Gallery: Thousands flock to Harwich Sea Shanty Festival for sing-a-longs and ditties

Centuries of seafaring traditions were celebrated at the annual Harwich Sea Shanty Festival over the weekend.

The event attracted bumper crowds with a packed programme of traditional sing-a-longs and ditties, military displays and performances.

Festival-goers enjoyed street theatre, roaming pirates, the King’s German Artillery and sea-relate demonstrations.

While entertainment was provided by artists who travelled from countries including Poland, Netherlands and France.

Artists included Stork Ejlaender, Tempus Experientia, London Lubbers, Inner State Theatre and Alan Whitbread.


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Organiser Pam Fitzgerald said: “We had thousands of people over the course of the weekend and all the events were sold out so it’s just gone brilliantly.

“The barge has gone out three times a day, we’ve had street theatre, a skirmish between pirates and the King’s German Artillery and lots of costumed characters walking around town.”

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Shanties were sung at The Globe Inn, Harwich Town Sailing Club, Ha’Penny Pier and the Redoubt Fort among other places.

The festival celebrates that history of Harwich being a Navy base for hundreds of years.

Sea shanties were traditionally sung at sea by sailors who used the rhythm of the song to keep them working in time together.

Mrs Fitzgerald added: “We’re now building up to next year as it will be our tenth anniversary so we’ll be pushing the boat out for that milestone.”

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