El Pony Pisador

El Pony Pisador describe themselves as a cross between JRR Tolkein’s world and Monty Python! Humorous, quirky, entertaining and hugely talented, this captivating group have in the last few years catapulted themselves onto the folk/shanty scene and into our hearts. This will be their third visit to HISF and we can’t wait to welcome them back.

Rogue Shanty Buoys

The Rogue Shanty Buoys were described by fRoots magazine as “Guardians of the old songs, delivered with captivating authority.” The group have an unmistakably bold sound and an emphasis on strong vocals, tight harmonies and unfussy arrangements, giving fun and energetic performances with a fresh and dynamic approach to folk music that has seen them described as “A slightly salty Mumford & Sons”.

Les Brouilleurs d’Ecoutes

From La Rochelle in France, Les Brouilleurs d’Ecoutes 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’Ecoutes made a huge impression on their first visit to Harwich and we are pleased to welcome them back.

Steve Turner

Steve Turner can boast a long list of accolades from the folk world including “majestic, brilliant, sheer genius and foremost concertina player of his generation”. We are delighted that Steve has a maritime set amongst his repertoire which he will be entertaining us with over the shanty festival weekend. Don’t miss him!

Silver Darlings

Since they first cast off in 2017, the Silver Darlings, an all-female crew from Southend on Sea, have been making waves both nationwide and internationally.  With their beautiful harmonies, interweaving traditional shanties and other songs of the sea, the Darlings really bring the shanty party and absolutely encourage audience participation.

Spinnaker Shanty

Spinnaker Shanty was initially formed to help out at an event on board The Victory in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. From that day the group has continued to perform at many events. They enjoy singing shanties and sea songs to all kinds of audiences, from folk clubs to shanty festivals and have a regular monthly spot at the 4 Ale Taproom in Gosport. All four members of the group have many years of singing experience brought together to form Spinnaker.

Short Drag Roger

Now in their 20th year, Short Drag Roger continue to bring shanties and sea songs to the landlocked people of Oxfordshire and further afield. They have performed at shanty and folk festivals all over the UK and Europe as well as pubs, theatres, village shows and other venues closer to home. Their performances are a mix of traditional shanties, modern sea songs and self-penned numbers. www.shortdragroger.co.uk

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.


Columbines are an all-female trio who have played extensively within the East Anglian folk scene for the past few years.They are known for their striking use of close harmony singing and their own arrangements of traditional folk songs, shanties and sea songs which are performed a cappella or accompanied on instruments including guitar, Irish bouzouki, cello and concertina.

The Jack Tars

The Jack Tars are an energetic Yorkshire-based Shanty band specialising in traditional seafaring songs and British/Irish folk staples. The Tars are ready to transport audiences back in time to the ale-soaked taverns of old. You can expect rousing vocal harmonies, crisp fiddle lines and a foot-stompingly good time with The Jack Tars at the helm!

Black Deep Shanty Crew

Named after one of the deep sea channels off the coast of Harwich, Black Deep have been singing together with their present line-up since 2021. But all five members boast years of singing and musical experience which they now bring together to celebrate shanties and songs of the sea – and their home town of Harwich

Swinging The Lead

Swinging the Lead began singing together in 2010 and are based on the banks of the River Thames at Gravesend. They have been the resident Shanty Crew on the famous ‘Cutty Sark’ since 2011. With regular appearances at many shanty festivals, Simon, Joe, Andy, Pete, Dave and TC have cemented their reputation and place in the worldwide sea shanty community. Their musical offering ranges from unaccompanied traditional shanties through to self-penned contemporary sea songs. www.swingingthelead.com

Shantycrew Buitenboord

From Zwolle in the Netherlands, Shantycrew Buitenboord have been singing together for over 20 years. They perform a capella shanties and drinking songs at Festivals, pubs, ships and marinas both here and in their home country.

Hans Weehuizen

Hans is a familiar face at HISF and indeed at many other festivals in the UK and further afield. 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.

Forebitter Crew

From Leeuwarden in the Netherlands the crew have been singing together as a mixed crew for the last two years, singing both at home and abroad. They perform a mixture of Shanties, Sea songs and Maritime songs and also organise an International Shanty Café in their home town every year. This will be their second visit to HISF and they are looking forward to meeting many of their Shanty friends and making new ones.


Hailing from Wivenhoe in Essex, The Hoolies are much in demand for their entertaining mix of traditional shanties and songs of the sea with lively musical accompaniment. They combine a love of shantying with support for community events and good causes.

Hoy Boy

From just down the Essex coast and also singing with the crew of the same name, Hoy Boy (Peter Purnell) is a young(‘ish) enthusiastic a capella 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.

Hog Eye Men

London based, the Hog Eye Men sing at events in the capital and beyond. They host a monthly sea song and shanty session in central London and are a resident shanty crew aboard the Cutty Sark. The Hog Eye Men have a vast repertoire of traditional shanties and other songs of the sea. They are keen to keep these great songs alive, singing them as they used to be sung: simply, boldly and loudly.

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.


The Snotteldogs 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!

Shotley Wailers

Shotley Wailers are a mixed, locally inspired shanty singing group accompanied by guitar, harmonica, melodeon and percussion. They sing out to Shotley, Felixstowe and Harwich Harbour every Monday night at the Bristol Arms within ear shot of what was once the home of HMS Ganges. The Shotley Wailers motto is ‘Give It A Try, We Did And We Love It’. Enjoy their performance.

Shötley Crüe

Shötley Crüe are a 7 piece pocket choir who with their own unique arrangements, have been singing shanties and songs about the sea since 2014. Never more than 70 miles from the sea, they are Dulwich Folk Club’s resident folk group.

London Sea Shanty Collective

A mixed community choir based in Hackney, the London Collective love singing together, keeping shanties and songs of the sea alive and hauling. Most of their material is arranged, sometimes with a contemporary twist, by their own members. They sing on ships and barges, at festivals, in National museums, to lifeboat crews and even Naval chiefs. They are greatly looking forward to their third visit to HISF.

Harwich Sing

Harwich Sing Tendring Voices is a community choir all about the love of singing. They have groups for all ages and 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.


ShantyFolk are a landlocked a capella shanty crew based in the Sudbury area of South Suffolk, who love singing shanties but also like to weave in the occasional folk song, when nobody is looking. Performing to local clubs and organisations, audiences enjoy the fascinating stories behind the songs of the sea, and also the blend of voices and harmonies, which benefit from their past life as members of a mixed choir.

Salty Groyne

Having made their debut last year, Suffolk based duo Craig & Phil are delighted to be returning to Harwich in 2023. They sing in harmony a variety of familiar and lesser known shanties and maritime songs, often accompanied by guitar, ukulele and banjolele! They took their name from a Felixstowe beach hut!

Salt Water & Beer

Salt Water and Beer were formed in 1995, and have been singing together ever since in the Maldon area and surrounds, even venturing as far afield as Harwich! As well as traditional shanties, they sing anything from Bruce Springsteen to barber-shop or music hall, and hope to carry on singing for another 28 years.

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.

2 Bitts

Pete Stockwell and Dave Ellis, one time Double Trouble and Forebitter (for people with good memories) have reformed as 2 Bitts. If it’s vaguely damp they’ll sing and play it!

Pot Of Gold

Pot of Gold has spent the last year performing in their home of East Anglia, Cornwall’s Port Isaac Shanty Festival and the Cutty Sark Shanty Festival, London.  Expect inclusive, laid back, entertaining sessions, full of great harmonies, humour, musicianship and audience participation.  For more information and future gig dates visit www.potofgoldshantycrew.co.uk

Nelson’s Shantymen

Based in the Burnhams, birthplace of Admiral 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 their performance.

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.

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


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.

Chris Roche

Chris has been singing shanties virtually all his adult life and was a founder member of The Shanty Crew, back in the days when shanties were very much a niche interest. A long time friend of Stan Hugill, Chris will be presenting a workshop about that father of shantying, his ships, his paintings, his books and his shanty singing in addition to singing shanties himself.

Fire & Ice (1915)

Dave, Andy, John, Tony, and Stephen were all students at the London Nautical School. Several went to sea after leaving school and some have recently crewed together on the tall ships Sorlandet and the Statsraad Lehmkuhl. And if there are any ex LNS in the audience, raise your voice and sing along.

The LNS was created as part of the BOT report’s recommendations into the sinking of the Titanic. As for the name – Ice is obvious, but Fire comes from a suggestion that there was a bunker fire in one of the coal holds from the time the Titanic left England. 1915 is the year the school came into existence (not the band).

Ken Stephens

An accomplished concertina player, Ken sings sometimes solo and sometimes alongside Hans during the festival programme. He is the author of many well known modern sea songs, tunes and shanties which have been absorbed into the tradition. This year he will be running a workshop on songwriting.

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.

Felix Stowaways

This fine group of shanty singers from just over the water in Suffolk have been making a name for themselves for several years now, attending clubs and festivals and holding their own “Shanty Café” annually in their home town. This will be their 8th appearance at HISF and we welcome them back

Goldhanger Shanty Crew

Based unsurprisingly in the Blackwater estuary village of Goldhanger, the Goldhanger Shanty Crew evolved out of the local choir following a sea-themed concert in 2017 and have been rantin’ an’ roarin’ in the Chequers Pub ever since. This will be their second appearance at Harwich.

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

Dovercourt Ukulele Group

This popular local group have been playing together since the noughties with an ever expanding repertoire and band of members. This will be their second appearance at the Festival with a selection of up beat shanties and sea songs.