Shanty accommodation?

With the current lack of accommodation in the town we are desperate to find beds for some of our performers. Are there any local residents amongst you who would be able to offer rooms for deserving singers? Despite being Shanty Men we find that most are very well house trained and make excellent guests! We […]


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 […]

Festival Dates

We’re gearing up for the 2019 festival in October so please put 11-13 October into your diary/calendar/filofax! We are also busy preparing for 2020, which is promising to be the biggest festival ever! 2020 is important as it’s the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing to New England. Harwich was the home of the Mayflower […]

More to come!

Only the artists shown have been confirmed for the 2019 Festival but other acts are being added all the time! Please check back in a week or two to see who else is taking part.  


Four singers and musicians from France singing traditional songs of sea and river, Carapata combine the talents of Bérengère Le Cain, Emmanuel Pariselle, Séverin Valière and Miguel Biard (whom some of you might recognise from a previous incarnation!)  Playing a variety of instruments including fiddle, accordion, guitar and concertina, Carapata combine their musical talents with […]

Dan McKinnon

An engaging Nova Scotian performer with a glorious baritone voice, dextrous guitar work and intelligent, well-observed story-songs, Dan McKinnon’s performances bring alive the history and spirit of our collective past. He has appeared at Festivals and clubs throughout Canada and the USA, Great Britain and Australia.  

Geoff Higginbottom

Geoff Higginbottom has been singing Sea Shanties since the day he first went paddling at Blackpool. As well as singing shanties, he has a vast amount of knowledge on the subject gleaned from his holiday job in 1975 working on Heaton Park boating lake.  Geoff sings very loudly, because he can and accompanies himself on […]

North Cape

North Cape have been singing acapella shanties and sea songs in harmony since 1995. They perform all over their native Poland and have won prizes at several national competitions. This will be their second visit to Harwich after a gap of a few years and we are very pleased to welcome them back.  

Rum Old Boys

Rum Old Boys are from Woodbridge, just a short boat ride away up the River Deben. They enjoy singing shanties and songs of the sea and have collected for charity at various local events. Join them for the first time here in Harwich.  

Alan Whitbread

We’re always pleased to welcome Alan back to Harwich. His performances are lively, inclusive and entertaining and make the shanties come alive. Singing sometimes unaccompanied, sometimes with concertina, Alan will transport you back to the great days of sail.

Charlotte & Spong

Charlotte & Spong are popular and accomplished musicians who will be singing their carefully arranged shanties and sea songs around Harwich Town over the weekend. Don’t miss their regular “Shanty Karaoke” spot, featuring some of the best known sea shanties to sing along with.  

Felix Stowaways

The Felix Stowaways are making the arduous crossing over the waters of Harwich Harbour once again, to take part in their favourite festival. Following on from their visit to The Netherlands last year to sing at a Dutch style ShantyCafe, they are bringing the format to the UK and hosting their own ShantyCafe in their […]

Hans Weehuizen

Once again Hans Weehuizen, also known as ‘Dutch Uncle’ will be joining us to sing, play concertina and melodeon and run his famous Bones Workshops. Performing sometimes solo and sometimes in conjunction with Ken Stephens, Hans has a broad repertoire of sea songs in both Dutch and English.  

Harwich Shanty Crew

Harwich’s home grown shanty crew have been singing together now for 9 years following their inception at the 2010 Shanty Festival. A busy crew, much in demand at local events, they will be performing at several venues over the Festival weekend.  

Motley Crew

Popular local group, Motley Crew, from Brightlingsea are much in demand locally, performing at many events including fêtes, festivals, regattas, yacht clubs and barge matches. They are regular and valued supporters of the Harwich International Shanty Festival and we warmly welcome them back.

Naze Shanty Crew

Founders of the Harwich International Shanty Festival (yes it’s all their fault!) Naze Shanty Crew have been through several different incarnations to reach the line up you see today. Enthusiastic exponents of the maritime tradition the crew have attended several other shanty festivals both at home and abroad, but Harwich of course remains their favourite.

Swinging the Lead

With some ten years of singing shanties and songs of the sea behind them, plus two well received CD’s, Joe, Andy, Pete, Colin, Dave and David join us again this year, from the shores of the tidal Thames in North West Kent. They are the resident shanty crew on the famous Cutty Sark in Greenwich, […]

Tyburn Road

Talented and popular regulars at the Festival, Tyburn Road will be entertaining us once again with superb voices and musical accompaniment. They have a wealth of experience performing, touring and researching traditional music and their love of sea songs and shanties, together with a repertoire of unusual songs and tunes makes them the perfect guests […]

Shanty Auction

Thanks to all those who attended, bid, provided Lots and generally had a good time at the Auction. We raised just over £1,000, had an enjoyable evening and now have a worthwhile sum to put towards our 2019 Festival. Thanks to everyone!

Treasure Hunt 28th Dec!

Our popular Annual Treasure Hunt was on Friday 28th December starting as usual at the Alma. It’s always a great way to fill the sometimes dead period between Christmas and New Year and there is stiff competition nowadays to win that cup! Well done to our winners. Team Daces won the adult prize and the […]

Becky Graham

Becky is the daughter of festival stalwart Pete Stockwell and is proud to carry on the tradition of singing songs of the sea. She has performed all over the country with acapella quartet The Witches Of Elswick and now enjoys doing so as a solo performer. She will also be treating us to some nautical […]

Capstan Full Strength

Capstan Full Strength have been singing songs of the sea, land and work since 1998.  They offer a powerful ‘broadside’ of sound coupled with amazing harmonies.  Expect a wide repertoire of traditional and contemporary songs.

Exmouth Shanty Men

Devon’s “original buoy band”, The Exmouth Shanty Men, formed in 2007 to breathe new life into the maritime heritage of their home port, but have since found themselves in ports across Northern Europe, including Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Poland. They have appeared on national television and radio in the UK and in Europe, […]

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.  

Hog Eye Men

The Hog Eye Men have a large and varied repertoire of sea songs and shanties which they sing in authentic style. They like to sing shanties as they used to be sung – simply, loudly and boldly. In addition to attending many other maritime events, Hog Eye Men run a regular shanty session in London […]

Mains’l Haul

From just along the Essex coast in Maldon, Mains’l Haul are a group of experienced singers and musicians who perform regularly at local maritime events. Since their inception in 2014 they have been regular attendees at the Harwich International Shanty Festival.


Nordet made a big impression when they last visited Harwich in 2014 and we are very pleased to welcome them back. Coming from Lorient in Brittany, the group have been together for 25 years and have performed at most of the major maritime festivals in the world. Their energy, enthusiasm, humour and musical ability make […]

Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are a 4-piece female ensemble who enjoy singing low-pitched sea shanties and folk songs in close harmony. Born in Norfolk, formed in Cornwall, they live and sing in London but hold the East Anglian skies in their hearts and voices. This will be their first visit to Harwich and we look forward […]