Review

The main focus of our May bank holiday this year was Geronimo Festival at Tatton Park.  Now in it’s second year, Geronimo Festival promised to be even bigger and better than last year.

We had an absolutely fantastic time at Geronimo Festival last year so had high hopes for a repeat performance.  You may have seen on social media that the Harewood House event at the start of the month suffered it’s fair share of problems but from what I’d read I felt that much of this had been aggravated by the poor weather and didn’t really expect any of the issues to spill over into this weekend’s Tatton event.

We arrived on site at around 10.15am and were directed to park on the grass to the right of the main drive way up to the house – if you’re not familiar with Tatton Park, be assured that this is quite some distance from the festival site and not somewhere we’ve ever parked before for events.  This was our first indicator that the event was going to be busy!  Having parked the car, we made our way up towards the site, following the sign posts through the courtyard and past our favourite play area before reaching the entrance.  There didn’t seem to be much in the way of queues, in fact the VIP / Press queue seemed to be taking longer to get through than the standard ticket queue.  Unfortunately that was probably the shortest queue we stood in all day!

As we made our way into the festival, Ben and Chloe started to get really excited.  They chatted about some of the things we had done last year and began to look forward to the day ahead!  From the moment you walk through the gates, your senses are assaulted by bright colours, exciting sounds and smells – you know you’re in for a lot of fun!

Geronimo festival

Although our phones were struggling for reception & internet coverage, we managed to find our friends at the Geronimo main stage and sat down to enjoy Cook & Line’s performance.  The main stage area is huge but slopes down to create a sort of amphitheatre – there were plenty of people stood up in front of the main stage but further back, everyone was just sat in groups and could see really well.  It meant for a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.  We decided that, whilst we had a good spot and the kids were entertained by the Swashbuckle antics, we should get an early lunch – in part to avoid the long queues for food which seemed fairly inevitable.  Dave set off on a food mission and came back with a burger for Ben, chips for Amy and a hot dog for Chloe totalling a rather heavy £13! and then set off back for a rather posher burger for he and I, along with a second portion of chips – another £20!!  Next year we’re taking a picnic.  I know that food is always going to be expensive from event vendors but this was akin to day light robbery!  Luckily, our burgers were delicious and nothing was wasted so we felt a little better about how much money we had just spent!

After lunch we set about exploring the site.  Everywhere we looked the queues were long – for the Helter-Skelter, the bouncy castles, the zip-wire, even the ice cream van.  I know we spent a lot of time queueing for the Helter-Skelter and zip-wire last year but it was much much worse this year.  Luckily, the kids were pretty patient – we gave them the freedom to choose what they wanted to queue for and whether they felt it was worthwhile.  They never complained.  There was so much going on on-site that it was easy to break up the queueing with other activities – watching the shows in the arena, the sheep display (which was an unexpected highlight) or exploring one of the tents.

The boys absolutely loved the zip-wire and whilst we thought it was great that they got to have two goes (after queueing for about 90 minutes) we did think it was a bit odd that they were allowing single riders – I couldn’t understand why they weren’t checking the queue for other people who wanted to go alone – surely that’s just efficient management of the queue?  Niggles aside – I’m not sure who enjoyed the zip-wire more – Dave or Ben!

The girls were super patient while the boys queued for the zip-wire, we took them to sit down on the grass and they lapped up the sunshine and the chance to run around freely for a bit – the promise of an ice cream helped our cause no end.  This was something we rather regretted promising them when we saw the length of the queue for the ice cream van, however it’s not a day out without a 99 so we settled the kids next to the arena to watch the performance with Neil while we queued up.  £15 lighter (yep, that’s £3 a pop) and spent up for the day, we took the ice creams back to the kids only to find that Amy had fallen asleep in her pushchair whilst she was waiting.  Much as it goes against every fibre of my being to wake a sleeping child, we had to try if only because she’d have been gutted to wake up later and find that not only had she missed her ice cream but we couldn’t afford to buy her another one!

Once we’d had our ice creams we decided to queue for the Helter-Skelter – there’s no avoiding it really when it dominates the skyline!  As we were climbing up the stairs inside, Chloe started to panic a bit and I was dreading her telling me that she didn’t want to go on after all!  Luckily, it was just the dark, rickety stairs that bothered her and once we got to the top she was perfectly happy to jump onto her mat and whizz down!  Amy absolutely loved the Helter-Skelter giggling and shouting “whooo” all the way down.  She later told me that it was the best bit of her day!

We struck lucky with the queues for the carousel and merry go round and managed to get pretty much straight onto those before heading the the Theatre Tent for some Jedi training.  The tent was packed and rather than “Jedi training” it was more akin to a Star Wars themed holiday camp party – which the kids loved!  It was a shame that when it came to handing out light sabres (light up foam sticks) there were nowhere near enough for the number of children taking part.  None of our children managed to get a light sabre and whilst they were disappointed, they took it on the chin and continued to enjoy the experience for what it was.

To end our day, we popped into the craft tent – keen for a sit down if nothing else.  Sadly the tent was winding down and there was nobody doing face painting, floral crowns and so forth.  This was around 45 minutes before the end of the day so it was a shame to see things had been tidied away.  We managed to spend a bit of time making wooden spoon people though which the girls got really into.

The last event of the day in the arena was a couple of sheep dogs (or should that be duck dogs?) herding ducks – which held considerably more entertainment value than I would have expected!  And with that it was done.  We were a little disappointed that the parade had been scrapped this year – we loved the way it lead everyone out of the site last year following that wonderful big bird.  This year it felt a bit of an anti climax without it – a bit “Right, we’re done, you can go home now”.

Of course with so many people on site, you knew that the car park and traffic were going to be something of a headache.  We purposely stayed right until the end to try and let things dissipate a little and, as a result of parking so far away from the site itself, we actually didn’t do too badly when it came to getting out (unlike Mich and Neil who spent 45 minutes getting off site despite us all leaving at the same time!)

So all in all –  plus points for the event include plentiful toilets which were impressively clean, free suncream for those who needed it, an easy to navigate layout on site, a wide range of things to do and see.  Major niggles include some issues with the speakers on the main stage, inflated prices for food, the amount of time wasted queuing (perhaps a butcher’s counter style number system might work for the popular attractions like the Helter-Skelter or zip-wire?) and just generally too many people for a children’s event.

We had a really great day out and made some fantastic memories with our children, however had the weather not been so kind I think this would have been a very different review!  Will we go back again next year?  I think so.

*Disclaimer – We attended Geronimo Festival free of charge as part of our role as Geronimo Ambassadors, however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

*Read more reviews here*

*Read about more of our adventures here*

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43 Comments

  1. June 2, 2016 / 2:15 pm

    This looks like such a fab day out. I love your photographs, I think you've captured the day really well! Fab video x

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      Thanks Emma! x

  2. June 2, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    Would have been lovely to have seen you. We had the same experience as you, great day out but a few niggles. Thank goodness it was sunny! x

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:03 pm

      Yes, it's a shame we didn't see each other! The weather really did make it x

  3. June 2, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    It really was a fantastic day out! We had a blast despite the queues and it being so busy. Glad you did too.

  4. June 2, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    So many happy memories, so many beautiful pictures of your lovely family, Colette! I watched your instagram feed enviously on the day. That's exactly the ind of event I would like to take my little ones to. x

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:03 pm

      Thanks Mel x x

  5. June 2, 2016 / 11:58 pm

    You have some great photos there looks like the little ones had an amazing time.

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      Thank you, the weather helped of course! It's much easier to take nice photos when the sun is shining 😉

  6. June 3, 2016 / 12:08 am

    What some amazing photos of such a great sounding event – I love all these family festivals they seem to do now. x

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      It's such a great way to spend a day! (Though it did remind me of how much I miss a good music festival!)

  7. Helen Clark
    June 3, 2016 / 6:20 pm

    It sounds an amazing family day out and you've got some gorgeous photos. It's a shame it wasn't better organised to help the queues though x

    • June 3, 2016 / 8:04 pm

      Yes I do think they need to address that for future accounts x

  8. June 3, 2016 / 6:22 pm

    I was logged in to the wrong google account *facepalm!* sorry

  9. June 3, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    What a lovely day out looks like everyone had fun.

  10. June 3, 2016 / 11:05 pm

    Oh wow that look amazing, such a great day out! And there's a zip wire! I would've love to have gone somewhere like this when I was younger, I'd love to go now!

  11. June 4, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    What a lovely day! The duck parade sounds like a lot of fun. Can't believe how expensive the food was. I would definitely take sandwiches or a picnic if I went to. Thanks for sharing

  12. June 5, 2016 / 7:26 pm

    Oh wow sounds like an amazing day out – I think my little boy would love it!

  13. June 7, 2016 / 7:05 am

    You captured the day wonderfully with your photos, looks like a perfect time out for all of the family #triedtested

  14. June 7, 2016 / 7:19 am

    What lovely photos, it sounds like a fab day out for the kiddies.
    I think I would be tempted to take packed lunches too, those vendors can get a bit carried away with their prices, can't they! x #TriedTested

  15. June 7, 2016 / 7:28 am

    I've never hear of this event before but it looks like a fantastic day out for everybody. Shame that the food prices were so high although the posh burger looks delicious 🙂

    #readwithme

  16. June 7, 2016 / 7:37 am

    Beautiful photographs – shame about the queuing and OOOOH at £3 for an ice cream!

  17. June 7, 2016 / 7:48 am

    Looks like a great day was had by everyone, your photos capture it so well. I love the one sleeping with ice cream over her face x

  18. Erin Ek Rush
    June 7, 2016 / 9:19 am

    I was really looking forward to reading your review on this as you're always so honest and there were such mixed reactions to the event near us. It sounds like an amazing day in a lot of aspects but I am not a big fan of crowds and I am terrible with ques (I blame it on being American haha) so it's good to know I would have to be well prepared for both!

  19. June 7, 2016 / 8:42 am

    Such a fun day out for the kids and it looks like you had amazing weather 🙂 We always take packed lunches everywhere for events/festivals as they can be so pricey! #triedandtested

  20. June 7, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Hi Colette, looks like you had the best of weather for Tatton park this year, what fun in the sun and something for all the family to enjoy. The entertainment looks so good and plenty going on too. Do join me for Country Kids. #TriedTested

  21. June 7, 2016 / 10:31 am

    Sounds a lovely day out apart from queues and food pricing. Luckily we have mini zip-rides at a couple of our local parks, so could probably miss out that activity

  22. Emma Lofthouse-Burch
    June 7, 2016 / 2:02 pm

    This is a great honest review. I was wondering how the Tatton Park one had gone after reading about the one in Leeds

  23. June 7, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    The food really was pricey but I'm glad you all still had a lovely day and the weather was nice for it too! #triedtested

  24. June 7, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    This looks like a great day despite the food pricing – why do they always do that at festivals!! Ruins it in my opinion as you just feel like you are being taken the mick out of #triedtested

  25. June 7, 2016 / 6:01 pm

    Sounds like a great day out! I love kids festivals. Although those food prices are INCREDIBLY steep! #triedtested

  26. mummydaddy mia
    June 7, 2016 / 8:49 pm

    Aww I have heard a lot of people say similar things, what a shame for a children’s event! I know we would have struggled if we had of taken Mia as she isn't great with waiting in queues and isn't a fan of crowds! Lovely photos though and I'm glad you got something out of the day 🙂

    #TriedTested

  27. June 7, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Your burger did look lovely, but I can see how it would eat into your budget a bit!

  28. June 8, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    We've heard mixed reviews from Geronimo Festival, the food sounds expensive but no different from any other festival I suppose. We're heading to 6 festivals this year and it's costing us a pretty penny on food too, picnics are the way forward if you can smuggle them in 😉 activities look good, we're not massive fans of queues either…thank goodness you had the weather! #TriedTested

  29. Jane Arschavir
    June 8, 2016 / 7:19 pm

    It's a very thorough and honest review. We went the same day, the queues for some things were a bit much, but there was enough other stuff to do that it didn't matter. Love reading other peoples reviews to see what we missed out on!

  30. June 9, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    I loved how honest you were about the good and negative bits. I saw a few people complain about it being too busy that day but others saying the next day wasn't so bad. It's a shame to spend a lot of time in queues isn't it especially for a kids event x

  31. Joanna McCaffrey
    June 11, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Sounds fun, but pretty expensive! It looks like you all had fun though, something for everyone 🙂
    I love the sheep!

  32. June 12, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    It was really interesting to read this Colette as I'd seen quite a lot of rubbish reviews of the Harewood House event. I'm glad you were able to enjoy your day despite the queues and expensive food. I think we might try and go next year as we'll be living much nearer by then…we'll definitely be taking a picnic though!

  33. Odd Socks and Lollipops
    June 12, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    We were supposed to go to this but we couldn't. It sounds like we missed a good day – though I am not sure that Boo would be as patient in the queues! The food sounds a bit on the expensive side though

  34. June 14, 2016 / 8:29 am

    This sounds and looks like an amazing family day out! We are off to our first family festival this month and I'm keeping everything crossed for good weather. If it goes well then I may consider this one next year. Thank for hosting #TriedTested

  35. Jonathan Matthews
    February 27, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    Hi, I’m not sure if you’ll get this, but I’m researching how ‘green’ the Geronimo Festival is. Do they have recycling facilities etc? Were there water filling stations? Do they promote green waste management?
    I would be very grateful if you could provide some information on this subject.
    Many thanks.

    • Colette
      Author
      February 27, 2017 / 9:52 pm

      Hi Jonathan,
      From what I remember there were recycling bins around the site but for more detailed information you’d need to get in touch with the promoter themselves. Sorry I can’t be of more help x

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