MORE than 10,000 people tuned in to watch performances as part of a digital festival.

The Harwich Festival of Arts was forced to improvise when Covid-19 scuppered any chance of staging live shows.

It went online and the festival featured nightly concerts on Facebook from folk, jazz, classic and dance artists over ten days.

High-profile acts, including storyteller and folk singer Matthew Crampton, 2011 Britain’s Got Talent finalist Jean Martyn and Alex Hart, a guitarist, took part.

General manager of the festival Michael Offord said organising the online event had been a steep learning curve and sometimes they faced technical challenges.

He said: “The digital festival has allowed us to continue to promote cultural activities, support artists, during a particularly difficult time and to raise the profile of Harwich on a wider stage.

“Overall we are delighted with the results, the combined views have far exceeded 10,000 and with the performances still available to view this number is still going up.”

Matthew Crampton who performed a show called Human Cargo, said he was careful to adapt the show for an online audience.

He said: “I shortened each song to one verse and chorus, to keep things moving. People are less patient when watching a small screen.”

“For the storytelling, I would sometimes lean in close to the camera, to create intimacy. I made the show interactive.”

The festival took place between June 25 and July 5.