AN arts festival is coming back to Essex for its third year to showcase leading performers in a variety of fields.

EA Festival is back at Hedingham Castle this summer with a new and exciting line-up.

Known for presenting an array of topics and themes, the programme of EA Festival 2023 ranges widely – from Africa to avocados and comedy to classical music.

Founded by Joanne Ooi, it debuted in 2021, returning strongly last year.

She said: “After living in East Anglia for some years, it became obvious to me that there were thousands of artists living and working in the region.

“Yet, when I wanted to take in some high-quality culture, I had to drive 90 minutes to either London, Cambridge, or Snape Maltings to enjoy a concert, recital or exhibition.

“I wanted to do something to create more connective tissue in the art and culture scene, but whenever I broached the subject, I was met with either bemusement or blank uninterest.

“A first-time encounter with one of my advisors Andrew Sunnucks changed my life - once I laid out my vision, he was all hands on deck, and one thing led to another and here we are.

“A festival is the people, their values, their energy, their commitment.”

This year’s line-up features top creative leaders in literature, music, comedy, art, history, philosophy, environment and more. 

One of the main highlights of this year’s festival will be the official launch of One Midsummer’s Day, the new book by Mark Cocker, the award-winning naturalist-writer most associated with East Anglia with 13 books and 1,000 newspaper articles under his belt.

Other speakers include V&A director Tristram Hunt, Country Life editor-in-chief Mark Hedges, veteran BBC presenter Justin Webb, disinformation specialist Marianna Spring, comedy genius Milton Jones and Dipo Faloyin, author of Africa Is Not A Country.

Day one’s programme will end with a dazzling recital by 18-year-old Shunta Morimoto, the current winner of the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

Also, for the first time, the keep of Hedingham Castle will be converted into a performing arts centre with free concerts of musical theatre, soul/blues and jazz, performed throughout the weekend. 

The event is on the weekend of June 10 and 11 at Hedingham Castle.

Tickets can be purchased at