Music fans missing a Weymouth festival this weekend are being directed online as the event goes virtual.

The harbourside should have been lined with thousands of people today and tomorrow with the jingle of Morris dancers' bells ringing out, and the sounds of quality tunes echoing around Hope Square as fans sup pints and dance away.

Sadly the Wessex Folk Festival, one of the biggest free folk music festivals in England, is just one of the many events which has had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. Organisers say it will be back next year.

In a treat for fans, organisers are holding a 'virtual festival' with artists who should have been playing at the festival taking it in turns to perform via Facebook. Videos by 15 artists will be shown.

Festival spokesman David Gordon said: "This weekend Weymouth’s quayside should have been filled with thousands of visitors enjoying top folk musicians and Morris dancers taking part in the annual Wessex Folk Festival.

"In an effort to make up for a little of what the folk music fans have missed out on because of the coronavirus lockdown we are holding a virtual festival on our Facebook page this weekend. From 10am to 5pm (today and tomorrow) the festival page will be linking every hour to a video of one of the artists who would have been playing at this year’s event.

"A Facebook search for Wessex Folk Festival will connect you to the page."

Mr Gordon added: "We just decided that it would be nice to connect with everyone who would have been coming to Weymouth for the folk festival, to give them a taste of the festival, and to tell them we are all looking forward to welcoming them back next year.

"It’s also a great opportunity to encourage people to follow and support the musicians who have been caught in lockdown and unable to earn a living but have still been making music online."

The posts will be going out on the Wessex Folk Festival Facebook page every hour, starting at 10am, each one linking to a video by an artist who would have been playing. They include Reg Meuross, Mitchell and Vincent, Harbottle and Jonas, Wight Hot Pipes and Dorset Wrecks. There will also be some Morris dancing filmed at previous Wessex festivals to remind people of the famous atmosphere around Weymouth quayside during the event.

And to add to the atmosphere, here are some photographs of the folk festival over the last few years.