We have spent weeks looking forward to attending Geronimo Festival 2016 Harewood House and I’m not going to lie, after reading all the reviews and complaints from Sunday at Harewood house we nearly didn’t bother driving up to Leeds. If it wasn’t for the fact that my husband doesn’t mind driving we wouldn’t have gone. We even had a backup plan of going to Ikea if the event was as bad as we were expecting from the reviews.
On the way to Harewood house, the weather was atrocious. We were prepared for that though and made sure we were wearing layers and J had waterproofs, wellies and a hat to keep warm. The day didn’t get off to a good start as we left our wallet/purse at home and didn’t realise until we were nearly there. After finding an ATM that you can get cash out of using a banking app, I didn’t even know this was possible, we were on our way again. We arrived at Harewood house just after dinnertime which meant we missed the massive downpour of rain, because of this we didn’t actually get wet whilst we were at Geronimo which is always a plus. Another thing worth noting is that there was no traffic at all when we arrived. I was slightly confused why we were sent winding through the muddy grass rather than down the road but hey ho.
Even heading towards the gates I still wasn’t holding out much hope of a good day. When we got through the gate a member of staff suggested taking a photo of your child in case they got lost so it’s easier to identify them. I thought this was a great tip especially as I have lost J in a soft play area before.
I want to address the complaints that Geronimo has had first. I do think that Geronimo has acted on what they could and I think that the reason for such a farce on Sunday was a mixture between being sold out and the typical English weather.
Regarding Ques – I think we only had to que once and that was whilst we were waiting for the carousel to stop. I know the safety of this has been mentioned but I think today a fence had been added around the ride which meant there was a proper queuing system so less of a free for all.
Regarding Toilets, there were more than enough for the amount of people that attended on Monday. I’m not sure if more toilets were added or simply the fact that it wasn’t as crowded. We didn’t need to wait for the toilet at all.
Regarding Signage, this is where I think Geronimo was lacking. I think as you got to the field there should have been a map, even a basic map would have been ideal. Marking out the different zones and where the toilets were and the food areas. Yes, it didn’t take long to wander around but I know when it comes to young children the last thing they want to do is wander around looking for food or a toilet. We were sensible and took a packed lunch for J so we didn’t have to worry about food ques but again there wasn’t really any that we saw. Apparently several of the food vendors didn’t bother turning up on Sunday which was one of the contributing factors. The actual tents could have done with better signs as unless you stuck your head in most of them you had no idea what they were. We were lucky enough to have a press pass to attend but we actually spent all day trying to find the press tent, we actually gave up looking for it eventually. When we finally found the press tent it was about 10 minutes before we were leaving and the meet and greets had already finished.
The stages could have done with a sign of the printed schedule. Unless you checked on your phone, which with limited internet was awkward, then you had no idea who was meant to be on stage and when. The stage was far too small and too low down so you couldn’t really see much once it had got busy. Luckily we got to see Mr Bloom as he was the one person J wanted to see, we were near the front when he came on so we ended up near the front towards the side. The problem ended up being that children were on their parent’s shoulders right at the front of the stage to see better. If a fence had been up keeping everyone back slightly then more people would have been able to see. J ended up on his dad’s shoulders but we made sure we kept reasonably back so not to block the view of everyone. We shouldn’t have had to do this though as Geronimo should have realised that the stage was going to be an issue. The photo below shows how happy J was when he realised Mr Bloom was coming on stage.
J joined in all the shouting out and replying to Mr Bloom until he got distracted and wanted to carry on looking around. J did want to see Andy but we were over the other side of the festival when we realised he was on stage and the crowd seemed pretty big from a distance so I didn’t want to disappoint J if we couldn’t see him.
I have made a basic video of some of the clips and photos I took of our day.
As we were leaving Geronimo, unfortunately, an ambulance was attending an incident. I would like to say that the stewards seemed really on the ball about making sure the road was clear ahead of the ambulance and radioing through.
Overall we had a really good day out especially considering what we were expecting from the reviews from the day before. I do think it is a shame that the first day was such a farce as Geronimo has so much potential. As I mentioned before we got a press pass to attend so we got in for free. I wouldn’t have been happy paying £20PP plus parking for a day out which essentially seemed like an overrated farmers market. Don’t get me wrong we had a lovely day out and J has had plenty of fun. I think if your child was slightly older and more ‘crafty’ then you would get more out of the festival than we did. There were plenty of things to do, once you found them, such as painting in the craft den or making things or building things but J was just a bit too young to appreciate them yet.
Did you attend Geronimo Festival this year, what did you make of it?