The Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival takes place in June each year and is the biggest sea shanty festival in the whole of Europe. Best of all; it's mostly free to attend!
The Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival was founded in 2003, created to celebrate the history of Cornish fishing and to help raise money for Falmouth RNLI (don't forget to bring some cash for the charity buckets!)
Throughout the weekend you can see many live music performances by various Sea Shanty choir groups taking place on pop up stages, in pubs and bars and in Falmouth's outdoor event areas.
Photo Credit @pennycomequick via instagram
Just a few of many great acts over the three day festival:
Sloop Groggy Dogs
Church Street Stage
|The Greenbank Stage|
|Saturday 5:30||The Oggeymen||
The Seven Stars
Cape Cornwall Singers
The Jolly Strumpets
The Black Deep Shanty Crew
|The Boat House|
The HogEye Men
The official opening of the event kicks off at 6:30pm on Friday 17th June in Events Square. You can purchase tickets for the Gala Concert at Princess Pavilion on Saturday night. Live music, food and drink stalls will be open until approximately 5pm on Sunday.
For sailing fans, you can also watch the Falmouth Classics - enjoyable racing and a spectacular Parade of Classic Boats and the Small Classic Boat Parade. Since it began, in 1987, Falmouth Classics has steadily grown to be one of the largest Classic sailing events in the UK. There are many vantage points for spectators to view the events like Pendennis Point or hop over the water to St Antony's head.
What is a Sea Shanty?
Sea shanties originated from sailors around the 16th Century to keep them entertained during long sea voyages. They sang at a beat to accompany the rhythmical labor aboard large merchant sailing vessels. Part of the Sea Shanty Festival is to keep this tradition alive and celebrate the ocean and times of old. The Sea Shanty choir groups are usually made up of predominately male voices who harmonise and sing catchy, upbeat and (sometimes) humorous songs.
Fisherman's Friends Sea Shanty choir became a household name after they were discovered in Port Isaac by a London record label employee whilst visiting Cornwall on their holidays in 2010. They went on to record multiple successful albums and a film appropriately titled 'Fishermen's Friends' was made about them. This really threw sea shanties into the limelight!
Sea Shanty's were recently popularised among younger generations more recently and were trending on social platforms such as Tiktok. In 2021 Nathan Evans, a postman from Scotland, rocketed to fame on social media for recording himself singing a 19th century Sea Shanty titled 'Wellerman', he even reached number 1 in the UK singles charts!
The lyrics are easy to pick up and we can guarantee you'll be singing and swaying along after not too long. Some favourite tunes include 'Bound For South Australia', 'Blow The Man Down' and 'Leave Her Johnny'. Some of our favourites...
The Drunken Sailor
Fishy On A Dishy