THE streets were alive with the sound of music as the 17th International Shanty Festival returned to Harwich.

There was a huge range of entertainment on offer at the musical celebration of Harwich’s rich maritime heritage from Friday until Sunday.

The official opening was carried out by Jenny Tolhurst, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex on the Ha’penny Pier.

This year’s festival saw 47 acts travel to Harwich to perform, including from Spain, the Netherlands, France and all over the UK.

Entertainment took place in local pubs and clubs, St Nicholas' Church, the Electric Palace, Masonic Hall, Harwich Museum, on the Ha’penny Pier and on Thames barges Victor and Excelsior as well as the Redoubt Napoleonic Fort.

There were also concerts, singaround sessions, workshops, illustrated talks, guided walks, maritime crafts, street theatre and enactments, with almost 200 of the 251 events completely free.

Pam Fitzgerald, festival organiser, said: “It was a wonderful weekend.

"After a wet start on Friday the weather was bright and sunny and we had more visitors than ever before.

"The concerts were full and some of the highlights were the amazing El Pony Pisador with their fun performances, which included yodelling and Tuvan throat singing, the jig dolls workshops with Martin Judkins and Corine Ñugteren, and the new Singing in Tongues concert featuring our overseas artists singing in their own languages.

"We would like to thank everyone who supported the festival and contributed towards its success.”