Category: Harwich

Our 2018 Festival!

A date for your diaries – the 2018 Festival will be held over the weekend of 5th-7th October, a week earlier than usual.

Festival Merchandise

We have a few items of merchandise left after the festival weekend, although many items did sell out. However there are still a few 2017 T.Shirts left at £10 + £2.00 p&p and just in time for your Christmas gifts, a few calendars at £8.00 + £1.50 p&p. Please email for more details and to order.

Shanty Newsletter!

Are you signed up to our Shanty Newsletter yet? Get Harwich International Shanty Festival news direct into your inbox. Click here for the current & previous newsletters

Sign up to our Festival Newsletter for news of shanty events throughout the year as well as advance notice of the festival itself.


Once you complete the simple sign-up form you will be sent an activation email. You will not receive any newsletters until you click on the link in the activation email. Please check spam/junk folders for the activation email if you don’t see it in your Inbox.

2016 Shanty CD available

There are still a few 2016 compilation CDs left in stock. Price now reduced to £5.00 plus £2.00 p&p.  If you live locally (no postage) please enquire at the Alma, Hanover or New Bell. Otherwise please email for postal address

The Festival in brief

Motley crew Svend KnudHarwich International Shanty Festival takes place at a number of venues throughout Harwich, Essex. Shanties and Sea Songs reverberate throughout the old town in a musical celebration of its rich maritime heritage.


Shanty Crews and solo singers from all over the world perform at a variety of pubs, sailing clubs, boats, concert venues and others. Much of the entertainment is free and sited at some of the many historical attractions in the town. In addition to rousing shanties, there are alternative attractions of street theatre, pirates, historical re-enactment, workshops, maritime crafts, barge trips; indeed all things nautical as befits a town with a traditional seafaring past.


For full details of all events a programme will be downloadable from this website, a few weeks before the festival, or available for purchase at many venues throughout the town. Browse through the pages of this website to find out more about who is appearing and other events to see, as well as who has entertained us in the past.

Competitions for 2016


There were three competitions in 2016!



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 for more information


Friends of Harwich International Shanty Festival


Our festival is very proud of its close ties with the local community and the loyal support of both local people and businesses and those who travel from further afield.

We endeavour to provide entertainment to suit all pockets, from the many free events throughout the town to the ticketed events, including concerts, barge trips and workshops.

Needless to say the expense of running the festival rises each year. To help offset these costs and to ensure the continuance of the festival, we are always actively engaged in securing necessary funds and the festival organisers obtain no financial benefit from running the festival. In fact quite often the opposite!

One of the ways in which supporters can help ensure the future of the festival is to consider becoming a “Friend”. We began the Friends scheme 3 years ago, with a limited, but welcome take up, but we are now increasing and formalising the scheme with an annual membership, running from 31st October each year and benefits including a free compilation CD and festival programme, plus at least one “Friends only” event.

Last year’s festival saw the launch of the new scheme with a talk and social gathering, plus entertainment, as one of the first events of the weekend. The initial event was an encouraging start, with a positive take up and we hope to expand the scheme over the coming year.

Becoming a Friend is a positive way to show your support for the festival and all that it does for Harwich. Individual membership is now priced at £30 and joint membership £50 per year and includes the aforementioned benefits.

You can also now join as an Affiliate Friend for just £10 which includes the Friends Reception but not the complimentary CD or Programme.

Friend (Single) £30 Friends (Joint) £50 Friend (Affiliate) £10

You can also join us at anytime during the Festival.


Otherwise, to join as a Friend please send your cheque, payable to Harwich Shanty Festival, to 6, Golden Lion Lane, Harwich, Essex CO12 3NG, or send via Paypal to, making sure you mark the payment as “Friend” and include your contact details, including name, address & email address




For CDs and other Festival items for sale, check the Merchandise Page