Roger and Liz return to the festival with lively interpretations of maritime songs, often accompanied by accordion or whistle. They will also be running the popular “Learn to Sing in Public” workshop, encouraging new singers to take that plunge.

The Longest Johns

In a few short years the Longest Johns have gone from singing sea shanties in a kitchen to International folk festivals, tours and TV appearances and have gained a huge online following. Here at Harwich International Shanty Festival we are so pleased to welcome them back as guests, following their transition to stardom. With innovative interpretations of many well known shanties, interspersed with some lesser known gems they delight their many fans and those who are just discovering them.


This is a welcome return for Brasy after their last visit to our Festival in 2015. Singing close harmonies, acapella and accompanied shanties they are one of the most popular bands we have hosted. Poland has a proud history of singing songs of the sea and Brasy have performed at clubs and festivals globally.


Another of our most popular performers, Nordet join us again from Lorient in Brittany. They sing shanties and sea songs in French, Breton and English accompanied by guitar, melodeon and now, Uillean pipes. Twenty years of experience has seen them performing all over the world at venues from Village Halls to concert auditoriums. Come and capture some of their magic.



Keith Donnelly

We are thrilled to announce that Keith Donnelly will fill the spot left vacant by Les Barker’s immediate retirement. Keith has worked alongside Les in the past and is a festival favourite around the globe. An amazing guitarist, stand up comic and songwriter, a performance by Keith is always a delight.

Les Barker

Unfortunately, Les is unwell and has retired from performing. Keith Donnelly will stand in for Les for his his Friday Night concert.

Les Barker writes strange poems and comes originally from Manchester, but he’s now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He’s written 85 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don’t quite believe what they’ve just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes: Jason and the Arguments, Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive and Spot of the Antarctic, to name but two. Don’t miss the chance to see Les on Friday 7th.


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.

Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes

From La Rochelle in France, Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes describe themselves as a Franco-British group with an Irish flavour. Their upbeat multi-instrumental approach to shanties has earned them a strong following both in their home country and abroad. Les Brouilleurs d’Écoutes made a huge impression on their first visit to Harwich and we are pleased to welcome them back.

Monkey’s Fist

Monkey’s Fist, based in Yorkshire and named after the knot used to heave the first line ashore, is the trio of Steve Flude, Colin Devey and John Horsey. They sing powerful arrangements of sea shanties, forebitters and ballads with close harmonies and guitar, concertina, bodhran and harmonica accompaniment. They have performed at clubs and festivals across the UK, together with festivals in Ireland, Germany and Holland.

Ol’ Hands Shantymen

Joining us from Apeldoorn In the Netherlands, Ol’Hands Shantymen have been singing together since 2003. They sing acapella, shanties and forebitters and try to stay as true to the original form as possible. The group have sung at maritime events in the Netherlands and the UK.

Goldhanger Shanty Crew

Another Essex crew, from the Blackwater estuary village of Goldhanger, the Goldhanger Shanty Crew evolved out of the local choir following a sea-themed concert in 2017. The group have been rantin’ an’ roarin’ in the local Chequers Pub ever since, apart from a few spells freezing outside or ‘Zooming’ when necessary.


Crossjack is the name of a small sail at the mizzen mast. It is used to hold a course and this five piece Shanty Crew aim to do just that. They sing traditional sea shanties, unaccompanied, as they would have been sung in the days of sail and they are keen to authentically reproduce the sounds that would have been heard aboard the tall ships as the work was carried out. Crossjack have performed at many maritime festivals in their native Germany and abroad and we are pleased to welcome them back to Harwich

Stuart Pendrill

Stuart is a Kentish English folksinger, who not only pens his own songs but also plays well known traditional folk and sea songs. In addition to appearances in the UK, he also performs in The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Poland and Australia. Now resident in The Netherlands Stuart is also part of the well known shanty group ‘Armstrong’s Patent’ that perform at many festivals and events in Europe.

Nelson’s Shantymen

Based in the Burnhams, birth place of England’s greatest seaman, Lord Horatio Nelson, Nelson’s Shantymen are a diverse group of enthusiasts, driven in equal measure by a love of singing and a desire to keep the tradition of the authentic sea-shanty alive. True to the original spirit of the shanty, a major emphasis is placed on the voice, although instrumental accompaniment, in the form of banjo, bodhran, guitar and harmonica, is an integral part of performance.

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.


The Hoolies from Wivenhoe are a popular Essex crew who sing an entertaining mix of traditional shanties and maritime folk songs with lively musical accompaniment. They combine a love of shantying with fundraising for good causes

Spinnaker Shanty

From the Naval town of Portsmouth, Spinnaker Shanty sing traditional and original sea songs and shanties with harmony and humour. They are rapidly making a name for themselves around the Festival circuit.

Black Deep

Surely that’s the Naze Shanty Crew I hear you cry! But no, rising Phoenix like, from the ashes of a global pandemic, the Naze Shanty Crew with a slimmed down line up and no longer any connections to the town of Walton-on-the-Naze, have regrouped as The Black Deep. Shanties and sea songs are still very much what they are about and the group will be singing at several maritime events and festivals this year. Harwich however remains their favourite.


Friggitt are a shanty trio from Wiltshire who perform all sorts of songs connected with the sea and sailors. As well as traditional and contemporary songs they also perform some original compositions written by the band members and others. They sing both acapella and accompanied by guitar, ukulele, bass and harmonica.

Freddie’s Barnet

Freddie’s Barnet are an energetic and amusing folk duet performing old and new songs, from traditional sea shanties to singalong classics and occasionally one or two of their own compositions. Individually they have been singing and performing for over fifteen years, as a duo for over four. In that short time they have performed at many clubs, pubs and festivals throughout the UK.

Fire & Ice

One of the outcomes of the Board of Trade report into the sinking of the Titanic was the formation of six schools teaching Navigation and Seamanship to pupils from the age of eleven. One of these schools was the London Nautical School. Dave, Andy, John, Tony, Del and Stephen were all students at this school. Several went to sea after leaving school and some have crewed together on the tall ships Sorlandet and the Statsraad Lehmkuhl. The name Fire & Ice is taken from the Titanic disaster. Ice is obvious, Fire comes from a suggestion the ship had a bunker fire from the time she left England.  

Harwich Sing

Harwich Sing Tendring Voices is a community choir all about the love of singing. They have groups for all ages and all abilities but love to come together and perform as one from time to time, kids, teens and adults! They sing all kinds of music but have found a lot of joy in learning shanties and sea songs and are excited to be part of this year’s Shanty festival! 

Dovercourt Ukulele Group

Ukuleles, originally from Portugal, are now associated mainly with Hawaii where they were introduced by Portuguese sailors and immigrants.
Now very popular in the U.K., the Dovercourt Ukulele Club has been going since the noughties, and play a variety of songs of many genres. Shanties are a new venture for them and they are excited to be included in the Harwich International Shanty Festival 2022.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Telegraph Community Choir

Another London based group, Telegraph Community Choir will be visiting us for the second time this year. They recently celebrated their tenth anniversary and perform a wide range of singing styles. At HISF they will be concentrating on their Sea Shanty set.

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.

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.

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.


Roger and Liz return to the festival with lively interpretations of maritime songs, often accompanied by accordion or whistle. They will also be running the very popular “Learn to Sing in Public” workshop, encouraging new singers to take that plunge!

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 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 instruments and jig dolls. Their aim is to always have a lively, friendly fun time.