THOUSANDS of people took to the Grays Beach Riverside Park across the weekend for this year’s Thurrock Festival.

On both evenings, stars from pop talent show X Factor graced the T-Fest stage, putting in fantastic performances to entertain the crowds who had gathered to see them.

Heavy Sunday evening rain failed to deter revellers, as 2009 X Factor star Danyl Johnson performed.

He performed his most famous song Purple Rain, changing the lyric to Essex Rain as showers, which had held out for most of the weekend, began to pour down.

The Risk and Lloyd Daniels also performed on Sunday afternoon while one of the biggest stars from last year’s X Factor, Janet Devlin, wowed the crowd in the Saturday evening sun with beautiful renditions of Coldplay hit The Scientist and Elton John’s Your Song.

Throughout the weekend, a diverse variety of pop and dance acts dazzled on the stage. Dance troupe Brazilian Colours brought some salsa flare to proceedings while Black Eagles, an African acrobatic group, flipped, balanced and danced in an exciting performance on Sunday afternnon.

Local star and piano-player extroadinaire Tall Dark Friend performed on both days.

The festival, organised by Thurrock Council, also saw the Sparks Will Fly carnival parade.

Two parades are visiting towns across Essex throughout May and June.

Champion Boreas Zephyr, clad in extravagant silver armour, was brought to the Festival on the back of a pick-up truck, converted into a large, gold chariot. It was followed by a colourful Gable Hall dance troupe, as the procession made its way to the Riverside Beach park.

Mayor Yash Gupta was on hand to pass over Thurrock’s bead, designed by local artist Lata Uphadyaya. It will be taken to Hylands Park, Chelmsford, where Boreas will meet fellow champion Marina Mightier as part of an Olympic celebration on July 6.