THE COUNTDOWN for the Harwich International Shanty Festival is finally on.

Artists from the Netherlands and all around the UK will take to the Harwich seaport for the 15th annual shanty event, which will take place between October 8 and 10.

Residents will be able to enjoy a number of family activities, including concerts, sing-a-round sessions, workshops, illustrated talks, and maritime crafts, many of which will be available for free.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Festival favourites - Motley Crew from BrightlingseaFestival favourites - Motley Crew from Brightlingsea

The main performers this year are renowned Kimber’s Men with their superb harmonies, and Shanty Jack, who is a shanty veteran for more than 30 years.

Act of Mutiny from Leiden in the Netherlands will also be thrilling audiences with their versatile repertoire and lively instrumental accompaniments while Sound Tradition will be singing in glorious four-part harmony.

Visitors will also be able to catch appearances from Capstan Full Strength, a six strong vocal harmony group who have sung songs of sea, sand and work since 1998.

The Redoubt Napoleonic Fort will be another spot for entertainment, where shanty singers will be offering a variety of performances.

The most excited fans will also be able to get a full shanty experience with two themed sea shanty trains running between Harwich and Manningtree.

Refreshments will be available at the Redoubt Fort from Curry Cart and there will be an artisan gin bar at East Coast Distillery.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Shanty fans can also catch an appearance from HMS Victory Shanty fans can also catch an appearance from HMS Victory

Pam Fitzgerald, one of the festival organisers, said:"We are both excited and nervous to be welcoming you all back to Uk's Premier Shanty Festival. 

"It would be an understatement to say that the past two years have been tremendously difficult for everyone in so many ways. 

"We can only hope that we can all begin to look forward with more confidence and that this Festival will go some way towards celebrating a return to a more settled life."

The event was cancelled last year due to COVID, but the 2021 programme will continue with the same Mayflower theme, which will celebrate 400 years since the voyage of the Harwich Mayflower ship to the New World.

Tickets and full programme on