Sunday, September 24, 2023

Thurrock Festival Reviewed

By Michael Casey

The two-day Thurrock Festival could well be a breakthrough event for the borough.It has taken a huge leap since last years event. Indeed one has to remember that this is only the second year for the event and so it is very much only early days.

From a musical point of view, there were so many good artists there and there was something for everyone. Cool soul artists such as Kajira Kamara and Grace Obika to young intense bands such as They Sink Ships. There was a berth for trad r ‘n’ b groups such as Heist from Southend.

Local artists were highlighted as well such as the Thurrock’s Got talent winner Kate Thornett, local grime artists Pure Menace Movement and huge talent Tall dark friend.

As opposed to the Festival consolidating on its success, it now needs to grow. That may mean moving to another location such as Blackshots or Belhus. There could well be a central ring, other fringe tents for comedy, poetry and more and more stalls for local commercial artists and community groups.

It would be good to see every ward, every school represented in the festival.Let’s not forget businesses which may necsssitate a site nearer to Lakeside.

Were Diversity worth £20,000 for their ten minute slot. Personally, yes. Vision does come with a price and if you want to put a festival on the map then you need to invest.

A word of advice to the organisers on that one though. Don’t tell the press it was all about who you know. It was all about the colour of your money but hey don’t we all big it up now and again!

Coherence is also needed here for next year.

1. Let me get this right. The Diversity Unit organised the T-fest. Outside contractors organised the Big Weekend. So what exactly have Arts Officers been doing all summer?

2. The Portfolio Holder for Diversity is Councillor Joy Redsell but she didn’t seem to have any role to play at the T-Fest. We understand that she didn’t even turn up.

The key theme of the T-Fest was bringing communities together in a subtle way (and it worked) but do the organisers and other councillors understand how this looks.

Then again, this is the Councillor who didn’t turn up for all fifteen performances of the Thurrock Drama Festival, the opening of the Corringham Library and refuses to answer desperate pleas regarding the State Cinema.

Having said that credit has to go to the four councillors on the steering group and the organisers for a fantastic festival.

Thurrock now has a great summer calendar of events. The events at Aveley, South Ockendon, North Stifford, Stanford (especially Stanford) plus Hordon and the great Orsett Show all illustrate that the borough has a vibrant scene.

The T-Fest gives a funky 21st century feel to the cultural milieu and needs the critical backing of the whole borough. Roll on T-Fest 2010.

Oh…and the curried goat was wonderful!!

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  1. Had to comment on this, T-Fest was a great event, and perhaps the first time Thurrock Council has actually done something that benefits the whole community. Well done to the unit that organised T-Fest, absolutely brilliant. shocking to hear that the arts department was not involved in supporting this event. I agree that something like this needs to grow, if not you miss the opportunity to build on something that the whole community needs. Well done to those involved on the steering group, great coverage and videos on Your Thurrock looking forward to next year. Well done Thurrock Council.

    Paul, Grays


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