Hoy Shanty Crew

The Hoy Shanty Crew have been entertaining appreciative audiences around the UK for many years and are known for their rousing and raw interpretations of traditional sea shanties and drinking songs. Their extensive repertoire also includes a number of local songs written by founder member Jack Forbes, best known for penning “Rolling Down the River”. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Exmouth Shanty Men

Devon’s “original buoy band”, The Exmouth Shanty Men, formed in 2007 to breathe new life into the maritime heritage of their home port, but have since found themselves in ports across Northern Europe, including Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Poland. They have appeared on national television and radio in the UK and in Europe, but can still be found with a song and a pint most Tuesdays in a pub overlooking Exmouth dock.

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:



Portsmouth Shanty Men

From another premier maritime town, Portsmouth Shanty Men have been singing together since the 1970s, although the line up has changed over the years. Much respected for their harmonies and arrangements the group have been in constant demand for the last 40 years, singing shanties and sea songs and flying the flag for Britain’s proud maritime heritage. We are extremely pleased to welcome them back to Harwich after a gap of a few years.

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.

Dominic Dowsey-Magog

Dom was well known on the Shanty scene throughout the U.K. and abroad, both as a solo artist and as a member of The Shanty Crew. He joined us in 2017 as a solo artist when his encyclopaedic knowledge of the sea, shanties and his powerful voice made him a welcome addition to the festival.

Dom passed away in April 2018 and will be sorely missed.


Patrick Denain and Miguel Biard

Patrick & Miguel

No one in Harwich has stopped talking about Patrick and Miguel since they performed here several years ago. And so for 2017 we are delighted that they are able to visit us again. Hailing from Fécamp in Normandy, Patrick and Miguel perform with a symbiosis which can be felt as well as heard. Both superb singers in their own right, their voices compliment each other’s so completely and make for a magical performance.

Tom Lewis

A charismatic and popular singer and musician, Tom has written a number of sea songs and shanties that many erroneously believe to be traditional. In addition to his own material, Tom draws on his naval experience to provide authenticity when singing traditional sea songs. His strong performances engage audiences with the spirit of the sea.


Trim Rig & A Doxy

TrimRigTrim Rig and a Doxy have been performing together at Folk and Shanty Festivals for 15 years or more and this will be their 3rd appearance at Harwich Shanty Festival.

Julia’s distinctive melodeon style and Derek’s harmonious singing voice blend together to form a unique delivery with a warm and sometimes humorous slant. A popular duo, make sure you catch them over the festival weekend.

Kate Worsley

She Rises

Kate Worsley is a local author whose first novel was published earlier this year. The action in the novel is centred around the old town of Harwich and together with Matthew Crampton, Chris Hayes, Jan North, Jenny Thompson and Sarah Madden, Kate will be presenting a highly original show featuring readings from the book, shanties and songs of the sea

Roy Mette

Roy Mette

Featuring original songs about the Golden Age of Piracy Roy Mette and Triangle are collectively known as ‘Captain Morgan’s Rum Do’.  Their songs feature murder, death, plunder and rum in tales of pirates such as Blackbeard, Black Bart, Anne Bonney and Calico Jack Rackham.  This performance will also include songs from the new album ‘Thames, Sails and Scallywags Tales’ concerning life in medieval London and introducing another  range of scurvy, lice ridden characters.

Hold on to you rowlocks!  This is a musical journey from which few return.

Karen and Colin Cater

Karen & Colin Cater

 Also known as principals of the visual arts company, Hedingham Fair, Karen and Colin make a rare musical appearance at Harwich this year. As well as being one of the Folk world’s best artists and designers, Karen is a sweet singer, mean banjo frailer and crisp percussionist. Colin is known for his Melodeon and Anglo Concertina playing, but what is less well known is that he has written several folk songs, which many have assumed are traditional songs.



Crossjack are from Oldenburg in Germany and pride themselves on singing Shanties in the traditional manner as close as possible to the way they would have been sung on board ship. Their authentic renditions are therefore sung acapella in appropriate rythym.

Hard Pressed

Hard Pressed

In the 18 months since their formation Hard Pressed has guested at Folk Clubs across the South East of England and started to make their mark in the International Maritime Festival scene – e.g. Shanty UK’s Easter Festival.  They perform sea songs, shanties, more reflective or humorous songs, both from the tradition and contemporary sources, specialising in songs from the local area and America.

Hard Pressed is:  Derek Seed, vocals, Liz Randall, vocals, accordion, whistle and concertina, Roger Resch, vocals and accordion.

Nelson’s Shantymen

Based at Burnham Thorpe, birthplace of Lord Nelson, theirs was an obvious choice of name. A diverse group of enthusiasts, they are united by their love of singing and desire to keep the shanty singing tradition alive. Singing mainly acapella in harmony, but with occasional musical accompaniement, Nelson’s Shantymen have been delighting audiences in their home county of Norfolk and further afield.

Shadows in the Shade

Jed Stone and Des Tighe are well known around the folk scene in their Suffolk homeland, but have also travelled extensively to venues around the British Isles and further abroad. They were the founder members of XXLsior, a shanty crew put together to support the sail training trawler Excelsior and have previously sung with a variety of other groups. They are regular and popular supporters of the festival. 

Hooks and Crookes


Hooks and Crookes were formed in 2004 to celebrate the Tall Ships Race coming to their home town of Waterford in July 2005. They had so much fun back then that they just kept going and have now appeared at festivals, Maritime and otherwise throughout Ireland, the U.K. and Europe. Their name derives from the old Cromwellian saying “by hook or by crooke” and refers to the two headlands at the entrance to Waterford Harbour. Hook Head Lighthouse dominates the Wexford shore, whilst further upstream Crooke Lighthouse lies on the Waterford Shore.

La Bouline


Back by popular demand, this talented and entertaining group of singers and musicians made an enormous impression when they visited our festival two years ago. La Bouline are based in the Loire region of France, for centuries an important trade route to the sea. Sailors from that region plyed their trade in traditional square rigged boats by day and sung of their exploits at night. So the heritage of the Loire valley is combined with the maritime heritage of the 3 Breton members of the band to produce a unique mixture of traditional and self penned songs.

Nine Tenths Below


Formed just two years ago, this group already have an impressive list of performances and a C.D. to boot. Adopted almost immediately by the Titanic Brewery of Stoke on Trent, Nine Tenths Below sing “Songs of Ale and Sail”. We are delighted to welcome them to Harwich this year.

Paul Sirman

Paul Sirman

With a wide repertoire of songs, Paul is always one of our most popular performers at Harwich. He has toured extensively on both the maritime and folk scene and is an accomplished singer and guitar player, singing both traditional and self penned songs.