Your chance to enjoy a shanty or two

Torbay Weekly

An event aimed at keeping maritime traditions alive is about to take place in South Devon.

The Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival is a free festival held over the weekend of September 4 and 5 in various venues across the towns of Shaldon and Teignmouth, either side of the Teign Estuary.

Featured as one of the six best places to hear sea shanties in Devon and Cornwall, this festival will host 44 sets of musical performers and around 20 maritime events and it is set to be the largest of its kind in the country this year.

Organisers are hoping to raise lots of money for local charities, including Rowcroft Hospice and the RNLI.

As part of the maritime theme, the Johanna Lucretia, a 96ft, two-masted topsail schooner, will arrive on Friday afternoon and will be moored in Teignmouth harbour over the whole weekend. A large flotilla will welcome her in, filmed by drone.

On the ship will be 12 lucky people who have purchased berths and will help sail her to from Plymouth to Teignmouth in the preceding week, plus another 12 lucky people to make the return journey after the festival. Festival visitors will be able to board the ship to look around.

Shanties have now gone mainstream, with shanty crews singing at the recent G7 conference and the huge hit by the Scottish postman Nathan Evans, singing "The Wellerman".

Sea shanties are songs, set to a rhythm for working that helped to reduce the monotony of undertaking repetitive tasks aboard a ship. Shanties were also Foc’sle songs, which were storytelling verses to be listened to at leisure, to remind sailors of home and over the years have kept alive traditions and recorded local events and people.

This year, there will be talks and exhibitions on such things as whaling, shipwrecks, scrimshaw, rope making, knotting, story telling, seaweed harvesting and wooden ship figurehead carving – as well as Heritage crafts such as Crab / Lobster pot making and Cockle fishing sieves. There is also t talk by local character Barry Sessions of the Teign Shellfish Company.

The events will be held in spacious, centrally located venues away from the hustle and bustle. Weather permitting, the River Teign Rowing Club will also be providing ‘taster’ pilot gig rowing sessions at appropriate tide times.

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