Essex Festivals

Listed below are a wide range of art and music festivals across Essex. We also have a separate food and drink festivals in Essex page, and if you are wanting beer festivals visit our sister site Essex Real Ale.

Listings are free – fill in the Add an Event form to let us know about any festivals you are involved with or that you think should be on this list.

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Horror on Sea Film Festival
Park Inn Palace Hotel, Southend
Friday 20th January 2017 – Sunday 29th January 2017
Are you feeling brave? The be off to Southend for their Horror-on-Sea Film Festival, which is on over two weekends. Lots of feature length and short films, meet the director and much more. And not just zombies, but Ebola zombies!!
more details


Essex Book Festival
Various locations
1st March 2017 – 31st March 2017
Some well known authors, a strong focus on Essex, and on the craft (art?) of writing.
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Southend Film Festival
May 2017?
No details of the 2017 event currently available.
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Essex Summer of Art
May 2017 onwards?
No mention (yet?) on the Visit Essex website, which hosts the details of the festival.


Chelmsford Film Festival
Cramphorn Studio (and elsewhere)
Wednesday 7th June 2017 to Saturday 10th June 2017
A “celebration of film culture with the aim of inspiring and championing emerging talent.”
more details

Leigh Art Trail
Various locations across Leigh
Saturday 10th June 2017 – Saturday 17th June 2017
more details when available
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Rock for Havens Sake Music Festival 2017
Cliffs Pavilion Maritime Room, Station Road, Southend on Sea, Essex SS0 7RA
Sunday 11th June 2017
Family friendly, all day music festival in aid of Havens Hospices. Spend a great day listening to music of all genres from rock and pop to blues and jazz performed by some of the best talent in Essex.
more details

Harlow Festival
Harlow Arts Council’s annual celebration of community arts, culture, music and heritage across Harlow. More details when available.
Facebook page

Essex Pride
Central Park, Chelmsford
Saturday 24th June 2017
Essex Pride is an annual celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) life in Essex and beyond.
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Thaxted Festival
Thaxted Church, Thaxted
Friday 23rd June 2017 to Sunday 16th July 2017
Thaxted Festival comprises 4 weekends of established artists and exciting new performers, ranging from early music through classical to jazz and vocal standards.
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Maldon Arts Festival
No details available at present.
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Harwich Festival of the Arts
22nd June 2017 to 2nd July 2017
Classical music, spoken word, visual arts, dance, world music, folk, jazz and more. And a new epic poem from Martin Newell.
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13th Burnham Art Trail
Various locations across Burnham
Saturday 24th June to Sunday 2nd July 2017
“For eight days local artists take over Burnham to create an art trail rich in variety and with a range of fun creative events.”
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3foot People Festival
Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 8WQ
Tuesday 27th June 2017 to Thursday 29th June 2017
“Tickets are currently available for the award winning 3foot People Festival, back for its twelfth year (but tickets will sell out!”)
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Leigh Folk Festival 2017
Various locations in Leigh
Thursday 22nd June 2017 to Sunday 25th June 2017
The largest free folk festival in the country – lots to see and do across various stages.
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The Fling Festival
Hylands Park, Chelmsford
Saturday 1st July 2017
“The Fling is like no other, curated purely for adults with curiosity encouraged, and featuring a diverse mix of entertainment including music, comedy, theatre, cabaret, crafts, burlesque, curious sideshows, food, drink and more.”
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Bures Music Festival
Thursday 6th July 2017 to Sunday 9th July 2017
A wide range of music, and much more… celebrating their 21st birthday in 2017!
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Brentwood Festival
Brentwood Centre
Friday 14th July 2017 to Sunday 16th July 2017
Headliners include Midge Ure, Heaven 17, The Real Thing, Go West…
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Village Green Arts & Music Festival
Chalkwell Park, Chalkwell Avenue, Southend on Sea, SS0 8NB
Saturday 8th July 2017, 11am-10pm
A multi-art form and music festival with eight different stages, green spaces, rose gardens, cricket pitches, pathways and marketplaces offering international music acts, theatre, spoken word, poetry and outdoor arts.
more details

Roman River Summer Weekend
14th – 16th July 2017
To whet your appetite for the autumn festival a short summer series of classical music.
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Stow Maries
Sadly, this family-run event is not going to be held any more.
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Harwich Sea Festival and Lifeboat Day
We had had a great time there in 2012 – click here for our article, with pix. More details when available.
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Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival
Various Locations
Saturday 22nd July 2017 and Saturday 29th July 2017
More details when available.
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Brightlingsea Free Music Festival
Various locations, Brightlingsea
Friday 4th August 2017 to Sunday 6th August 2016
Line-up tba.
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Shore Lane, Wrabfest
Inaugural fest in 2016. No details of a 2017 event yet.
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Hatfield Forest
“Every September the Forest comes alive with the sound of music, buzzing of chainsaws, chopping of wood and laughter. This festival is a ‘must attend’ for many of our visitors, a time to catch up with friends and family in this beautiful setting.” More details when/if 2017 event announced.
more details

Roman River Music Festival
Various locations
14th September 2017 to 1st October 2017
Running across a range of ecclesiastical and interesting locations in North Essex/South Suffolk we’ll bring you more details when available. We’ve enjoyed philharmonic voices in Dedham and the more contemporary Fiona Bevan, and Jon Boden in Colchester.
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Witham International Puppet Festival
Witham Town Centre
tba September
More details when available.
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CITYDiversions Festival
Chelmsford City Centre and South Woodham Ferrers
More details when available
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Essex Poetry Festival
more details when available
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Estuary 2016
Tilbury, Gravesend, Southend, Est Tilbury, Isle of Grain
Inaugural event in 2016. No details of a 2017 event.
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Colchester Comedy Festival
Varoius locations in Colchester
13th October 2017 to 22nd October 2017
More details when available.
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The Village Film Festival
Various locations – Dedham, East Bergholt, Langham, Polstead and Wivenhoe
More details when available.
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Harwich International Sea Shanty Festival
Various locations in Harwich me hearties
Friday 13th October 2017 – Sunday 16th October 2017
We went there in 2014 and enjoyed it hugely – read our article, with pix and vid.
ticket details