This year marks the 14th anniversary of Harwich International Shanty Festival. It has journeyed a long way since its small beginnings with a bunch of friends meeting up in a couple of pubs to drink good beer and sing good shanties, but we like to think that the initial idea of a cosy pub atmosphere, good friends and rousing shanties is still at the heart of all we do.
Nowadays the whole town of Old Harwich resounds to the sound of Shanties and Sea songs and in addition there are concerts, barge trips, street theatre, maritime crafts, pirates, a Shanty train and much more.
Here is a taster of what to expect in 2019:
Enjoy the Shanty Train, running backwards and forwards between Harwich Town and Manningtree Station; visit the wonderfully restored Redoubt Fort with displays and demonstrations of maritime crafts, Street Theatre, children’s entertainment, pirates and Napoleonic Re-enactment; attend one of the many workshops on offer; take an informative guided walk through the old town, attend one of our prestigious concerts or just snuggle up with a beer and a song at one of the many hospitable venues throughout the town.
This year we welcome shanty singers from France, Denmark, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands as well as from all over the U.K. There’s a full programme of events from mid-day Friday until midnight Sunday, many are free to attend.
There’s also a 90 minute trip on board a Thames Sailing Barge which features entertainment from our festival artists; this is always a highlight of the weekend. And in 2019 there will be two trips on the Friday of the Festival as well as on Saturday and Sunday.
Workshops and talks this year include Shanties for Beginners, Knot Tying, aspects of Harwich History and the always popular How to Play the Bones. Our popular Spoken Word Sessions where you are encouraged to bring along and share your maritime poems, stories and monologues take place on both Saturday and Sunday. There are always a series of small intimate concerts in addition to our big Saturday evening concert featuring all our top artists.