THE Southend Music Festival has allowed thousands of talented youngsters to showcase their ability for more than a century.

The event first took place in 1911 and has since unearthed some hidden musical gems.

Although music is the primary theme, the festival has not just been about singing and instrumental performances, with plenty of dancing, dramatics and costumed capers going on too.

The Southend Music Festival, which is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals, will not go ahead this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Reading the notes - Julian Maughan takes part in the Southend Music Festival during the 1980s

It was originally scheduled to take place this month, but it is hoped the musical extravaganza will return next year.

We have dug out some eye-catching snaps of the festival through the decades.

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In unison - the West Leigh Schools Orchestra get involved in the Southend Music Festival held at the Crowstone Christian Centre in November 2013

Join us on a trip down memory lane by joining our ‘We grew up in Essex’ Facebook group. If you have old photos and stories to share with our readers, simply complete our online form.

Scroll down to see more pictures of the Southend Music Festival through the years.

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Getting ready for their big appearance - Emma Metcalfe and Emma Raver put in some last minute preparation before their solo performances at the 1984 Southend Music Festival

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Piano player - Annison Membery, Wendy Rock and Derrick Cantrell pose for the photographer

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Triumphant - Gemma Munford, Nicola Hall and Paula Bradley show off their medals after succeeding at the Southend Music Festival

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Getting a telling off - Daniel Palmer is told to keep quiet during the Southend Music Festival held in 1987

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Hello sailors - two fancy dressed youngsters at the festival in 1984

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Posers - Michelle Bradell and Nicola Briggs

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Winner - Daphne Rowland competed in the Southend Music Festival at the age of 21, in 1948, and proudly came away with the Chopin Cup

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Soloists - Our Lady of Ransom School pupils Nimansa Perera, Graham Young, Amie Harcourt, Charlotte Dennis, Tom Mason and Ellie Mills (left to right) seven years ago