BRACE yourself for a fantastic new festival coming to Thurrock this summer.
Arts group Metal is behind the all-singing, all-dancing (literally) bonanza set to light up Grays.

Some people hear the word arts and run the other way. Don’t make that mistake.

This festival will be vibrant, fresh and fascinating, and Metal has credentials, too – it doesn’t do things by halves.

The group has a tried, tested and hugely successful formula, which it will bring to Grays Beach on July 18.

The event, called Village Beach, will look to mirror the success of Village Green, which takes place in Southend each year.

Metal set up in the seaside borough eight years ago and its first Village Green, in 2008, was attended by about 4,000. 

Fast forward a few years and it’s easy to see how it has hit the right note with Essex folk.

Village Green is now a main part of the annual events calendar in Southend and no fewer than 22,000 people attended last year’s show.

The group is ultra-confident it can replicate that success here. It’s backed by us, and funded by the council, Arts Council England and South Essex College.

And it’s not as if Metal will feel its way in and look for a low-key starter. No chance.

See our story today, there are no fewer than SEVEN stages planned at this summer’s inaugural event.

The celebration will combine education with adventure and top-notch entertainment.

And it will aim to showcase and focus on local talent – everything from singing and recitals to big bake-offs and busking.

With the introduction of the High House Production Park, there was a lot of talk in the aftermath of how everyday people here were going to engage with the arts, and this high-quality show is sure to break down barriers and hopefully capture many imaginations. And it’s free, too!

I was involved in some early discussions last year about this event and I’ve seen, first hand, the passion, drive and determination of the people who want it to happen.

I wish the organisers the very best of luck, although I’m not sure they’ll need that much luck with their track record.