A FESTIVAL got off to a spectacular start with a series of stunning performances.

Harwich Festival of the Arts began on Wednesday with Mauricio Kagel’s Eine Brise where more than 80 cyclists rung bells and blew whistles whilst riding about the town.

Crowds were captivated by the show and were then led by pipe and drum to the secluded Outpart Eastward beach where music commissioned especially for the festival by Gregory Rose was played.

Seven performers armed with megaphones positioned around the beach performed and encouraged others to join in before eventually arriving at a dramatic finale.

Harwich Royal British Legion Brass Band then performed Handel’s Suite from The Water Music as a haunting hush fell over the assembled crowd.

Festival director Diana Burrell was delighted at how the festival began and is hoping the rest of the programme is as successful as the opening salvo.

“All of the parts of the opening were so different but all of them went so well,” she said.

“The opening was so successful and I feel very optimistic we are going to have a fantastic festival.”

For full listings and to purchase tickets visit harwichfestival.co.uk or go to the festival’s pop-up shop in Dovercourt High Street.