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.

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, is an important part of that story.

Many towns in England, but also in the Netherlands and of course the U.S.A were planning a joint celebration of this historic occasion, with commemorative events scheduled to take place throughout the year. We all know what happened to that! However there are still hopes to salvage something of this historic occasion and many towns are still staging some events connected to the Mayflower Story.

Here at Harwich International Shanty Festival we have managed to secure Shanty Singers and Crews to represent most of the Mayflower Towns and we have several special events and concerts lined up following this theme. Our Guest List below indicates which Artists are representing a particular Mayflower Town and we look forward to welcoming you to the series of special concerts we have lined up.

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 Streaming.


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 us here in Harwich, he represents the three towns of Boston, Gainsborough and Immingham in his adopted home county of Lincolnshire.

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. Look forward to some lively performances.

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 venues both locally and further afield.

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 of the band. Swinging the Lead have been performing together for over ten years and are welcome regulars at HISF.

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 Lantern projector, this is a show not to be missed.

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 they used to be sung: simply, boldly and loudly.

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 HISF.

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 arrangements that will leave you enchanted.

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 2021.


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.

Hoy Boy

From our local waters of Essex, Hoy Boy (Peter Purnell) is a young(‘ish) enthusiastic acapella Sea Shanty Soloist with a passion for Maritime Folk Music. Specialising in rousing uplifting shanties from the golden age of sail that will have you joining in with gusto.

Pot Of Gold Shanty Crew

Now embarking on their 5th year together, Pot of Gold have gained an enviable reputation for singing traditional, and not so traditional, shanties and songs of the sea, in their own unique style.

Expect a totally inclusive, laid-back, entertaining session, full of great songs, fantastic harmonies, humour, brilliant musicianship and audience participation – the complete experience that has entertained audiences from Kings Lynn to The Minack Theatre and many places in between. And for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, Pot of Gold are proud to say they have a crew member who will sign their songs.

Rattlin’ Winches

Another home grown Harwich Town group, the Rattlin’ Winches have been singing together for several years now and are all keen exponents of the shanty tradition, performing at many local events. This busy trio also sing with other Harwich crews, so look carefully and you may spot them more than once over the weekend.

Shotley Crue

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.


ShantyFolk are a landlocked, acapella shanty group from the Lavenham area; they have been singing together since 2014 when, as members of a local choir, they sought to do ‘something different’ for a charity concert.  Since then they have helped raise a significant amount for various good causes including the RNLI. 2021 will mark their debut at HISF.


Isle ‘ave a Shanty

Isle ‘Ave A Shanty are a 6 piece shanty crew based on the Isle of Ely. They specialise in traditional songs from the sea and the country in a folk style as well as putting a folk twist on some modern classics! They may come from a landlocked county but they bring their own style to both traditional and self penned songs.


Apologies to the many Artists we were unable to host this year. I’m sure you all appreciate what a difficult year it has been for all aspects of the Arts and the music industry. Let’s all support this Festival and start to get events back on track.