Save Mersey Shanty Festival


The Mersey Shanty Festival is under threat from local councillors and an arts establishment that doesn’t think sea songs are a worthwhile contribution to culture. I’ve no doubt it’s all part of the widespread but patronising and stupid line of thinking we have in England that says that culture is only worth having if it’s either posh or foreign. It’s a view that has led to many aspects of working people’s lives in this country being lost to history, including two things of particular importance to me: the evolution of the small boats of the British Isles and our songs, dances and music.

Ask yourselves, councillors and everyone else: would the Americans, French, Germans, Italians, Greeks or Russians treat their indigenous culture this way? Or the Scots, Welsh or Irish?

If you go to the Mersey Shanty Festival campaign blog below, you’ll notice that our singing friend Keith Kendrick has quoted as evidence that there continues to be huge interest in our maritime culture, and that it comes from all quarters and age groups. He’s absolutely right.

Save the shanty festival:

While we’re thinking about singing, here’s a song from me, just to lend a little colour to the argument. I first heard it sung by Chris Coe many years ago, but only learned it recently from a recording of Percy Webb, of Woodbridge:

The Faithful Sailor Boy

Songs like this touch the heart even today, particularly when sung in an intimate setting. Isn’t it obvious that they’re an important part of our culture and history, and should be celebrated?

Get your sea songs here in the form of books and CDs from Amazon: I’d recommend the two British CDs, and anything written by the great Stan Hugill.

Sea songs at the A-store

6 thoughts on “Save Mersey Shanty Festival”

  1. Keel haul the councillors (Ive no time for the kind of people who think it's cool to be a councillor). Then give those arty types a taste of the cat 'o nine tails. By thunder, then you'll get your support.

    Are there any sea shanties to sing along to the screams of the victims and the squelchy slaps of the thongs biting into flesh?

    Aahaa me hearties.


  2. Much thanks to In The Boatshed – great blog – and posters for the support.

    My Italian friend from the group La Moresca Antica tells me they have a saying "il tempo è galantuomo" which means time will bring you justice. Let's hope.


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