Bristol has announced the news that its very first sea shanty festival will take place this weekend, with ten shanty crews due to perform on outdoor stages on the city's harbourside.


Crews will perform in Brunel Square beside the iconic SS Great Britain; on The Matthew, a modern reconstruction of the original Matthew that sailed to Newfoundland in 1497; in Underfall Yard, a historic boatyard on Spike Island; and within the grounds of the SS Great Britain itself.

The festival has been organised in conjunction with the Docks Heritage Weekend as the brainchild of shanty group High & Dry. They'll be appearing this weekend alongside local bands including The Severn Whalers, The Barnacle Buoys, The Harry Browns and Back Beach Boyz.

It comes after Bristol based shanty group The Longest Johns were signed to Decca Records after the viral TikTok sea shanty trend and the success of their performances of shanties aboard the SS Great Britain.

We've picked out the best sea shanties of all time here.

Want to learn more about sea shanties? We explain here what a sea shanty is and what the different types of sea shanty are.

The full schedule for the Bristol Sea Shanty Festival:

Brunel Square

12pm: High & Dry
12.45pm: The Navy Larks
1.30pm: The Barnacle Buoys
2.15pm: The Harry Browns
3pm: Storm Force 10
3.45pm: The Severn Whalers
4.30pm: The Roaring Trowmen
5.15pm: Barretts Privateers

Underfall Yard

12pm: The Harry Browns
12.45pm: Back Beach Boyz
1.30pm: The Roaring Trowmen
2.15pm: The Severn Whalers
3pm: High & Dry
3.45pm: The Navy Larks
4.30pm: Storm Force 10
5.15pm: The Rusty Tubs

SS Great Britain

12pm: Batten Down the Hatches
12.45pm: The Severn Whalers
1.30pm: Barretts Privateers
2.15pm: Batten Down the Hatches
3pm: Barnacle Buoys
3.30pm: The Rusty Tubs
4pm: The Steepholmers
4.45pm: The Navy Larks
5.15pm: Bach Beach Boyz

The Matthew

12pm: The Steepholmers
12.45pm: Bristol Shanty Chorus
1.30pm: The Navy Larks
2.15pm: Back Beach Boyz
3pm: The Roaring Trowmen
3.30pm: Batten Down the Hatches

The Bristol Sea Shanty Festival will take place from midday to 6pm on Sunday 10 October.


Find sea shanty lyrics here.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.