Thousands flocked to Hamlet Court Road for day of fun, music and entertainment

Smiles - In Harmony Committee members <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Smiles - In Harmony Committee members (Image: Newsquest)

THOUSANDS of people flocked to Westcliff’s Hamlet Court Road for a day of fun, music, and entertainment which organisers believe shows the street is “returning to its glory days”.

The In Harmony Festival returned to Hamlet Court Road on Sunday as families descended on the street to celebrate everything on offer in the area.

Over the last decade, Hamlet Court Road had fallen into decline with the loss of a number of shops and a decline in popularity, but the introduction of the festival and the addition of new independent shops has seen it go “from strength-to-strength”.

Echo: Busy - Crowds watching on
Echo: Busy - Crowds watching on

Busy - Crowds watching on (Image: Steve Brading)

Matt King, committee member from Milton Community Partnership, said: “It was such a fantastic event this year. I am so grateful to all of the charities, artists and businesses for supporting the festival.

“Our team of volunteers pulled to together to ensure the day went off without a hitch and was enjoyed by thousands of people. The event was a great chance to celebrate our diverse community in Westcliff, helping people to connect with each other.

“Over the last three years, we have seen a real resurgence in Hamlet Court Road with lots of new independent shops, cafes and bars opening up.

Echo: Fun - Nadia Panzeca with her daughter Mila
Echo: Fun - Nadia Panzeca with her daughter Mila

Fun - Nadia Panzeca with her daughter Mila (Image: Newsquest)

“We are seeing a celebration of both the heritage and the multiculturalism of the area, and emergence of a fantastic arts and cultural scene too.

“The murals at the bottom of the road by the station, and the festival, both exemplify what can be achieved if we set our mind to it and work together. “

Echo: Smiles - In Harmony committee members
Echo: Smiles - In Harmony committee members

Smiles - In Harmony committee members (Image: Newsquest)

The event, in glorious sunshine, saw more than 50 stalls lining the road with a stage for live music.

Nadia Panzeca attended the festival with her three-year-old Mila. She said: “I live round the corner, and this is the first time I have been.

“I like these types of festivals, and it was amazing to have it on our doorstep.

“It was my daughter’s first ever festival like this, and she loved it. We spent the whole day there as it was amazing.”

Echo: Happy - Children having fun
Echo: Happy - Children having fun

Happy - Children having fun (Image: Steve Brading)

Kay Mitchell, chair of In Harmony, added: “We are so proud of this beautiful setting of Hamlet Court Road and the incredible community that brings, passion, diversity, creativity, art, music and dance.

“It is a huge undertaking and the committee of volunteers are so grateful for the expert suppliers. Everyone who runs a stall, the super talented performers and the community who come together in the spirit of the festival.”