A JOYFUL weekend will see the streets of Harwich come alive with the sound of the sea for the returning of an annual festival.

Harwich International Shanty Festival will be returning to the town for a 14th year between October 11 and 13 with an exciting line-up of artists from abroad and all across the UK.

Shanties and sea songs will be echoed through the town in a musical celebration of its rich maritime heritage.

Don’t get scared of the sight of pirates, soldiers and other strange and colourful characters, as they will be in town thorough the whole weekend.

This year’s festival will have not only shanties singing along, but also theatrical displays and workshops.

Inner State Theatre will be telling the story of Captain Cook’s Secret Recipe at the Redoubt Fort on Saturday, October 12 from noon.

River Rogue Pirates and The King’s German Artillery will mainly appear at the Redoubt Fort starting on Saturday from 12.45pm and Sunday at different times.

However, this year they will also be having a skirmish on the beach.

There will be traditional maritime craft workshops and displays, military displays, family activities and sea shanties at the fort on both weekend days.

They include beginner’s shanties with Geoff Higginbottom and Harmony singing for those with a little more experience.

‘Knot tying’, ‘Sayings from the sea’, ‘Tall ships’ and ‘I’ve known this song all my life’ will be a selection of mostly nautical songs led by Mick Verrier.

The popular bones workshops continue with the Dutch Uncle workshop, by Hans Weehuizen, teaching participants to play a traditional maritime percussion instrument.

On a crafty theme, the ‘Being a pirate’ led by Roger Hamer gives you the chance to come along and make your own fabulous pirate hat.

The sailing ships, the Excelsior, Pudge and Victor will again be moored on the Ha’Penny Pier.

The first two will be offering bed and breakfast over the festival weekend, with a total of eight musical trips on the Victor.

For more information and to buy tickets visit harwichshantyfestival.co.uk.