Caravan & camperhome registrations 2022

Our Caravan & campervan registrations page is now live for visitors to to our 2022 Shanty Festival who wish to bring their caravan or campervan to Harwich. Please note that full registration details are required for our grassed site and it has limited spaces. Detailed information is available on the page .

Shanty Trains

Join us for a swash buckling & musical train from Manningtree to Harwich to join in the fun of the Harwich International Sea Shanty Festival. The decorated trains leave Manningtree station at 10.59 hrs and 11.59 hrs on Saturday 8th October 2022, a shanty crew will be singing on each of the trains and fancy […]

Time & Tide Bell

The Tide & Tide Project aims to raise awareness of rising sea levels as well as the importance of the sea in coastal communities. A number of bells are already installed around the UK coast and Harwich will receive its bell at 11.30am on Saturday October 8th, during the 2022 Shanty Festival. Time & Tide […]

The 2022 Poster!

Our 2022 Festival Poster is out! Please get in touch if you can help distribute our printed fliers/posters but otherwise you can download one for your own window/car/office etc.

Pepper’s Ghost

With a huge selection of original 19th Century photographs Pepper’s Ghost Magic Lantern Show provides a vivid insight into maritime life in times past. With tall ships, fishing vessels and harbour scenes their show is interspersed with readings, hornpipes, songs and shanties, bringing each image to life. Join them on Friday evening.

Alan Whitbread: Order of Service

Owing to the current pandemic, only family were able to attend Alan Whitbread’s funeral. We are however able to share the order of service which may be of interest as it contains a fascinating insight into Alan’s history. (Please note that it is a large PDF file and may take a few seconds to load.) […]


Unsurprisingly we have to report that Shanty Sundays at the Pier are suspended for the foreseeable future, so no Hoolies to brighten your Easter. We have no plans to cancel our Festival at this present time, but of course we are continually monitoring the situation and will let everyone know if there is any change

Alan Whitbread

As many of you will have already seen from our brief post yesterday evening, Alan Whitbread sadly passed away on Tuesday evening. He has been a supporter and valued performer at our Festival for many years, his knowledge, musical ability and rapport with his audience made him a ready favourite. He could always engage an […]

Shanty Workshop – Photos & Feedback

Please could I say a personal thank you to everyone who was involved in making our workshop and concert yesterday such a success. I’m not going to name individuals as I will miss someone, but, thank you to you all … To all of those of you that bought a ticket and came along , […]

2020 Artists

The first confirmed artists will appear here in the Spring of 2020 but the full list won’t be published until late summer.

Shanty Bus!

If you are staying some way out of town or have a few mobility issues you will be pleased to hear that our ShantyBus will once again be running throughout the weekend to call at outlying areas in Dovercourt and Parkeston. The full timetable is in our programme, available to download from our website or […]

Shanty Train

The Shanty Train is running on the Saturday of the festival and two return times are available. From Harwich Town/Dovercourt travel on the 1028 or 1128 services, from Manningtree it’s the 1101 & 1201 services. Visit for tickets

London Sea Shanty Collective

The London Sea Shanty Collective is a community choir who sing shanties and maritime songs with one eye to tradition and the other to the future. They perform regularly in London and across the UK and Ireland and have sung at festivals, pubs, bars, theatres, the British Museum the British Library and more.

Ken Stephens

Singer, concertina player and author of several contemporary shanties often mistaken for traditional, Ken is a relaxed entertaining and knowledgeable performer, veteran of many maritime events. For 2020 he is representing his home town of Southampton at our Mayflower 400 concert


The Snottledogs are a Margate based folk band born out of a love for performing uplifting, accessible and rollocking good songs. They sing with harmony and passion!

Happy Sam

Happy Sam are Graham and Nicky Schofield. Both have been heavily involved with the traditional folk scene for many years. Graham is well known as a fine singer with a strong voice and wide repertoire of songs. As well as playing for dancing, they run sessions locally and folk events for charity, using many different […]

The Hoolies

Formed only last year, following a request from the Mayor of Wivenhoe, the Hoolies are already making a name for themselves and already have a very busy schedule of appearances. This will be their second visit to Harwich Shanty Festival

Shötley Crüe

Another crew formed directly as a result of the Harwich Shanty Festival, Shötley Crüe have now been singing together for nearly 6 years and have performed at a number of Festivals and clubs around the country. They are now resident band at a monthly Folk club in South London.

Armstrong’s Patent

One of the premier maritime groups in The Netherlands, Armstrong’s Patent is a five-man group, who perform an eclectic mix of folk and sea songs.  They deliver a professional yet lighthearted performance that entertains and pleases their audiences across Europe and beyond.

Festival Feedback

We have received the following remarks concerning the 2018 festival – many thanks to all who commented! “The Pirate Train was great fun” “keep up the good work” “easy going friendly atmosphere” “we love the whole atmosphere of the Festival” “the quality of acts at the Saturday evening concert is always excellent”

Dominic Dowsey-Magog

We are deeply saddened to tell you that the lovely Dominic Dowsey-Magog died on Monday this week. A kind, gentle man and wonderful shanty singer he will be much missed by all who knew him.

Les Corsaires de la Vesdre

From Limbourg in Belgium, Les Corsaires are keen travellers and have appeared at maritime festivals throughout Europe. They sing in several different languages and believe it is important that both audience and singers should have fun.

Dick Miles

Dick Miles has been singing and playing music since he was 13 and lived for many years in East Anglia before moving to the Republic of Ireland. He particularly loves the English concertina as an accompaniment and has written 2 tutor books for this instrument. A regular at maritime and folk festivals this is Dick’s […]

The Hoy Shanty Crew

The Hoy Shanty Crew sprung out of The Hoy at Anchor Folk Club, Southend area’s longest running Folk Club. Singing rousing shanties together the group have performed extensively in Essex and beyond.

Jim Radford

One of the diminishing numbers of survivors from WW2, Jim worked on the Naval Wartime Rescue Tug Service, based in Harwich. He also took part in the D Day Landings, 75 years ago. His talks and songs are always extremely popular at our Festival and Jim will once again be relating some of his wartime […]

Men Overboard

“Za Bortom!” (Men Overboard!) Men Overboard, from St. Petersburg, Russia, made a big impression on their first visit to Harwich last year and so we are pleased to welcome them back in 2018. Their original performances combine a mixture of traditional sea songs and shanties, including some Russian versions and exciting new material written by one […]

El Pony Pisador

We just had to have these guys back again! El Pony Pisador from Barcelona, made such a huge impression on the Festival last year with their vibrant, exciting and varied performances. Sea songs and shanties mix with havaneres, tuvan throat singing, tarantellas and yodelling for one of the most original acts on the scene.

Short Drag Roger

Hailing from the well-known fishing port of Oxford, Short Drag Roger like nothing better than travelling the country and beyond, singing traditional and not so traditional sea shanties. In the 17 years of their existence they have attended a variety of functions, countries and Festivals. They say they will sing to anyone, anywhere, anytime at […]

Tres Hombres Shanty Crew

Tres Hombres Shanty Crew from Eindhoven in the Netherlands sing traditional shanties, sea songs and forebitters in surprisingly close harmony. They are also proud ambassadors of the emission free shipping company.

Treasure Hunt

Our Annual Treasure Hunt has become a popular event in the Harwich calendar and this year takes place on Friday 29th December starting at mid-day at the Alma. Come and follow a set of cryptic clues taking you around the old town of Harwich. There are picture clues for youngsters and so this is a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Jack Forbes of Slow Loris

More sad news I’m afraid. Jack Forbes, singer, songwriter (notably of the very well known “Rolling Down the River”) and band member of Slow Loris, one of our most popular festival groups, died on Friday after a short illness. The short sentence above does not do justice to the huge contribution Jack made to the […]

Kerry Hearn – Quidnunc

We were treated to Quidnunc, from Kent, at our 2014 festival but, sadly, in November 2014 we heard that a member of Quidnunc had died in a car accident. Kerry (right) will be remembered for their music and jest for everything. Our sympathies went to Mandy, Kerry’s wife, and to their musical partner Stuart Pendrill. […]

Bob Walser

Musician, scholar and educator Bob Walser’s  musical career spans decades and continents. In the early 1980s he made his living as a shantyman at Mystic Seaport, one of the largest maritime museums in the USA. Since then he has presented folk music and dance programmes in schools across the USA, and performed as a singer, dance […]


Four guys, Bob, Rob, Bob and Allan, who have been singing and drinking together for well over 20 years. The majority of our material is a capella but we do use instruments: melodeon, concertina and bouzouki. Like most shanty groups we like a good rousing song, and like most  shanty groups we have tried to keep […]

Dominic Dowsey-Magog

Dom was well known on the Shanty scene throughout the U.K. and abroad, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Shanty Crew. He joined us in 2017 as a solo artist when his encyclopaedic knowledge of the sea, shanties and his powerful voice made him a welcome addition to the festival. Dom […]

la Morescha Nova

Our first ever Italian Shanty Crew! And la Morescha are rather special as they are the only group in Italy to be concentrating on Italian maritime heritage. Their repertoire covers songs from Roman times up to the present day and is accompanied by authentic baroque instruments. They will also be teaming up with Jack Coutts, […]


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

Shep Woolley

Shep Woolley has been entertaining the crowds since performing at the local working men’s club as a young boy. Through Country & Western, Jazz, Skiffle and Rock’n’Roll he progressed to stand up comedy and a spell in the Royal Navy lent a nautical slant to his material. A professional musician of many years standing, Shep […]

Trim Rig & A Doxy

Trim Rig and a Doxy have been performing together at Folk and Shanty Festivals for 15 years or more and this will be their 3rd appearance at Harwich Shanty Festival. Julia’s distinctive melodeon style and Derek’s harmonious singing voice blend together to form a unique delivery with a warm and sometimes humorous slant. A popular […]

Burning Glass

Burning Glass are well-known local multi-instrumentalists Mick & Penny Verrier, accompanied by family and friends.

Overheard …

“One of the best things about living in ESSEX is going to the Harwich Shanty Festival”   “I have had an awesome weekend, thank you to everyone who came along and supported us you were amazing. What a lovely,if slightly bonkers, bunch we all are. Once again, thank you, have a safe year, see you […]