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.

Tyburn Road

Dave and Ian sing mainly maritime sets together as Tyburn Road and have become a regular fixture at HISF. With fine singing voices and often accompanied by the concertina they will entertain you with an unusual selection of songs and tunes.

Silver Darlings

Silver Darlings from Southend-on-Sea made a big impression at last year’s Festival and so we are very pleased to welcome them back for 2020. Their performances are lively and engaging and they are rapidly making a name for themselves both here in Essex and further afield. 

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.


Hans Weehuizen

Hans is a regular performer at our Festival now and in addition to singing and playing concertina/melodeon he will be running his popular How to Play the Bones workshops again.

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

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.

Rum Old Boys

Rum Old Boys are from Woodbridge, just a short boat ride away up the River Deben. During their relatively short existence as a shanty crew they have clocked up an impressive list of appearances, often collecting for charity.


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.

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

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.


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.

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

Rattlin’ Winches

Local Buoys, sorry boys, Ben, Len and Roy must be the hardest working shanty singers at the Festival this year as they perform with 3 other shanty groups as well. Harwich International Shanty Festival has obviously gone to their heads. Long may it last!

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!

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.


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 superb voices and an in-depth knowledge of French maritime songs.

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.


John and Sue Griffiths have been singing together for 30 years as a duo, a trio and as Mollyhawks, originally a nine piece outfit, since 1996. As well  as organising the music for Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival, they have run folk clubs and sung at folk and maritime festivals, yacht clubs and for various events across the UK and Europe, including performing as shantymen on tall ships.

Largely singing acapella, they have a huge repertoire of folk songs and songs of the sea and relish sharing their music and knowledge with audiences anywhere

New Scorpion Band

One of the most entertaining and original groups in British traditional music, the New Scorpion Band will be appearing at Harwich International Shanty Festival this year with one of their special maritime shows. The band take their name from the original Scorpion Band who played in the Dorset area around 1830 and New Scorpion Band performances feature a spectacular collection of historical instruments, rich vocal harmonies, sophisticated musical arrangements and virtuosic playing, covering a wide variety of musical styles. A performance not to be missed!


Baggyrinkle Swansea Shantymen have been singing together for 25 years now. Coming from all walks of life, the current line-up consists of up to 7 singing men and one female manager to keep them in line!

Performing all over Europe and the USA they sing traditional and contemporary songs of the sea in three part harmony. They  have also gathered a fair number of folk songs including drinking and mining songs which they perform at suitable venues.


Brise-Glace (Icebreaker) is a band of 4 French Canadian musicians/singers playing accordion, banjo, guitar, bodhran and washboard. They sing maritime folk from Quebec, the Canadian Maritimes, Brittany and North America with passion and energy.

Like the crews of ships in centuries past, this crew come from a variety of different backgrounds and use rhythm and music from Europe, Canada, American folk, Manush and Cajun. Feel free to dance, sing and clap along!

Brise Glace have performed throughout Canada, Europe and the U.S and will also be appearing at Paimpol this August. Check out their international shanties podcast “Bordel de Mer”.

The Forebitter Men

The Forebitter Men from Leeuwarden in the Netherlands will be making their second visit to the U.K. this year as they also performed at the Shantycafé in Felixstowe, back in April. They sing mainly acapella, occasionally accompanied by harmonica, bodhran or guitar and are veterans of several shanty festivals both at home and abroad.

Sloop Groggy Dogs

The Sloop Groggy Dogs have been singing songs of adventure and the seas since 2011. From landlocked Milton Keynes, they do their best to bring a taste of more exciting times to land lubbers and folk that likes a pint

Pete McClelland

Pete McClelland appears at the Festival for the first time singing songs of sea, coast, fishing, rivers and all things watery. With an engaging mixture of traditional, contemporary and self- penned material, Pete will take you on an entertaining musical journey of fine guitar playing and song.

Sheringham Shantymen

Sheringham Shantymen have been singing together since 1990, still with some of the original personnel. During that time they have entertained over 1000 audiences both at home and abroad.

They support the RNLI as a main charity and are the only organisation outside the RNLI with permission to display that insignia within their badge, an honour of which they are rightly proud. This is their second visit to Harwich and they are delighted to be back.

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.


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 guitar and mandola as well as singing unaccompanied. He  becomes a duo when joined on stage by Woody the dancing doll (pictured) who is quite clearly the brains of the outfit.

Make sure you bring your singing voice to any of his concerts (and possibly ear defenders).