Sea Shanties and Scones

Three whole days of non-stop singing have finally come to an end. As a walrus, I am impeded somewhat by my tusks, however that did not stop me joining in the fun in Falmouth this weekend. My favourite group, The Oggymen sang on Sunday whilst I enjoyed a well-earned sit down in Event’s Square with good friends and a cold drink or two. Saturday was even better, the sun shone whilst we wandered through the marquee and past a stall selling mountains of scones to raise money for the RNLI.

The whole square seemed to be having freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream washed down with beer for lunch. I was reassured to see the cream sitting proudly on top of the scones in the finest Cornish tradition. As reported by The Falmouth Packet below, the festival was a great success and remains an important part of life in the town since it began back in 2003.

Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival 2019

A record number of people flocked to this year’s Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival, organisers have said. An estimated 65,000 visitors descended on the town between Friday and Sunday to enjoy more than 350 hours of free entertainment from 66 groups across 25 venues, including the new fourth main stage at Prince of Wales Pier. 

The new Falmouth Packet Stage was well received as an ‘excellent addition’ to the other three main stages – The Seven Stars Stage on The Moor, the Skinner’s Brewery Stage on Events Square and Seasalt Cornwall Stage on Custom House Quay – organisers said. 

Betty Stogs single-handedly raised £5,610 for the festival and RNLI, with still more to be counted. Festival-goers were encouraged to submit their guesses for how many calories Betty would burn over the course of the weekend with the ‘Betty On The Burn’ competition. The competition closed at 4pm on Sunday, when it was announced that the Cornish maid had burned a staggering 11,206 calories while sashaying through the streets of Falmouth. 

This year’s festival was absolutely incredible. The vast number of groups and venues meant that the festival atmosphere was able to be felt across the whole town. The smooth running of this event takes almost a year of detailed planning, communication and hard work. I would like to personally thank everyone involved in the running of the festival, in particular the festival committee, who do an outstanding job year after year. I would also like to thank the festival-goers for their continued support and generosity, we will know the exact amount raised for the RNLI in the coming months. 

Richard Gates, Town Manager and Festival Chairman.

The annual Betty Stogs Competition saw Nordet crowned as the winning group, raising £182 per head. They were closely followed by Pirates of St Piran, raising £115 per head. The festival committee thanked each and every person who donated, collected and helped to raise money to save lives at sea. 

Organisers also thanked the festival’s title sponsors, Skinner’s Brewery and Seasalt Cornwall, as well as all of the other sponsors and advertisers for their support. They also thanked all of the volunteers and committee members for giving up their time and energy. 

We are delighted that this year’s festival went so well, with visitors from all over Europe joining us in shanty singing and merriment! We’d like to say a special thank you to the festival committee, including our co-sponsors Skinner’s Brewery, for all their hard work in organising yet another brilliant weekend. Here’s to 2020!

Neil Chadwick, Seasalt Founder.

Wow, this was undoubtedly our busiest year yet! Thank you to all the amazing venues and shanty groups that make this festival so great. I’d like to make a special mention to all the people behind the scenes and our amazing brewery staff – this is our top festival of the year and we all pitch-in to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible. Bring on 2020!

Steve Skinner, Founder of Skinner’s Brewery.

This year the festival committee, in partnership with Seasalt Cornwall and Skinner’s Brewery, provided 5,000 reusable festival cups, which sold out by the end of day two. Some venues also provided their own reusable cups to use across the festival.

The dates for the next two years have already been confirmed, so shanty lovers can start planning their next visit. The 2020 festival will be from June 12 to 14 and in 2021 it will be held from June 11 to 13. 

Chilli has different musical tastes…

Even if shanties are not quite your cup of tea, I think it is always great to see live performances and enjoy listening freely, wandering around the town to see the different groups. Even the buskers were out in force, with tin whistles, flutes and hurdy-gurdies. I was tempted to have a go at busking but having no sense of rhythm, sadly is a bit of a hurdle. Chilli doesn’t understand this at all but then his favourite pastime at the moment is listening to the sound of twin Mercury Racing staggered 1350 QC4v engines with Dry Sump M8 Drive on YouTube. He still enjoyed his beer and scone.

We are grateful to Steve Smith of The Falmouth Packet for his original article, extended by Bentley.

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