Shortlist symbol Add to shortlist button.

Folk music and shanty songs at the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Shanty and folk music is performed throughout the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival on three stages as the town celebrates its proud maritime past and maritime future. Shantry songs were traditionally sung by sailors as they raised the mainsheet and set sail on their long journeys at sea.

The musical programme is managed by Great Yarmouth based Sue and John Griffiths who have been performing as shanty singers, The Mollyhawks, since the late 1990s.

Pick up a souvenir guide on your way into the Maritime Festival for just £1 with a programme of events for each of the three stages and make sure you don't miss your favourite band. Here's what we have so far for 2017, watch this space for more acts coming soon.

El Pony Pisador

El Pony Pisador are our headline act this year and can be found on the main stage. This five-strong Spanish folk group, El Pony Pisador, roughly translated as The Prancing Pony, took last years Maritime Festival by storm! They are all set to entertain with rhythms and melodies from traditional Irish tunes, to sea shanties, havaneres, tuvan throat singing, tarantellas and yodelling from around the world.

This great young band from Barcelona includes Adrià Vila, Guillem Codern, Miquel Pérez, Martí Selga and Ramon Anglad. Many of the songs they will perform are featured on their recently released debut album, Yarr’s i Trons!

Kimber's Men

Kimber's Men wow the audience with their wonderful harmonies and renditions of traditional, contemporary and self-penned songs of the sea and have appeared at most major UK maritime festivals and on BBC4's successful series "Sea Songs". We are delighted to welcome them back for 2017.

The band includes Neil Kimber,John Bromley, Gareth Scott and Steve Smith. They all enjoy sailing tall ships including their favourite square rigger Stavros S Niarchos, teaching the 56 crew members to work the ship to traditional sea shanties.

Blakeney Old Wild Rovers

This north Norfolk based shanty and folk band formed in 1999 whose repertoire runs from traditional shanties and sea songs to original and humorous songs about our local area. The group have raised nearly £200,000 for a range of national and local charities. They perform a mix of traditional tunes to humorous local songs at festivals, events and one-off concerts as well as in pubs in north Norfolk.

The current Blakeney Old Wild Rovers line-up includes: Pip Banham, John Dunkerton, Peter Fisher, Phil Harrison, Tom Harrison, Gary Mears, Robbie Nash, Brin Siller, Barrie Slegg & Peter Thompson. Regular guest players include Ian Chandler & Anne Humphreys.


Great Yarmouth based shanty duo John and Sue Griffiths, who devise the festival music programme, also perform as the Mollyhawks duo.

They perform an acapella harmony to old and new shanties and songs of the sea.

A favourite song - but no guest appearance by Derek Ryan at the festival that we know of!

Maritime and shanty music on three stages at the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Waves of seafaring folk music will fill the salty air at Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival this September.

The major free two-day event, which is set to attract 30,000 people to the resort’s river port over the second weekend in September, is a showcase for the area’s nautical history - which includes links to Lord Nelson and being a key hub in the heydays of the herring industry.

Shanty songs were traditionally sung by sailors as they hauled up the sails as they set off to sea – but the timeless tunes remain popular today with their blend of lilting tunes and folksy words harking back to bygone days on the briny.

The music is an integral part of the festival, adding to the atmosphere at the quayside, as performers take to three stages alongside the array of historic and modern ships providing static displays and pleasure trips as the town showcases its maritime past, present and future.

Email eNewsletter

Join our e-news gang for information about what's on in Greater Yarmouth straight to your inbox!


Brochure request

Order your copy of our glossy Greater Yarmouth holiday & short-break brochure for 2017!


Greater Yarmouth App

iheartGY App

Download the all new iheartGY app for iPhone and Android - tourist information to hand all the time!

See more