The sun beat down all day as tens of thousands flocked to the beach at Clacton and enjoyed the Beside the Seaside event.
The music belted out for almost seven hours from the main stage and there were activities on the beach as all ages made the most of the fun.
There were walk-about pirates and giant puppets from Clare Fitzgerald on the Lower Promenade.
Tendring District Council (TDC) worked with The Harwich Festival team to put on the event which took over from the successful Sea and Beach Festival provided for the past two years.
Tanya Ferguson, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, said it was time for a refresh.
“We decided to go for one day in Clacton and one in Harwich later in the summer, rather than having both days in Clacton on the same weekend.
“It was great to see all the beaches packed out and there was hardly a square inch of space on the West Beach. One family even got down there at 6am to claim their spot on the sand.
“I would like to thank all those involved in making this a huge success and I am already looking forward to August for the event in Harwich.”
Live music on the main stage included the likes of The Hit List, The Spiderz, Indigo 90, Raz, Denial, Twist, Dilute to Taste and Abbie Hartley.
On the Upper Promenade the entertainment began with the Witham and Rivenhall Air Training Corps Marching Band, followed by the local Royalettes Twirling Team.
Acoustic music was brought to the festival by Essex Rocks and featured Leyline Pass, Luke Fisher and Sparrowhawk.
On Palace Beach there was entertainment for children with a sand sculpting/sandcastle competition from 12 noon to 3pm, face painting, kite flying and storytelling.
Peter Davis from the Harwich Festival added: “We were blessed with the perfect weather and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky all day. It was fantastic to see so many people having fun and enjoying themselves beside the seaside.”
A second Beside the Seaside Festival will be staged in Harwich on August 13.