SOUTHAMPTON’S two-day nautical extravaganza celebrating the city’s naval past kicked-off in style.
With the sounding of a ship bell from the First World War, hundreds of people flocked to the city docks for the start of the Southampton Maritime Festival.
But it wasn’t just the sounds of the past that got the excitement pumping, as boyband Kingsland Road gave a special performance to ensure there was something for all ages to enjoy.
Kingsland Road perform at the Southampton Maritime Festival
With a selection of historical ships on display, vintage buses, classic cars, an arts and crafts fair, talks about the city's maritime history and plenty of maritime-themed music from Southampton’s talented performers – residents have plenty to see at the event which continues today.
Gary Momber, chairman of the organisation committee, said: “It’s great to see so many Southampton people coming to see what the festival is all about. We have so much history on our doorstep and it is really important to keep it alive.
“There are more historical societies here than last year which is great and people really seem to be getting involved in the story of Southampton”
After the official opening, girls from across the country let out screams of excitement as Kingsland Road, who shot to fame in The X Factor, took to the stage to perform their debut single Dirty Dancer.
And the fans didn’t leave disappointed, when the five lads held an impromptu meet and greet.
Elisha Bootham, 16, from Southampton, was one of those lucky enough to meet her idols, having appealed to them for months over social media to come to the city.
She said: “I just love them so much, they are all so genuine when they perform. They are absolutely amazing and are always themselves on stage.”
There is plenty to keep the children entertained at the fairground, which includes a go-karting course, merry-go-round and bouncy castle slides, as well as a cruise across the Solent on SS Shieldhall.
The Clark family enjoy Southampton Maritime Festival
And one historic vessel, TS Tenacious was hosting festival goers, including Rowenna Davis, the Labour candidate for Southampton Itchen.
She said: “There are two things which are really special about this festival. First the fantastic history and second the hard work of all these volunteers who are helping because they love their city. I recommend that everyone comes down to have a look.”