Johnson Girls

All the way from the USA, Johnson Girls are the foremost all woman acapella maritime group in the world and have been singing together for over 20 years now. Rousing work songs, sensitive ballads and soaring harmonies are all part of their repertoire and they join us this year not only to entertain with all of these but also representing Plymouth USA as part of our Mayflower 400 celebrations.


Powerful singing, innovative arrangements and unusual instrumentation all make up the unique sound of Doggerland who combine the traditions of England and Scandinavia in their shanties and ballads.

Act Of Mutiny

As part of HISF participation in and support for the Mayflower 400 Anniversary, we are very pleased to be inviting Sea Shanty groups from nearly all of the Mayflower towns. Act of Mutiny are from Leiden in Holland, representing that town as part of our very special concert, but also of course entertaining at other times throughout the weekend. We welcome them on their first visit to Harwich.


One of our most popular and most requested guests, Nordet are back to sing at our big 2020 Festival. They perform with energy and enthusiasm, taking their audiences with them as they sing in French, Breton or English, accompanied by melodeon, bouzouki or guitar.



Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes

From La Rochelle in France, Les Brouilleurs d’Ecoutes sing and play an energetic mix of Shanties and Sea Songs in both French and English with a hint of Scottish and Irish influence. Extremely popular on their last visit here we are pleased to welcome them back.

Kimbers Men

We couldn’t do without Kimber’s Men at our extended Mayflower 400 Festival! The top UK Shanty Crew, popular all over the world and one of our most requested groups. And as true Yorkshire men they will be representing Austerfield, Doncaster in our Mayflower concert.

Sound Tradition

Talented group with super harmonies and a wide range of songs, Sound Tradition are very much in demand at Clubs and Festivals and between them have many years of experience with Folk and Traditional music, much of it maritime related. Their sets range from lively chorus songs to lilting ballads.

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. 

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. At HISF Pete will be singing and playing and proudly representing Boston/Immingham area as part of our Mayflower 400 celebrations


Monkey’s Fist

Steve, John and Colin have been singing shanties, sea songs and forebitters for over 20 years now and are well known both nationally and internationally, having appeared at numerous festivals and events. They sing both acapella or accompanied by guitar, concertina, harmonica and bodhran.

Old Gaffers

A performance from Old Gaffers from South Devon is always inclusive and engaging and delivered with their own brand of humour. During the 10 years of their existence they have performed widely in the West Country and further afield and return to Harwich this year in particular to represent Plymouth UK as part of our Mayflower 400 celebrations.

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.

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 is an expert at all things Shanty and also one of the few Shanty Singers who can claim real life experience aboard tall ships, including several trips “Around the Horn”. In addition to singing he will be giving an illustrated talk on some of his experiences at a workshop over the weekend

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.


Sea songs and shanties, both acapella and accompanied, make up Impressed’s repertoire. They specialise in rousing choruses and audience participation. And in addition Liz will be running workshops for aspiring new singers.

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.


Hoy Boy

Sailing in from Canvey Island in Essex, Hoy Boy (Peter Purnell) is a young 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.

Malcolm Ward & Pete Stockwell

Singing sometimes unaccompanied, sometimes with banjo or concertina, regular guests Malc and Pete deliver a varied selection of traditional and contemporary sea songs and shanties. For 2020 Malc will be singing his own Mayflower song in the special concert

Capstan Full Strength

Mainly Suffolk based crew Capstan Full Strength, have been singing together now for over 20 years and continue to impress audiences with their musical prowess and expert harmonies. They join us for the Saturday of the Festival

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.

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!