Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival takes place every year in the middle of June with the aim of raising money for the RNLI and promoting the maritime history of the area.
It was founded in 2013 by Falmouth Shout, a group of singers whose mission is to keep alive the history of Tall Ships and the days of sail by performing sea shanties, songs of the sea and songs from Cornwall. It takes place at the same time as the Falmouth Classic Regatta, beautiful old sailing boats and Sea Shanties coming together to produce a remarkable event which grows bigger every year.
Shanty groups come from far and wide including the Netherlands, USA, France and all across the UK – this year there were 64 groups singing in multiple venues around the town. It is remarkable to stroll around the streets and hear music pouring out from various pubs and cafes, on the street itself and on 3 main stages at Discovery Quay, Customs House Quay and The Moor.
The organisation is brilliant and you can buy programmes from shops and stalls around the town on the day or download a shortened version from https://www.falmouthseashanty.co.uk/ where you can view the venues on a brilliant interactive map and learn about the groups.
There is street food and drink galore, with many of the shops taking goods outside to sell on the street, so a real festival atmosphere with many people wearing seafaring costumes and tricorn hats and catering for all ages, with seats alongside the main stages for a rest if it all gets too much!
The festival lasts for 3 days starting on a Friday lunchtime about 1pm and going on until 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights (official time but I know many groups are still singing in the wee small hours!) and finishing on Sunday lunchtime. There is no entry charge but much bucket rattling goes on to ask you to support the RNLI with donations.
It has grown to be one of the biggest maritime music concerts anywhere in Europe and the bands give their time for free, it seems that they all just love to be here at the festival, raising money for the RNLI. Next years’ dates are already in place, 22-24th June 2018 and if you are planning a summer visit to Cornwall, keep it in mind, only 45 minutes from Bosinver.