September Newsletter

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Just 10 days to go now before the 13th Harwich International Shanty Festival begins on Thursday 4th September with two guided tours around the town and an informal session in the Harwich Town Sailing Club in the evening.

We have an extraordinarily broad range of activities to enjoy over the Festival weekend including concerts, workshops and talks, music sessions, street theatre, children’s entertainment, competitions and Thames Barge cruises. Workshops cover anything from Playing the Bones to Making a Pirate Hat. You can take two different types of singing workshop, attend sessions for singing, playing or spoken word, watch some of our talented performers at a concert or just soak up the atmosphere inside one of Harwich’s many Real Ale pubs.  Up at the Redoubt Fort we have shanties, pirates and militia, kids workshops, street theatre and demonstrations of a variety of maritime crafts. 

For the second year running there will be a ShantyBus to bring people in from outlying areas. The timetable for this is in the Programme, which is now available to download from the website or purchase from many outlets in Harwich and Dovercourt. We are also pleased to report that we have the Trinity House Car Park available to us again this year. Entrance is from the top end of West Street (B1352). Please see our Car Park Attendant on duty outside the gate. 

Being on the end of a peninsula means there is a large variety of possible transport modes to arrive at the Festival. If by car, we have now secured the aforementioned car park. But you could consider arriving via the Harwich Harbour Ferry, which runs daily between Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe or by your own boat, in which case moor up at the Ha’Penny Pier or in Shotley Marina. Then there is the Shanty Train, running on Saturday morning between Manningtree and Harwich, with decorated carriages, shanty singers, pirates, children’s packs and fancy dress.

If coming with a motorhome or caravan we have now organised an overnight site on the Harwich Green, accessible via Harbour Crescent. Again please see the Campsite manager upon arrival. More details and a map are on our website:  And finally why not arrive in style aboard one of the historic boats attending the Festival. SB Victor will be arriving on Thursday from Ipswich, SB Pudge on Friday from Maldon and Fishing Smack Excelsior on Friday from Lowestoft. All 3 boats take paying passengers for this voyage and some do overnight B&B for the Festival weekend. Contact Wes on 07981 382958 for SB Victor, Rachel on 0845 3082323 for Excelsior and Dave on 07840 862685 for Pudge.

The Friday Friends Reception has become an annual fixture now, where official Friends of the Festival, supporters and sponsors meet up for a welcome buffet and talk, together with a sneak preview of some of this year’s entertainment. It’s never too late to join in. Full details are on the website and in the Programme – or just join on the door.

And we are still appealing for Roving Stewards at the Festival. With no fixed timetable, a Roving Steward can make their way around the town to venues of their choice and at times to suit themselves, collecting donations and selling simple merchandise such as badges and programmes. Fancy Dress is optional though often enjoyed. If this is something that interests you please email attaching a passport style photo ready for your I.D. badge. (This is only in case you are challenged as to why you are collecting, nothing to do with gathering your details for nefarious purposes! And you can smile!!)

Hope to see as many of you as possible over the Festival weekend!


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