The streets along the harbourside were alive with the sound of lively folk music as a popular festival returned to Weymouth. 

The Wessex Folk Festival, a free two day event, kicked off at around 10am on Saturday with the south harbourside transformed into a bustling marketplace of street traders, Morris dancers and children’s entertainers.

With two cruise ships docked at Portland, there were extra visitors in town to enjoy the festivities. 

Dorset Echo: Wessex Folk Festival 2024Wessex Folk Festival 2024 (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

Two stages provided the setting for both professional folk musicians and amateur musicians.

Saturday's line-up for the main stage in Hope Square included the following acts: Weymouth Brass Band, Steve Wilson and The Innocent Bystanders, Shackleton Trio, Vicki Dwan and Johnny Dyer, The Magpies and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning singer Sam Kelly as part of the Sam Kelly Trio

Dorset Echo: Folk duo Bimbling perform at Wessex Folk Festival 2024Folk duo Bimbling perform at Wessex Folk Festival 2024 (Image: Katie Heyes)

On the harbourside stage in Trinity Street, the following acts performed: Moonfleet the Band, Bimbling, Portland Coves, Alastair Braidwood, Ken Watkins, Bere Essentials and Dorset Wrecks. 

Rach Evans, from Weymouth, said: "It's fantastic. We've been coming for years and we'll always support it. We've ended up following some bands which have played here before. We're really lucky to have this on our doorstep.

"For the people coming off the cruises it must be great for them to see vibrancy in Weymouth."

This is a photo gallery article. Take a look through our photos by Graham Hunt Photography from Saturday's event!

Dorset Echo: Rach Evans and Rodd Ware from Weymouth Rach Evans and Rodd Ware from Weymouth (Image: Katie Heyes)

Rodd Ware added: "It's lovely weather for it and it's good to see the town enjoying this sort of stuff. It was the same atmosphere last week because there was Fayre in the Square and then the Quayside festival"

The festival started in the early 2000’s and was organised by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, alongside the Weymouth Folk Club and held in the Weymouth Pavilion.

Some years later, the council stepped back and a group of volunteers carried on organising the festival which has run continuously until today.

Dorset Echo: Wessex Folk Festival main stageWessex Folk Festival main stage (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)Katya Saville, from Milton Keynes, travelled down to Chesil Beach holiday park with her son for the week and was delighted to discover the festival while visiting the area. 

She said: "It's a pleasant surprise we were just down in the area on holiday and weren't expecting this. It almost feels like it's going back in time and you can see what Weymouth was like back. There's seafood, cider, folk music, dancing, glorious weather - everything is fantastic."

One of the highlights of the festival was the colourful displays of various styles of Morris dancing from traditional to modern. 

Dorset Echo: Wessex Morris Men at Wessex Folk Festival 2024Wessex Morris Men at Wessex Folk Festival 2024 (Image: Katie Heyes)Morris sides included the Treacle Easter Clog side dancing North West Morris which originates from the mill towns of Lancashire and Cheshire, Wessex Morris men dancing in the Cotswold tradition, the Quayside Cloggies a mixed Clog-Morris side based in Wimborne and Wyld Morris a Bridport-based side also dancing in the Cotswold tradition. 

Dorset Echo: Wyld Morris, a Bridport-based side of Morris dancers and musicians dancing in the Cotswold traditionWyld Morris, a Bridport-based side of Morris dancers and musicians dancing in the Cotswold tradition (Image: Katie Heyes)

Vicki Deacon, a dancer for Wyld Morris, said: "It's a thoroughly well organised affair, they've tried to make it so that there are safer areas for us and it's an opportunity for us to meet up with sides who we've danced with before and to meet new ones. 

"It really keeps the Dorset culture going and Morris dancing and Dorset have got a very happy marriage. With the festivals we've got here, next week in Wimborne and then Bridport folk festival at the end of July, it's part of Dorset culture it's great."

The festival continues on Sunday, June 2 with music on stage from 10.45am-5.30pm.