THOUSANDS of visitors flocked to the streets and venues of Harwich to enjoy the town’s International Shanty Festival.

Artists from the Netherlands and all around the UK came together for the 15th annual shanty event.

More than 6,000 visitors enjoyed a rich programme of activities, including concerts, sing-a-round sessions, workshops, illustrated talks and maritime crafts, many of which were available for free.

The festival included entertainment for all ages, with children learning the art of playing the bones as well as watching kippers being smoked and a wooden bust for a ship being made.

Harwich’s historic old town was alive with music and song all weekend as shanty artists converged on the town to perform.

The main performers this year were renowned Kimber’s Men with their superb harmonies, and Shanty Jack, who is a shanty veteran for more than 30 years.

Fans also had a full shanty experience with a variety of acts at the Redoubt Fort.

The event was cancelled last year due to Covid-19, but the 2021 programme continued with the same Mayflower theme, which celebrated 400 years since the voyage of the Mayflower ship from Harwich taking the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World.

To mark the town’s maritime history, the festival also included street theatre, pirates and a ship’s surgeon.

Pam Fitzgerald, one of the organisers of the event, said: “We were thrilled with the way the festival went.

“There were more than 6,000 visitors to the town over the weekend with everyone enjoying the music, the singing and the fantastic weather.

“I think everyone was so pleased to be able to go out and celebrate together.

“Highlights included Kimber’s Men, one of our most popular acts who have appeared at several of our festivals, and Act of Mutiny from Leiden in Holland, who went down an absolute storm.”