2021 was a phenomenal year for the Thames Estuary. Estuary 2021 festival took place over 23 days in May and June, across 107 miles of estuary coastline, at over 94 locations in the landscape with 66 partner Covid-safe venues. 265 artists were involved, enabling 208,764 visits in person from people living locally and further afield.
Artworks engaged people with contemporary concerns including climate justice along with protest and rebellion, imperial legacy and the rich, often overlooked stories of its diverse communities. 79% of our visitors found the festival themes important or very important factors in their decision to attend the festival, and of those that cited one of the three themes, 66% cited climate as the theme that interested them most.
The festival succeeded in bringing new audiences to a deeper understanding of the estuary, with 93% of audiences strongly agreeing or agreeing that Estuary 2021 was welcoming for the whole community. 92% felt that the event encouraged participation in community life and events and 92% strongly agreed or agreed that Estuary 2021 enhanced the sense of community in the Thames Estuary. 97% of audiences strongly agreed or agreed that the event is good for the location’s image.
Estuary 2021 was delivered through a partnership between Metal (South Essex) and Cement Fields (North Kent) and with 101 diverse partners ranging from local authorities to community partners. The festival was a key element in the Creative Estuary programme, supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England.
A huge 86 creative projects were showcased through the Associated programme, with sixteen 1:1 advice surgeries provided through the estuary team, and 3 professional development seminars commissioned by Estuary 2021 from external expertise.
This is just a snapshot of the impact Estuary 2021 had – to find out more please read the evaluation summary report.
A huge thank you to all the artists, partners, volunteers, staff and freelancers that made Estuary 2021 possible. We look forward to sharing with you news for future Estuary festival events and activities over the coming months. Please subscribe to the e-newsletter to continue to stay updated.
Click here to download a more detailed evaluation report summary.