The Longest Johns

In a few short years the Longest Johns have gone from singing sea shanties in a kitchen to International folk festivals, tours and TV appearances and have gained a huge online following. Here at Harwich International Shanty Festival we are so pleased to welcome them back as guests, following their transition to stardom. With innovative […]


This is a welcome return for Brasy after their last visit to our Festival in 2015. Singing close harmonies, acapella and accompanied shanties they are one of the most popular bands we have hosted. Poland has a proud history of singing songs of the sea and Brasy have performed at clubs and festivals globally.


Another of our most popular performers, Nordet join us again from Lorient in Brittany. They sing shanties and sea songs in French, Breton and English accompanied by guitar, melodeon and now, Uillean pipes. Twenty years of experience has seen them performing all over the world at venues from Village Halls to concert auditoriums. Come and […]

Les Barker

Les Barker writes strange poems and comes originally from Manchester, but he’s now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He’s written 85 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don’t quite believe what they’ve just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes: Jason […]

Tyburn Road

This talented duo join us again with some accomplished musicianship, harmonious singing and intriguing workshops. Their musical expertise and relaxed presentation make their performances readily accessible and a delight to hear and you can be sure of always finding some new gems in their extensive repertoire.

Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes

From La Rochelle in France, Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes describe themselves as a Franco-British group with an Irish flavour. Their upbeat multi-instrumental approach to shanties has earned them a strong following both in their home country and abroad. Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes made a huge impression on their first visit to Harwich and we are pleased to […]

Monkey’s Fist

Monkey’s Fist, based in Yorkshire and named after the knot used to heave the first line ashore, is the trio of Steve Flude, Colin Devey and John Horsey. They sing powerful arrangements of sea shanties, forebitters and ballads with close harmonies and guitar, concertina, bodhran and harmonica accompaniment. They have performed at clubs and festivals […]

Ol’ Hands Shantymen

Joining us from Apeldoorn In the Netherlands, Ol’Hands Shantymen have been singing together since 2003. They sing acapella, shanties and forebitters and try to stay as true to the original form as possible. The group have sung at maritime events in the Netherlands and the UK.


Crossjack is the name of a small sail at the mizzen mast. It is used to hold a course and this five piece Shanty Crew aim to do just that. They sing traditional sea shanties, unaccompanied, as they would have been sung in the days of sail and they are keen to authentically reproduce the […]

Stuart Pendrill

Stuart is a Kentish English folksinger, who not only pens his own songs but also plays well known traditional folk and sea songs. In addition to appearances in the UK, he also performs in The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Poland and Australia. Now resident in The Netherlands Stuart is also part of the well known shanty group […]

Nelson’s Shantymen

Based in the Burnhams, birth place of England’s greatest seaman, Lord Horatio Nelson, Nelson’s Shantymen are a diverse group of enthusiasts, driven in equal measure by a love of singing and a desire to keep the tradition of the authentic sea-shanty alive. True to the original spirit of the shanty, a major emphasis is placed […]


The Hoolies from Wivenhoe are a popular Essex crew who sing an entertaining mix of traditional shanties and maritime folk songs with lively musical accompaniment. They combine a love of shantying with fundraising for good causes

Spinnaker Shanty

From the Naval town of Portsmouth, Spinnaker Shanty sing traditional and original sea songs and shanties with harmony and humour. They are rapidly making a name for themselves around the Festival circuit.

Black Deep

Surely that’s the Naze Shanty Crew I hear you cry! But no, rising Phoenix like, from the ashes of a global pandemic, the Naze Shanty Crew with a slimmed down line up and no longer any connections to the town of Walton-on-the-Naze, have regrouped as The Black Deep. Shanties and sea songs are still very […]

Goldhanger Shanty Crew

Another Essex crew, from the Blackwater estuary village of Goldhanger, the Goldhanger Shanty Crew evolved out of the local choir following a sea-themed concert in 2017. The group have been rantin’ an’ roarin’ in the local Chequers Pub ever since, apart from a few spells freezing outside or ‘Zooming’ when necessary.


Friggitt are a shanty trio from Wiltshire who perform all sorts of songs connected with the sea and sailors. As well as traditional and contemporary songs they also perform some original compositions written by the band members and others. They sing both acapella and accompanied by guitar, ukulele, bass and harmonica.

Freddie’s Barnet

Freddie’s Barnet are an energetic and amusing folk duet performing old and new songs, from traditional sea shanties to singalong classics and occasionally one or two of their own compositions. Individually they have been singing and performing for over fifteen years, as a duo for over four. In that short time they have performed at […]

Fire & Ice

One of the outcomes of the Board of Trade report into the sinking of the Titanic was the formation of six schools teaching Navigation and Seamanship to pupils from the age of eleven. One of these schools was the London Nautical School. Dave, Andy, John, Tony, Del and Stephen were all students at this school. […]

Harwich Sing

Harwich Sing Tendring Voices is a community choir all about the love of singing. They have groups for all ages and all abilities but love to come together and perform as one from time to time, kids, teens and adults! They sing all kinds of music but have found a lot of joy in learning […]

Dovercourt Ukulele Group

Ukuleles, originally from Portugal, are now associated mainly with Hawaii where they were introduced by Portuguese sailors and immigrants. Now very popular in the U.K., the Dovercourt Ukulele Club has been going since the noughties, and play a variety of songs of many genres. Shanties are a new venture for them and they are excited […]

Summer Shanties On The Pier

We were last able to hold our popular Summer Shanty sessions back in 2019, but have re-instated them for 2022! May 15th was Hoy Boy (video “Randy Dandy Oh”) June 12th Hoy Boy (Video “Sally Brown”)  July 10th Hoolies from Wivenhoe  August 14th ShantyFolk from Lavenham September 11th Felixstowaways from across Harwich Harbour   Back […]

Cakes & Shanties 2022!

On 1st May we held the second of our Shanty’n’Cake Days. Last year this event was a spectacular success, raising in excess of £500 and providing a great day of entertainment. For 2022 we exceeded ourselves as this has become one of our most popular fundraising events and we were thrilled to raise just over […]

Shanty Quiz

On April 12th the Alma Inn is hosting one of its famous quizzes and this month all profits go towards the Shanty Festival.  In their own words the quiz is “a bunch of weird questions, followed by a bunch of unforgettable prizes” and an entertaining evening is guaranteed. Teams of up to 6 people may enter and please […]

Card Payments

In common with other online stores you may see a pop-up from your bank when making a donation or buying merchandise on our site; there is nothing to be concerned about and it is designed to combat online fraud. For further information please see your bank’s website or any recent correspondence from your bank.  This […]

Alan Storey

We are deeply saddened to report the death on 21st February of the lovely Alan Storey, talented musician and multi instrumentalist with popular local group Golden Rivets. He and the Rivets have supported our Festival from the very beginning and his presence in the local community will be sorely missed. A true gentleman, Alan is […]

Jan Buijs

Many people will already have heard this news, but for those of you who have not, we are sorry to tell you that the lovely Jan Buijs from Scheepsfolk sadly died in December. Scheepsfolk were a great hit at our Festival in 2018 and Jan and Catharina came along as a duo in 2019. The […]

New Year Sale!

Our 2021 T-Shirts have been reduced from £15 to £8 in our first ever New Year Sale! Sizes Medium & XL are available from our T-Shirt page.

Closed: Photo Competition

We are running a photo competition, with a closing date of 31st March 2022. We want you to send us your photos of any HISF event. It doesn’t have to be just a photograph of shanty singers at the Festival, but has to represent the kind of things our Festival covers, so you could consider […]

Postponed: Christmas 2021 Murder Mystery Day

POSTPONED Unfortunately we have had to take the decision to postpone our Murder Mystery event. Apologies for the short notice but we have been watching the situation closely and felt we had no choice. Watch out for a revised date when it’s a better time to hold the event.   Save the Day & Solve […]

Johnson Girls Concert

The Johnson Girls from Connecticut weren’t able to make it to Harwich for our 2021 Festival so recorded a special 65 minute concert for us in two parts. We’ve now uploaded it to our Youtube Channel where you can watch it for yourself.   Both parts are available here:

2021 Festival

Our 2021 Festival features a rather special theme of the Mayflower. Most of you will know that the year 2020 was intended to be a celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower to the New World. Harwich town as the birthplace of both the Mayflower Ship and its Master Christopher Jones, […]

Johnson Girls

Johnson Girls were all set to come to our 2020 Festival, representing the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts as part of our Mayflower celebrations. Travel uncertainties and increased costs make their Atlantic crossing impossible this year, but we are very much hoping that this world renowned Shanty group can join us via the wonders of Live […]

Kimbers Men

We are so pleased to welcome the talented Kimber’s Men back to our Festival this year. Their superb harmonies and great arrangements make them one of the most sought after Shanty Groups in the land. And as true Yorkshire men they are representing the town of Austerfield, Doncaster as part of our Mayflower celebrations.

Shanty Jack

For the past 30 years or more, Shanty Jack (Pete Hayselden) has been a regular fixture at Shanty Festivals both in the UK and abroad. He spent a large part of his life working on Tugs in the Humber and was instrumental in establishing the Hull Sea Fever Festival. This is his first visit to […]

Act Of Mutiny

Another first for us, Act of Mutiny hail from Leiden in the Netherlands, the town where many of the Pilgrims settled before making that historic crossing. The group has a versatile repertoire of traditional and modern shanties, singing mainly in English, sometimes French or Spanish and often accompanied by guitar, banjo, flute, cello and percussion. […]

Ken Stephens

An accomplished concertina player, Ken sings sometimes solo and sometimes alongside Hans during the Festival programme. In addition, Ken is the author of many well known modern sea songs and shanties and we have a special concert showcasing his contribution to the maritime tradition.

Old Gaffers

From the South Hams area of Devon, Old Gaffers are representing their nearby towns of Plymouth and Dartmouth. This is the Gaffers second visit to Harwich and their previous performances made them an instant hit. A large repertoire of sea songs and shanties, professional delivery and easy going style make them a popular choice at […]

Swinging The Lead

Kentish band, Swinging the Lead join us once again with an ever expanding line up! They are regular singers on board the famous tea clipper, the Cutty Sark and also regulars at many festivals and events around the UK. They sing an entertaining mixture of traditional and contemporary maritime songs, including some written by members […]

Harwich Shanty Crew

The home town Shanty Crew of the festival was born out of a workshop run at a very early HISF. They now perform at many events both locally and further afield with a dedicated and expanding group of singers and wide repertoire of sea songs and shanties, some self penned.

Hans Weehuizen aka Dutch Uncle

Hans is a familiar face at HISF and indeed at many other festivals in the UK. Join Hans at one of his “Learn to Play the Bones” workshops, or catch him as he sings Dutch and English shanties, accompanied by concertina or melodeon.

Silver Darlings

This all female crew from the Southend area made a great impression at our 2019 Festival and are set to do the same again as they join us in 2021. They are rapidly making a name for themselves, both locally and further afield, with great voices and lively performances.

Charlotte & Spong

Accompanied by fiddle, mandolin and concertina, Charlotte and Spong have an original take on many traditional shanties and also include some contemporary material in their varied sets. This year they will be joined by Allan and Rene for another entertaining Magic Lantern Show. Featuring original photographs of 19th Century maritime life on a genuine Magic […]

Naze Shanty Crew

Founders of the Harwich International Shanty Festival and enthusiastic promoters of maritime music, the Naze Shanty Crew are thrilled to be performing together again after their enforced rest. Veterans of several maritime festivals at home and abroad, Harwich remains of course, their favourite

Hog Eye Men

London Shanty Crew the Hog Eye Men sing at events all over the Capital City. They also host a monthly sea song and shanty session in central London and like Swinging the Lead, have a regular slot on board the Cutty Sark. The crew are keen to keep these great songs alive, singing them as […]

Motley Crew

Just along the coast in Brightlingsea, Motley Crew have been singing together now for a number of years and gained a loyal following for their entertaining performances. They are much in demand locally and have performed at numerous events, often raising money for charity, particularly the RNLI.

Mains’l Haul

A short trip down the Essex Coast to Maldon on the Blackwater Estuary finds the Shanty Crew Mains’l Haul. Formed in 2014, the group sing mainly unaccompanied, but also play a variety of instruments including melodeon, guitar, concertina and recorder. The group sing mainly at festivals, regattas and sailing clubs and have become regulars at […]

Salt Water & Beer

Also from Maldon, Salt Water & Beer have been singing together for a number of years. Originally singing for beer on Maldon Quay they now sing for beer at events much further afield, including our own Harwich International Shanty Festival.

Sound Tradition

Sound Tradition sing in glorious four part harmony, anything from gentle lilting ballads to lively choruses. This is their second visit to Harwich International Shanty Festival with their mainly maritime set. All four members of the band are respected and accomplished singers with impressive pedigrees and experience.  

Felix Stowaways

Felix Stowaways are a busy and popular Shanty Crew, performing at many local events and holding a successful annual “ShantyCafé” in their home town of Felixstowe. They have been singing together for a number of years and are welcome attendees at HISF.

Capstan Full Strength

Capstan Full Strength are a six strong vocal harmony group who have sung songs of the sea, land and work since 1998. Their powerful ‘broadside’ of sound has been welcomed at festivals in Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles .  ‘Capstan FS’ offer an incredibly broad repertoire of maritime songs enhanced with beautiful  harmonies and […]

Golden Rivets

Popular local group, the Golden Rivets will be performing for us again at the Shanty Festival this year. Accompanied by a variety of instruments they play and sing a lively, upbeat set of shanties and sea songs.

Malcolm Ward

An inveterate singer of shanties and folk songs, Malcolm has been performing at clubs and festivals for many years. With a melodious voice and sympathetic accompaniment on concertina, Malcolm joins with Pete Stockwell for most gigs here at Harwich International Shanty Festival.

Pete Stockwell

Long time devotee of all things maritime, Pete has been singing sea songs and shanties for as long as any of us can remember and leads the shanty session at Broadstairs Folk Festival every year. He has been a supporter of our Festival since the beginning and we look forward to welcoming him back in […]


This will be the second appearance for The Hoolies from Wivenhoe on the Colne Estuary. Now well established as part of the shanty community, they are in much demand locally for their lively and entertaining versions of traditional and contemporary sea songs.