A new Estuary Festival is kicking off next weekend organised by Metal, which aims to celebrate the landscape and communities of South Essex on the river.

Over sixteen days, punters will be able to take their pick of art, literature, music and film curated in response to the spectacular Thames Estuary.

Highlights of the festival are set to include a sea-themed feature film shown at the Coalhouse Fort and a pop-up museum of new estuary shipwreck finds.

Fans will also be able to catch a sunrise performance by acclaimed vocal artist, Caroline Bergvall, as well as top writers and film-makers speaking about their Estuary-themed work.

The new festival ‘Estuary 2016’ has been pulled together by curators who ran the successful Village Green and Village Beach events.

Organisers said this year’s programme included an “eclectic” mix of exhibitions, performance, conference and events.

The aim, they said, is to pull together “powerful themes resonant to the place, its landscape, and communities.”

On the list of speakers for the Shorelines Literature Festival are Rachel Lichtenstein, Horatio Clare, Rose George, Deborah Levy, Ken Worpole and Patrick Wright.

Artists to speak on Saturday 17 include Lynn MacRitchie who filmed her new film ‘The Towers of Ilium’ in Thurrock and used local people to act in it.

The film takes themes from Homer’s Iliad and applies them to modern gang culture - in this case skinheads - to explore violence as a means of social grouping.

The curators of this year’s art-packed programme of events include Metal’s Colette Bailey, Gareth Evans and Sue Jones.

Estuary 2016 Top 10 Ten Highlights:

Points of Departure: 17 - 30 September

  • 28 contemporary artists present new and existing works in the astonishing Grade II* listed Tilbury Cruise Terminal and venues in Gravesend.

Shorelines Literature Festival: 17 & 18 September

  • Writers, artists film-makers and performers explore the Estuary and related themes, alongside tours of Tilbury Port, Family Activities and Riverside Walks.

Sound of Thames Delta: 1 & 2 October

  • Musicians, writers, artists, film-makers and broadcasters examine the relationship between place and music, at the end of the world's longest pier in Southend-on-Sea. Read more.

Fort Film Night: Sunday 25 September

A sea-themed feature film, outdoors in the stunning amphitheatre of the C19th military base, Coalhouse Fort. Selected by public vote.

LV21: 17 - 30 September

The last Lightship built in the UK moors up at Gravesend to present a mix of art, workshops, music and film on board.

Museum of the Thames Estuary - Pop Up: 17 September - 2 October

Brand new collection of shipwreck finds from the Estuary bed itself alongside work by Adam Dant that reveals secrets still hidden beneath the waters.

Infinity (1980-2015): 17 September - 2 October

Iain McKell's extraordinary photographs of the music and street culture of Southend in the 1970's and 80's punctuates the mile long walk into the heart of the Estuary on Southend Pier.

Wish You Were Here: 17 September - 2 October

Ten artist-designed Beach Huts on Southend Pier take you on an artist-led, nostalgic journey through the heyday of the classic British Seaside experience to the present day.

Southend Charabanc: 24 & 25 September

Head out to Southend for a weekend of cultural pleasure seeking and sight-seeing with vintage buses laid on to take you from event to event.

Raga Dawn: Sunday 18 September

Sunrise performance by acclaimed vocal artist, Caroline Bergvall with singer Peyee Chen and site-specific sound by Sam Blank. Followed by a shared breakfast.

Metal are working in partnership with four estuary local authorities, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock, Gravesham and Kent and a wide range of regional agencies, business and arts partners, including:-

•Arts Council England •Capital Cruising •Port of Tilbury •Southend Pier & Foreshore •Southend Museums •Coalhouse Fort •Focal Point Gallery •Whitstable Biennale •Whitechapel Gallery •Totally Thames •Artswork and ROH Bridge •Ideas Test •Kinetika •Port of London Authority •Thames Estuary Partnership •South Essex College •SEEVIC •South Essex schools.