Category: Artists for 2017

The 2017 Festival

The 12th Harwich International Sea Shanty Festival was held from 13th to 15th October 2017 and featured the artists below.

Join us in Harwich 5th-7th October 2018 for the next Harwich International Sea Shanty Festival. Keep an eye on this site (or sign up for our newsletter) for details of the 2018 artists.



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.


Bob Walser

Musician, scholar and educator Bob Walser’s  musical career spans decades and continents. In the early 1980s he made his living as a shantyman at Mystic Seaport, one of the largest maritime museums in the USA. Since then he has presented folk music and dance programmes in schools across the USA, and performed as a singer, dance leader and musician around the world.

Since 2002 he has been working on the James Madison Carpenter folksong collection based at Aberdeen University and will be presenting a series of workshops at Harwich International Shanty Festival based upon this work. Expect an enlightening collection of previously unknown shanties and variations on some more familiar ones. In addition, he has three CDs to his credit as well as guest appearances on another dozen recordings in the US, France and England.

Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes

Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes, a Franco-British group, were founded late one June evening in Corrigan’s Irish Pub in La Rochelle back in 2005. They alternate between French and English performing traditional shanties and songs of the sea both French and British as well as their own self-penned material. The group usually plays around its home port of La Rochelle, but is also happy to undertake longer journeys to the festivals of Dunkerque, Paimpol, Brest, Vegesack-Bremen, Falmouth, Appingedam and even as far as Harwich !


Four guys, Bob, Rob, Bob and Allan, who have been singing and drinking together for well over 20 years. The majority of our material is a capella but we do use instruments: melodeon, concertina and bouzouki. Like most shanty groups we like a good rousing song, and like most  shanty groups we have tried to keep our ears open for one or two songs that have not earned a well-trodden path on the shanty circuit. For anyone who wishes to take us home, we can offer a choice of two CDs, or we can simply all jump into your car! We look forward to singing with you, so cat the anchor and let’s get under way.

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.


Dominic Dowsey-Magog

Dom is well known on the Shanty scene throughout the U.K. and abroad, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Shanty Crew. He joins us in 2017 as a solo artist. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the sea and shanties and his powerful voice make him a welcome addition to the festival.

Dutch Uncle

Hans Weehuizen, aka Dutch Uncle, will be attending the festival again, offering workshops on how to play the bones and also sometimes singing alongside Ken Stephens. A veteran performer at Shanty Festivals worldwide, Hans sings an interesting selection of songs in both Dutch and English and plays concertina, melodeon and of course, bones!


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.


Liz and Roger have been singing together now for several years and attend many clubs and festivals around the country. In their latest incarnation “Impressed” they sing sometimes a cappella, sometimes accompanied by accordion or whistle.


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.

Ken Stephens

Ken is an experienced and accomplished performer and musician, whose own songs have passed into the tradition. He has appeared at maritime festivals worldwide, singing solo and with other performers. This will be his first visit to Harwich International Shanty Festival, but not to the town of Harwich, having worked on both Minewseepers and Thames Barges, during his youth.

Kimbers Men

Always one of our most popular acts at the festival and deservedly so, Kimber’s Men delight and astound in equal measure. Fine voices and spine tingling harmonies coupled with an approachable easy style make their performances stand out.


The Longest Johns

Back by popular demand, Longest Johns have made a big name for themselves in a short time. Singing a cappella shanties and sea songs with great harmonies, their performances are fresh, engaging and entertaining.


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.

Men Overboard

“Za Bortom!” (Men Overboard!)

Comprised of one American and two British expatriates who now hail from the
historic Baltic port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia, this trio takes its name from the Russian sailors’ warning of a man overboard: “Chelovek za bortom!”, whimsically morphing it into “Men Overboard!” in English.

All veterans of the shanty choir of the Russian tall ship “MIR” , this crew sails in the wake of the legendary Stan Rogers, focusing on the “New Old Sea Songs” of
songwriter, Robert Palomo… songs that will remind you of your traditional favourites, but they’re as new and fresh as the sea breeze. What’s truly “overboard” is the fun you’ll have experiencing the music of “Za Bortom!”

la Morescha Nova

Our first ever Italian Shanty Crew! And la Morescha are rather special as they are the only group in Italy to be concentrating on Italian maritime heritage. Their repertoire covers songs from Roman times up to the present day and is accompanied by authentic baroque instruments. They will also be teaming up with Jack Coutts, a veteran shanty singer from Stormalong John, to sing a few English shanties as well. All in all, an experience not to be missed

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

promo 1

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

Patrick Denain and Miguel Biard

Patrick & Miguel

No one in Harwich has stopped talking about Patrick and Miguel since they performed here several years ago. And so for 2017 we are delighted that they are able to visit us again. Hailing from Fécamp in Normandy, Patrick and Miguel perform with a symbiosis which can be felt as well as heard. Both superb singers in their own right, their voices compliment each other’s so completely and make for a magical performance.

El Pony Pisador

A new five-strong folk group from Barcelona, El Pony Pisador, are currently making a name for themselves with shanties, sea songs, havaneres, tuvan throat singing, tarantellas and yodelling from around the world! An exciting live act with guts and gusto, they have already amassed a loyal following.

Rattlin’ Winches

Another home grown group, proving that Harwich is, without doubt, a nautical town, Rattlin’ Winches have been singing together for a couple of years now. The three members all have a musical background and perform at local pubs, clubs and events. Their name, by the way, is taken from the title of a song written by one of our other festival guests this year – Ken Stephens.

The Rogues Shanty Chorus

The Rogues Shanty Chorus hail from Lowestoft and perform, revive and revitalise the music and heritage that the prominent industries of the town and its workers created.

The group sing working songs ranging from the Middle Ages to early-20th century, including sea shanties and arias about the sea as well as whaling songs, naval songs, Stevedores workers’ songs, foc’sle songs and romantic old-century tunes of ne’er-do-wells, which include refrains of seafarers, wreckers and smugglers and murder ballads.

Led under the musical direction of brothers Stephen and Paul Amer, the group are earning themselves a reputation for humorous, engaging and sometimes sentimental performances.

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 !

Shötley Crüe

Shötley Crüe are a 7-piece “pocket choir” who formed because of our Festival in 2014. Since then they have launched their own vessel with a cargo of characterful sea songs and shanties, and watery stuff in general. Never more than 70 miles from the sea, the Crüe have dropped anchor at various festivals, folk clubs and friendly ports around the country.