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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.

What a festival!

Well the 2017 Festival is over – and what a Festival it was!

Far and away the best ever with a superb line up, appreciative audiences, great venues and the sun chose to shine on us all weekend. Our thanks to all committee, supporters, venues, artists, sponsors and everyone else who contributed to this year’s success.

So, whilst the committee gets on with the job of tying up all the loose ends left after each Festival, we are also already planning for next year’s Festival and other events.

Thanks Asda shoppers!

We are thrilled to announce that the Shanty Festival won the latest round of the Asda Green Token scheme and have been presented with a cheque for £500. Deirdre from Asda presented the cheque to Pam Fitzgerald and Diane Bitmead from Harwich Shanty Festival.

Thanks to all local shoppers who voted for us and to Diane who organised our participation in the scheme.

Online ticket sales closed

Online ticket sales are no longer available but tickets can be purchased on the door of most events, where spaces remain. The remaining available Victor cruise tickets will only be available from the Ha’Penny Pier Visitors Centre.

Download the programme!

The 2017 Programme is now available for download from the Programme Page for just £2. Printed copies are available from participating outlets around Harwich for £3. It has 52 pages, with information about artists, events, timetables, a map, quiz and more


Tickets now available!

You can now purchase tickets for certain events over the three days of the Shanty Festival, head to our ticketing site for details.

Please note that overnight motorhome parking is also booked through this site this year and each night should be booked separately.



Lowestoft Fishing Smack Excelsior is now a regular visitor to our festival, moored alongside Ha’Penny Pier. This year they are offering B&B on board for an authentic Shanty Festival experience. There are still a few places left so get in touch with to book.

And for an even more authentic – and exciting – way to visit the festival and arrive in style, they are offering a cruise on board, from London to Harwich 8-13th October. Details from or phone 0845 308 2323

Excelsior Sailing Barge

Shanty Train

Tickets have just gone on sale for the Shanty Train to the festival. There are limited places on these popular trains, so purchase your ticket early to be sure of a place. Great fun for families, with entertainment, activities and prizes on board the decorated carriages. A brilliant way to start your day at the Harwich International Shanty Festival. Details on the attached poster, on the Shanty facebook page,  the 2017 Programme (out from 1st Sept), or from

Shanty Train Poster

Supermarket Fundraising

The Green Token scheme with Asda in Dovercourt started in July and runs until September. So please, all you Asda shoppers, pop a green token into the Shanty Festival slot and lets see if we can boost our funds!

The Green Token scheme in the local Co-Op has just finished and the Shanty Festival will be receiving £300 donation voted for by local shoppers. Thanks to everyone who popped a green token in our slot and thanks especially to Diane Bitmead, without whose hard work we would not be benefiting in this way.


Shanty Newsletter!

Are you signed up to our Shanty Newsletter yet? Get Harwich International Shanty Festival news direct into your inbox

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.

Spoken Word Sessions

Time to get busy all you budding writers. John Kempster will be running another Spoken Word Session at this year’s Festival. Pieces do not have to be original, but new work is very much welcomed. See flier for details or email


Committee members got together for a Badge making workshop on 20th May and turned out over 350 badges and keyrings.

Keyrings double up as bottle openers – an indispensable item for Shanty Festival attendees.

Badges retail at £1.00 each and Keyrings at £2.00.

New Bell Beer Festival

The New Bell Pub in Harwich are hosting their first outdoor Beer Festival on Sunday 16th July, and are supporting the Shanty festival

Barn Dance

Coming up on 29th July is our FUNdraising Barn Dance!

This will be great fun for all the family dancing to the Skulking Loafers.  The Barn Dance is at the Park Pavilion, Dovercourt from 7.30 p.m. on the 29th of July. Tickets £10 per adult (purchase via Harwich Box Office at Dovercourt Library or on the door that night), children are free.

Bar on site but please bring snacks/nibbles if required.

Click on the image for full size



Fancy a Shanty T-Shirt?


We still have some older T-Shirts available, now £4.00 plus £1.50 p&p. The following were in stock at the time of finger on keyboard:

 Black      4 x Small

 Red        6 x Small

Please contact us for further information.

(The maths box – if shown – is just to reduce spam! If you don’t like the one there, hit the ‘recycle’ button for a fresh one)

Ale Trail Events

In Harwich, where there’s Ale, Cider and Music you can be assured that Shanties are not far away!

Over the next few days, Harwich will be awash with the best Ales and Ciders for the annual Ale Trail. Music of a shanty nature will be found as follows:

Saturday (29th April) 4pm onwards – Rattlin’ Winches in the New Bell Inn

Sunday (30th April) 2pm onwards – Skulking Loafers on Ha’Penny Pier

Monday (1st May) from 4pm The Human Jukebox in the New Bell Inn

Pub Olympics – Round2

Following on from our first Pub Olympics in February, we’re repeating the event on Wednesday 12th April at 7pm, again at The New Bell Inn.

The Harwich International Shanty Festival invite you to an evening of traditional pub games on Wednesday 12th April 2017 in The New Bell Inn.

Are you the Harwich Pub Games Champion?

Now is your chance to find out.

Come for fun or come for the competition, either way you should have an entertaining evening (7 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.)

Ten games will be set up for you to sample, your best six scores will be used to determine the champion.

Play as many times as you wish. Each game costs a pound and all proceeds go towards the 2017 Harwich International Shanty Festival in October

Joe Stead

I’m sure many of you will already know this, but we just wanted to share that Joe Stead passed away on March 29th after a long battle with cancer. He has been to our festival several times in the past, singing with Kimbers Men and he will be sadly missed by all in the Folk world who knew him. RIP Joe x

Pub Olympics

Thanks to everyone who came along to our Pub Olympics on Saturday 25th February, either to compete or to help out. We raised £57.00 for the Shanty Festival. Not a huge amount, but more importantly a huge amount of fun was had by all – and just look at the concentration!

Some serious competing! We are going to include the event on the Shanty fundraising calendar, possibly monthly during the winter season, after some streamlining and re-organising. Meanwhile congratulations to Sarah Adie for 1st prize and cup and to Annie Donaldson as runner up.

More to come!

Please note that the artists shown below have been confirmed for the 2017 Festival and other acts are being added all the time! So, check back in a week or two to see who else is playing.

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

Trains, Shanties, Pirates & Princesses

Join us for a memorable train ride on the Saturday & Sunday of the festival. Our special trains will have shanties, pirates, princesses and more! Book your Shanty Special online

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.

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.

Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership

Tickets & full details at




Princess on Shanty Train waiting to be rescued