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.


Hog Eye Men

The Hog Eye Men join us once again from London to sing authentic shanties in a traditional manner. All members of the Crew have long experience of traditional folk, particularly maritime, music and song.

Chris Roche

Chris was a founder member of The Shanty Crew back in 1976 and has a wealth of experience, both in singing shanties and sailing traditional tall ships. He also sings from the experience of having known the late Stan Hugill, the last of the deep-water sailors to have sung as a shantyman and the world’s greatest collector of them.

Swinging the Lead

One of our popular regulars, Swinging the Lead join us once again, having now expanded into a six-piece band. Their repertoire includes both traditional, contemporary and self-penned songs and for 2020 they will be representing Rotherhithe at our Mayflower 400 concert.

Charlotte & Spong

Tireless supporters of the Festival, Charlotte and Spong will be entertaining us over the weekend with their beautiful arrangements of sea songs and shanties, plus their very popular “Shanty Karaoke” on Saturday afternoon.

Malcolm Ward & Pete Stockwell

Malcolm and Pete, both well established figures on the Kent Folk scene, will be performing together at HISF with a wide range of maritime songs often accompanied by banjo or concertina. They both share a passion for songs of the sea and an in depth knowledge of their subject which they share with their audiences.

Salt Water & Beer

Another Essex crew from Maldon, Salt Water and Beer have been singing together for a number of years. They have performed at Harwich International Shanty Festival on several occasions and they return again for our 2020 celebrations.

Felix Stowaways

Visiting again from across the seas, well the Orwell, are popular local group Felix Stowaways, who are blessed with the catchiest group name that could be bestowed upon a crew by virtue of their home town.


Motley Crew

From just along the Essex coast in Brightlingsea, Motley Crew are a very popular local group whose performances are always lively and robust. They perform at many local events and successfully raise thousands of pounds for the RNLI.

Harwich Shanty Crew

Formed from a workshop at our Festival back in 2010, Harwich Shanty Crew are now much in demand locally and perform regularly throughout the year at a number of local events. And they will of course be representing Harwich at our special Mayflower 400 concert

Naze Shanty Crew

Naze Shanty Crew founded the Harwich International Shanty Festival after casting envious glances across the bay from Walton-on-the-Naze. Now none of them live in Walton, but they keep the name and keep the Festival, sometimes at the expense of their sanity!

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.

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 experiences, interspersed with songs, both traditional and self penned. 

Jim currently has a single in the charts in aid of the Normandy memorial Trust:


Stork Ejlaender

Danish Shanty Crew Stork Ejlaender come from the island of Fano off the Danish coast. They call themselves after the storks which return to the island for the winter, just as the sailors did in days gone by. Their style of singing is as authentic as possible to the shanty singers of the past.

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.


Grietje Sprot

We are delighted to welcome Grietje Sprot back to the festival after they made such an impression last year. Coming from Hindeloopen, an ancient harbour town in Friesland, Netherlands, members of this group all love fish and all love singing and so became Grietje Sprot, the Fishwives Choir. They always perform in their distinctive traditional costumes, typical of Dutch fishwives of the 1920s. Their repertoire includes ballads and songs in Friesian and Dutch, all about fish, the sea, sailors, love and tragedy.

Inner State Theatre

Inner State are now a familiar sight at our festivals.

This year Andy and Christine will be Inner State as Hilda and Erik, Viking Invaders, up at the Redoubt Fort on Saturday. Come and see their 30 minute Street Theatre or watch as they stroll, via a Viking Longship, along the Quayside all day Sunday.



If ever two voices were meant to go together it must be those of Tony and Lesley Petty, whose amazing two part a cappella harmony singing has been enchanting audiences at clubs and festivals since 1996. Their songs are a mixture of traditional and contemporary, delivered in a relaxed and witty style with audience participation always encouraged.  


Les Corsaires de la Vesdre

Corsaires de la Vesdre

Our first group from Belgium, Corsaires de la Vesdre are named after the River where they live, close to the borders with Germany and Holland. Their aim is to share their music with as wide an audience as possible and they love to sing outdoors in an authentic maritime setting. Catch them around the town this year.

Derek Gifford

Derek Gifford

This will be Derek’s second visit to Harwich International Shanty Festival. Last time he came as part of the trio “Three Sheets to the Wind”, but in 2016 he appears in his own right. Derek has many years’ experience of singing folk and sea songs, has toured extensively and written several songs, some of which are so well absorbed into the folk tradition that others attribute them to that well known writer Anon.



From that well know seafaring county of Wiltshire, Friggitt have been performing maritime songs together since 2007. They entertain with a range of instruments and have appeared at a variety of sea and riverside events.

Kernow Buoys

Back to entertain us again, Gideon and Nigel will be making the long trek from the West Country to sing songs of the sea, both Cornish and otherwise. Kernow Buoys are one of our most popular acts. Watch them at one of their many appearances and you’ll find out why.

Roaring Trowmen

Roaring Trowmen were a huge success at last year’s Harwich Shanty Festival and have been making waves at other festivals and events throughout the U.K. so we had to have them back. They mix musical excellence with on stage humour and personality and are an act not to be missed.

Shep Woolley

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 now combines an entertaining mix of comedy, monologues, sea songs and shanties for his maritime bookings. Don’t miss him!

Tidens Brus

Our first group from Finland, Tidens Brus in fact hail from the Aland Islands, between Finland and Sweden. Roughly translated “Aland” means “Land of Water” so it is hardly surprising that there is a tradition of singing songs of the sea. The four members of the group sing in harmony, sometimes accompanied by guitar, whistle and percussion.

Vagrants Crew

When Vagrants Crew first attended the festival they were an instant hit so we knew we would have to have them back. Their music is lively and their enthusiasm and enjoyment catching, making everyone want to join in. In addition to our own festival, they will also be attending the Baltic Shanty Festival which co-incidentally this year is held in the home town of our Finnish group, Tidens Brus.