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24th March 2021

The Thames Estuary Growth Board is proud to support the large-scale arts festival, Estuary 2021, which will be going ahead this year to celebrate the lives, landscapes and histories of the spectacular region. This is the second edition of the multi-disciplinary festival, which will involve 23 days of visual art, music, literature and film set in the landscape of the Thames Estuary from 22 May – 13 June 2021.

The festival will take place on the river itself and along the South Essex and North Kent coastline, where contemporary artworks, discussion and events explore and respond to powerful themes resonant in the Estuary.

Visitors can expect to see a mix of large scale and intimate artworks set outside in the landscape and within Covid-safe venues, as well as an online programme of discussions and events to accommodate for everyone.

Audio and broadcast works, performances, and installations will explore contemporary concerns such as climate justice, rebellion and imperial legacy, bringing new audiences to a deeper understanding of the Estuary.

Re-framed in light of Covid-19, the festival invites visitors to take an epic walk along the stunning coastline, encountering contemporary artworks and performance within the Estuary landscape, historic sites and coastal towns.

The Estuary coastline as a continuous walk was originally described by writer and avid walker, Tom King, in his book ‘Thames Estuary Trail: A Walk round the End of the World’ (2001, Desert Island Press) which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Thames Estuary Growth Board has supported the development of a 107-mile signposted walking and cycling trail tracing this route so more people can explore the region’s coastline and green spaces. A second edition of the book with a new introduction and extended chapters will be published for Estuary 2021. It will be launched on Sunday 30 May from the iconic Southend Pier, with readings and an accompanied walk led by the author.

This bold, contemporary programme will be led by a partnership of two locally-based arts organisations, rooted in their communities, Metal (South Essex) and Cement Fields (North Kent).

Commissioned programme includes contributions by Mary Mattingly; Marcus Coates; Ackroyd & Harvey; Sadie Hennessy; Jack McNamara; Caroline Bird and Selina Nwulu; Jas Dhillon, James Marriott, Lu Williams and Elsa James; Robert Macfarlane, Zoe Svendsen and Carolyn Downing; Shona Illingworth and Patrick Wright; and Bob and Roberta Smith.

Estuary 2021 is the flagship and forerunner event of a transformative Creative Estuary 3-year programme of cultural investment in the area. The festival will benefit the whole community by building the capacity and ambition of culture and the creative industries with a wide network of partners.

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy, said “The Thames Estuary Growth Board recognises and values the role that culture and creativity play in happy and successful places, and how as a sector, this can inspire economic growth. To that end, we are proud to support the Estuary 2021 Festival, which in turn plays a central role in our mission to position London and the south-east as a world leader for the creative industries.”

Find all the latest activities and browse the 2021 events programme at

Follow @EstuaryEnvoy and @estuaryfestival on Twitter for the latest updates.