The Estuary Story


Estuary Festival shines a spotlight on the Thames Estuary region through high-quality contemporary arts programmes that celebrate the stories, places and people of the Thames Estuary.

Embracing the South Essex and North Kent coastlines as well as the river itself, Estuary Festival is a catalyst to embed long-term change. Through ambitious, multi-arts programmes inspired by the Thames Estuary and its connections with the rest of the world, Estuary Festival explores the rich, often overlooked stories of estuary people and places.

It's all about creating extraordinary arts experiences inspired by unexpected places – where sea and river meet, land and water mingle, and nature and industry intertwine.

Estuary Festival was founded and curated by Metal presenting the first two editions Estuary 2016 and Estuary 2021 with Cement Fields, initiated by Colette Bailey during her time as Metal's Artistic Director.

Estuary 2016, the first edition of the festival, was curated by arts organisation Metal and presented in culturally and historically significant venues across the Essex and Kent shorelines. Access the archive of Estuary 2016 here.

The second edition, Estuary 2021 took place on the river itself, and along the 107 miles of South Essex and North Kent coastline. Artworks were set in the landscape, online and within Covid-safe venues, led by a partnership between estuary-based arts organisations, with Metal and Cement Fields made possible through Creative Estuary Access the archive of Estuary 2021 here.

Estuary Festival CIC was established in 2023 as an independent organisation to continue to deliver exciting, bold and ambitious arts programmes in response to the Thames Estuary.

Estuary Festival is supported by