Category: Artists for 2016

Alan Whitbread


Stalwart Alan Whitbread sings, plays concertina and boasts a comprehensive maritime knowledge which makes his songs come alive. His performances are varied and entertaining, capturing the imagination.


Charlotte & Spong


The delightful Charlotte & Spong will once again be entertaining audiences in various venues throughout Harwich. Their distinctive arrangements, harmonious voices and variety of instruments make them a popular choice and last year’s Shanty Karaoke session was so well received that it is set to run again in 2017.


Felix Stowaways

Definitely from foreign shores (the other side of the Orwell) the Felix Stowaways will be joining the festival once again. Now venturing over the border into Norfolk as well, the group are gaining quite a following at home and abroad!

Golden Rivets

One of the most popular groups in the area, Golden Rivets are a firm favourite at the Festival, where they perform lively renditions of a variety of maritime songs, accompanied by guitar, banjo, violin, accordion and bodhran.


Grietje Sprot

We are delighted to welcome Grietje Sprot back to the festival after they made such an impression last year. Coming from Hindeloopen, an ancient harbour town in Friesland, Netherlands, members of this group all love fish and all love singing and so became Grietje Sprot, the Fishwives Choir. They always perform in their distinctive traditional costumes, typical of Dutch fishwives of the 1920s. Their repertoire includes ballads and songs in Friesian and Dutch, all about fish, the sea, sailors, love and tragedy.

Harwich Shanty Crew

Famously formed from the 2010 Shanty Festival, Harwich Shanty Crew are now a busy and successful local group, performing at many local events. The Festival would not be the same without them.

Hog Eye Men

London based Hog Eye Men are back running singarounds and sessions at the festival as well as singing shanties and sea songs around the town. Great traditional singing with professional performances and good humour.

Inner State Theatre

Inner State are now a familiar sight at our festivals.

This year Andy and Christine will be Inner State as Hilda and Erik, Viking Invaders, up at the Redoubt Fort on Saturday. Come and see their 30 minute Street Theatre or watch as they stroll, via a Viking Longship, along the Quayside all day Sunday.

Mains’l Haul

From just along the Essex coast in Maldon, Mains’l Haul have attended the Festival on several occasions and offer an entertaining mix of sea songs and shanties. They sing both unaccompanied and with a variety of instruments including guitar, whistles and concertina.


Malcolm Ward & Pete Stockwell

Malcolm Ward & Pete Stockwell

Two strong supporters of the festival Malc and Pete can be seen throughout the town singing a variety of shanties, traditional and modern. They both share extensive knowledge of their subject and deliver their shanties with passion and enthusiasm.

Motley Crew

Motley Crew

Motley Crew are from Brightlingsea, one of the ancient cinque ports. They perform regularly at fetes, regattas, concerts and yacht clubs and have become a firm favourite at the Festival. Their distinctive costume and professional performances stand out, gaining them a loyal following.

The Naze Shanty Crew

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Named after the town of Walton-on-the-Naze, just across the bay from Harwich, Naze Shanty Crew have undergone a number of incarnations since their inception some 20 years ago. Keen drinkers, singers and sailors, not necessarily in that order, they attend a number of maritime festivals each year, but Harwich, of course, remains their favourite

Salt Water & Beer

SWABs_ImageSalt Water and Beer were inspired to form a Shanty Crew by the magnificent Thames Barges moored at their home town of Maldon. Their impromptu sing on the quayside there, led to further performances locally and then further afield. They aspire to continue the tradition of singing shanties and sea songs while, most importantly, having fun !

Swinging the Lead

Another Festival favourite, Swinging the Lead are one of the busiest Shanty Crews around, being resident shanty singers on the famous Cutty Sark at Greenwich and the Thames Sailing Barge ‘Edith May’ and also regular performers at several Maritime Festivals. They perform traditional shanties and a vast selection of songs of the sea, some of which are self-penned. Dave, Pete, Joe, and Colin all have a passion for maritime music, historic ships and sailing. Some of the band members have Tall Ship sailing experience and some are regulars on the Woolwich Ferry!



If ever two voices were meant to go together it must be those of Tony and Lesley Petty, whose amazing two part a cappella harmony singing has been enchanting audiences at clubs and festivals since 1996. Their songs are a mixture of traditional and contemporary, delivered in a relaxed and witty style with audience participation always encouraged.  


Chris Roche

Chris Roche

A loyal supporter of the festival, Chris has also been known to sing the odd shanty or two! He is also a genuine sailor and for 2016 has agreed to give an illustrated talk on real experiences of Rounding Cape Horn.

Les Corsaires de la Vesdre

Corsaires de la Vesdre

Our first group from Belgium, Corsaires de la Vesdre are named after the River where they live, close to the borders with Germany and Holland. Their aim is to share their music with as wide an audience as possible and they love to sing outdoors in an authentic maritime setting. Catch them around the town this year.

Derek Gifford

Derek Gifford

This will be Derek’s second visit to Harwich International Shanty Festival. Last time he came as part of the trio “Three Sheets to the Wind”, but in 2016 he appears in his own right. Derek has many years’ experience of singing folk and sea songs, has toured extensively and written several songs, some of which are so well absorbed into the folk tradition that others attribute them to that well known writer Anon.



From that well know seafaring county of Wiltshire, Friggitt have been performing maritime songs together since 2007. They entertain with a range of instruments and have appeared at a variety of sea and riverside events.

Jim Radford

Jim RadfordOne of the diminishing numbers of survivors from WW2, Jim worked on the Naval Wartime Rescue Tug Service, based in Harwich.

An accomplished singer and performer, Jim will be hosting a “Meet the Artist” session, talking, singing and answering questions on this local subject, dear to the hearts of many.

Kernow Buoys

Back to entertain us again, Gideon and Nigel will be making the long trek from the West Country to sing songs of the sea, both Cornish and otherwise. Kernow Buoys are one of our most popular acts. Watch them at one of their many appearances and you’ll find out why.

North Cape

North Cape

Poland has a long and proud association with the sea and boasts a large and enthusiastic following for Shanties and sea songs. This year we are delighted that North Cape will be joining us with their acapella band singing shanties in up to 8 different languages. The group has been performing together for over twenty years and won numerous awards both at home and abroad. They have appeared at numerous festival throughout the world and in 2016 we welcome them to Harwich!

Roaring Trowmen

Roaring Trowmen were a huge success at last year’s Harwich Shanty Festival and have been making waves at other festivals and events throughout the U.K. so we had to have them back. They mix musical excellence with on stage humour and personality and are an act not to be missed.

Shep Woolley

Shep Woolley

Shep Woolley has been entertaining the crowds since performing at the local working men’s club as a young boy. Through Country & Western, Jazz, Skiffle and Rock’n’Roll he progressed to stand up comedy and a spell in the Royal Navy lent a nautical slant to his material. A professional musician of many years standing, Shep now combines an entertaining mix of comedy, monologues, sea songs and shanties for his maritime bookings. Don’t miss him!

Sound Tradition

Another fine group from East Anglia, Sound Tradition is an acapella foursome singing in glorious harmony. With material that is both carefully chosen and arranged they have become very active on the festival circuit within the U.K. They join us in Harwich with their Maritime set.

Stork Ejlaender

From Fano, off the coast of Denmark, Stork Ejlaender are proud of their island heritage and have been singing together for nearly twenty years now. With a shared interest in singing, sailing and the sea their shanties reflect a passion for the traditional island way of life. Popular previous guests at Harwich we have invited them back in 2016

Tidens Brus

Our first group from Finland, Tidens Brus in fact hail from the Aland Islands, between Finland and Sweden. Roughly translated “Aland” means “Land of Water” so it is hardly surprising that there is a tradition of singing songs of the sea. The four members of the group sing in harmony, sometimes accompanied by guitar, whistle and percussion.

Vagrants Crew

When Vagrants Crew first attended the festival they were an instant hit so we knew we would have to have them back. Their music is lively and their enthusiasm and enjoyment catching, making everyone want to join in. In addition to our own festival, they will also be attending the Baltic Shanty Festival which co-incidentally this year is held in the home town of our Finnish group, Tidens Brus.