Listed below are a wide range of arts and music festivals across the county (if you are wanting beer festivals, we have a separate beer festivals listing!).
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.
Horror on Sea Film Festival Running from 17th – 19th January 2014, three days of horror films at the Park Inn Palace Hotel, Southend. more details
Words in Walden Spring Festival 2014
Friday 28th February – Friday 28th March
This is the 14th literary festival to be held in the town There are events happening at venues across Saffron Walden, speakers include the historian David Starkey, poet Andrew Motion and gardener and writer Chris Beardshaw more details
Essex Book Festival.
Running throughout March 2014 with events across the county.
Southend Film Festival 2014
Friday 2nd May to BH Monday 5th May 2014.
The Opening Gala will feature no fewer than three comedy shorts, featuring Peter Sellers, that have been thought lost for over 50 years.
Rock for Havens Sake Music Festival
The Mill Art and Events Centre, Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh.
Sunday 18th May 2014.
The festival will be raising money for Havens Adult and Children’s Hospices, with a wide range of music. All day food, all day bar, all day music. An event for all the family.
Essex Summer of Art
May – September 2014
The sixth Summer of Art showcases artists from across the county, with over 1700 artists have had the opportunity to exhibit in art trails across the county in the last five years.
Thaxted Church, Thaxted
20th June to 13th July 2014.
The glorious Thaxted Festival was first started by none other than Gustav Holst in 1913, the modern event began in 1980. To celebrate the centenary of another great composer Benjamin Britten, the theme for this year’s festival is “The Riches of British Music”. There will be performances by amongst others the Brandenburg Sinfonia Strings,T enebrae who are a chamber choir, and the cellist Guy Johnston a former BBC Young Muscician of the Year who will be performing with the pianist Alasdair Beaston.
The Museum of Power, nr Maldon
Saturday 21st June 2014
Music, comedy and arts festival.
Maldon Arts Festival
21st June 2014 – 5th July 2014
Classis music and a little jazz (nice) across Maldon.
Harwich Festival of the Arts
25th June 2014 and 7th July 2014
The Harwich Festival of the Arts provides a range of events in differing locations – jazz, spoken word, classical, brass bands, piano, chamber music and more!
Fling Festival of Assorted Amusements 2014
Chelmsford Central Park
Saturday 29th June 2014.
New faces will mingle amongst acts back by popular demand as they fill the huge tented village of adults-only amusements from 12noon to 11pm at Hylands Park, Chelmsford.
Burnham Art Trail
23rd June 2014 – 29th June 2014.
The trail takes place at various locations in Burnham on Crouch. With lots of local artist displaying their work which is usually for sale
The 3foot People Festival
24th June 2014 – 26th June 2014.
This is the largest outdoor festival exclusively for children aged 5 and under in the UK with nearly 13,000 people attending last year.
Leigh Folk Festival 2014
The largest free festival in the country takes place from 26th June 2014 and 29th June 2014, with lots of fine music.
more details | more folk music coverage on Essex Days Out here.
Brentwood Arts Festival
Friday 5th July 2014 – Friday 12th July 2014
A week long celebration of the arts in Brentwood, commemorating the First World War centenary.
Sunday 6th July 2014 – midday til late.
More than just a huge party – it inspires the community to embrace equality There’ll be a chance to Watch fantastic live entertainment. Listen to great bands, discover services provided by local groups, browse the market stalls enjoy delicious food and drink and meet new friends
Bures Music Festival
Wednesday 9th July 2013 – Sunday 13th July 2014
A wide range of music, and much more…
Victory Recreation Ground, Tollesbury
Saturday 12th July 2014. Time: 11:00 – 21:00
I think this might be one of the smallest festivals in Essex this summer, it might actually be a village fete, but they promise live music, a fun run, stalls, barbecue, Calvors bar, Pimms tent and face painting. So hopefully a fun afternoon in the sun.
Friday 18th July 2014 and Saturday 20th July 2014.
The headline act will be UB featuring Ali Campbell, Astro, and Mickey Virtue, plus music, 100+ real ales, and more…
Village Green Southend 2014
Saturday 13th July 2013.
Over 30,000 attended last year! More details when available.
I AM MUSIC Festival
Castle Park, Colchester
Saturday 26th July 2014
POSTPONED ACCORDING TO THEIR WEBSITE….
Saturday 26th July 2014.
Brightlingsea Free Music Festival
Friday 1st August 2014 to Sunday 3rd August 2014.
The family-run music event in Stow Maries going from strength to strength!
more details when available
Friday 5th September 2014 to Sunday 7th September 2014.
Roman River Music Festival
19th September 2014 and 5th October 2014
Running across a range of ecclesiastical and interesting locations in North Essex/South Suffolk we’ll bring you more details when available. We went to one memorable event in 2012 : click here for our article with some pix. more details
Witham International Puppet Festival
Witham Town Centre
Saturday 20th September 2014.
New for 2014 there will be puppets ‘Meeting and Greeting’ visitors along the High Street. Join in the scarecrow puppet making workshops throughout the day in the Grove Centre. Following the success in 2013 and a full programme of smaller puppetry and storytelling will take place in Witham Library, 18 Newland Street throughout the day.
South Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford City Centre and Anglia Ruskin University
Saturday 20th September 2014 and Saturday 27th September 2014
Previously ESSEXstreetdiversions – After 10 successful years and Chelmsford’s new city status, the popular festival of outdoor arts has a new name and a shift in style. This year, the Festival takes place over two Saturdays, with different shows in South Woodham Ferrers and then Chelmsford City Centre and Anglia Ruskin University and plenty of surprises are planned!
Thurrock International Film Festival
22nd September 2014 – 28th September 2014
Short film competition and some classic films to watch.
Essex Poetry Festival
24th September 2014 – 13th October 2014
Events across the county including the Big Day of Poetry at the Cramphorn Theatre Chelmsford on 11th October
Chelmsford Blues in the City Festival 2014
26th September 2014 – 28th September 2014
Blues, booze, rock and roots.
Words in Walden
Various locations in Saffron Walden
Annual literary festival with big names – ranging this year from Will Self to the wonderful Baroness Shirley Williams.
Harwich International Sea Shanty Festival
Various locations in Harwich me hearties
10th October 2014 – 12th October 2014
What do you do with a drunken sailor?
Colchester Film Festival
22nd – 26th October 2014
Colchester Film Festival is an international film festival dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best filmmaking talent from around the world.