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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. Shanty 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.

The Longest Johns

The Longest Johns

The Longest Johns are a Bristol based, a capella folk music band, born out of a mutual love of traditional folk songs and shanties. They rock maritime songs alongside the more unusual and less traditional folk tunes.

They've taken their harmonies to new heights whilst always retaining just the right mix of quality and hilarity. The Johns bring a new feel to audiences wherever they go.

London Sea Shanty Collective

London Sea Shanty Collective
The London Sea Shanty Collective is a community based choir who perform and enjoy sea shanties and songs of the sea and sailing, in order to celebrate and help preserve the ancient and living traditions of these songs.

Committed to social justice and equality, they write and adapt maritime songs to enable a contemporary relevance in a way that honours the rich history of the tradition. 

Sheringham Shantymen

Sheringham Shantymen

Formally launched in 1990, Sheringham Shantymen is a group of both serving and former lifeboat men who have developed their own unique style of performing, constantly refining songs and music to entertain the crowds whilst remaining true to their roots.

Last year, they welcomed some new younger members to the crew who will help develop new ideas for the future as well as making their 7th CD with a selection of their favourite songs. 

Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis

Touring to celebrate his impending 75th birthday, Tom Lewis reminiscences about his life including 24 years in the navy.

Tom is an Irish born Canadian solo act sings conemporary nautical songs delivered with a dash of wry humour and comes accompanied by his button accordian and ukulele.

She Shanties

She Shanties

She Shanties are a group of women, singing shanties!

After the successful launch of their second album, Futtock Shrouds the group are currenly on tour which includes visiting places such as Warwick Folk Festival, Allen Valleys Folk Festival and their first visit to Great Yarmouth.

The Sea Band

The Sea Band

Formed in 2017, The Sea Band is a rip-roaring new combo of well-established traditional singers and musicians based on the River Severn on the English/Welsh borders and the River Vilaine in Western Brittany.

Their long term love affair with the sea, and the songs and music of Europe's North Atlantic Seaboard create performances rich in musicianship, passion and humour.

Inner State

Inner State
A duo, Christine Bissell and Andy Andrews, who do music spots on stage ranging from skiffle to rock and roll - but are mainly a walkabout mini theatre company, with a "leaning towards historical and maritime related nonsense", who have been regulars at the Maritime Festival for many years.

Rogues Shanty Buoys

Rogues Shanty Chorus

A North Suffolk based collective of singers that celebrate the musical heritage of the East Anglian coast.

The band sing sea shanties and arias about the sea as well as whaling songs, naval songs, working songs, foc'sle songs and romantic old century tunes of ne'er-do-wells.


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 filled 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 as the town showcases its maritime past, present and future.

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