FIREFIGHTERS took to the stage at a music festival this afternoon.

Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello contacted the Essex Fire Brigade's Union to ask if they wanted to join him onstage after hearing about crews striking across the county.

The rockstar performed as The Nightwatchman at London's Hard Rock Calling festival in Hyde Park at about 3pm today and 18 firefighters joined him on stage for his last song " Worldwide Rebel Song".

The three-day, open-air festival saw headline acts including Bruce Springsteen, Soundgarden and the Mars Volta.

Alan Chinn-Shaw, from the Fire Brigade's Union, said: "He had heard that Essex firefighters were on strike and we met up with him in his hotel first and arranged it. He invited us on stage for the final track.

"The crowd really responded well to it, it was really good."

Essex fire crews are highlighting their dispute and strike action over cuts and changes to the service.

Having already taken two sets of strike action, a further 24-hour strike is planned for July 18 starting at 9am.

A demonstration, march and rally through Chelmsford is also planned for lunchtime on July 18.