Harwich International Shanty Festival

Friday 7th October sees the start of the 11th annual Harwich International Shanty Festival. The festival has grown year on year, and is now firmly established in the Harwich calendar. This year’s three day programme features local and international singers, musicians and performers in venues on land, rail and, of course, at sea. Most events are free and suitable for all ages.

The festival programme includes local, national and international performers, reflecting the wide appeal of the sea shanty.

Audiences will have the chance to hear renowned performers such as: North Cape (Poland), Roaring Trowmen (Bristol), Sound Tradition (UK), Stork Ijlaender (Denmark) as well as festival favourites Alan Whitbread, Charlotte & Spong, Chris Roche, Corsaires de la Vesdre (Belgium), Derek Gifford, Felix Stowaways (Suffolk), Friggitt (Wiltshire), Golden Rivets (Essex), Harwich Shanty Crew (Essex), Hog Eye Men (London), Kernow Buoys (Cornwall), Mains’l Haul (Maldon), Malcolm Ward & Pete Stockwell (Kent), Motley Crew (Brightlingsea), Naze Shanty Crew (Essex), Vagrants Crew (Wales).

Take part in workshops, sessions and singarounds for all comers, street theatre, guided tours of Harwich and musical Shanty Trains and sea cruises. Watch out for bands of pirates roaming the streets! Local arts and crafts will be available and there will be maritime displays including figurehead carving, kipper smoking and Napoleonic soldiers. Family entertainment includes Seaside Sunshine Show with Inner State Theatre.

Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership will again be running special Shanty Trains along the picturesque Mayflower Line between Manningtree & Harwich Town. With Shanty singing, pirates, activity packs and prizes. Our special trains will have shanties, pirates, princesses and more! There are different sea shanty crews on each train (times are from Manningtree): Saturday 8th October – 11.00 hrs Kernow Buoys, 12.00 hrs Capella; Sunday 9th October – 11.26 hrs The Vagrants Crew.

We are more than pleased to welcoming the Excelsior to Ha’Penny Pier for this year’s Shanty Festival. Excelsior will be open to the public to come aboard and for anyone still seeking accommodation over the festival weekend B&B is also available (contact www.theexcelsiortrust.co.uk  for more information).

Each day at the Redoubt Fort during the Festival there will be a series of Maritime Craft Activities run by Swan Crafts. Come along Friday, Saturday or Sunday to take part and go home with your own design craft work: 1200 – 1300: Driftwood Wall Art £12.50; 1330 – 1430: Mixed Media Lighthouses £10.00; 1530 – 1630: Mini Beach Huts £15.00. Price includes instruction and cost of materials. Work can be carried over to the following day at no extra cost.

We again have a camper/caravan site available for this years Festival. No advance booking allowed this year unfortunately. It’s on a first come first served basis, but don’t panic, there should be room for all. Contact the festival on info@harwichshantyfestival.co.uk if you need any further information – but don’t ask us to save you a space, because we can’t!

We are introducing two competitions over the festival weekend this year. Both intended as lighthearted fun, although we hope to engender a healthy dose of rivalry. Both competitions take place at the Alma. The first on Friday evening is the popular “Yard of Ale” Contest. A prize for the person who can sink a whole yard in the shortest possible time. Over 18s only! The second competition on Saturday afternoon is a new “Sing a Shanty” Competition. Open to solos, duos or groups, with points awarded for delivery, style and panache, suitable attire, presentation and acting ability. Full list of rules below and at the pub. Prizes for the winners – note not necessarily the best.

Do you write, could you create an original piece about the sea? It could be a poem, monologue or a short story and no more than 500 words. We’ll be running two Spoken Word sessions on the Friday and Saturday of the 2016 Harwich Shanty Festival.

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Harwich International Shanty Festival includes free and paid for entertainment. For ticketing  and full line-up information see www.harwichshantyfestival.co.uk. Check our Facebook and Twitter for updates too.

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