And so towards the end of June the crew made its way down to darkest Cornwall. We adventured across rivers and along the A39, to the bustling port of Falmouth to join other shanty groups at the 2018 Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival.
This was our first invitation to such a prestigious event. Sixty groups, twenty-three venues and over 360 gigs, spread over three days (22-24 June), made this a truly major event. How would we perform? Could we last out the three days? How would we compare to other groups? And where could we get the beer and pasty tokens?
Initially down for seven gigs, we ended up with an extra one at the very opening of the event on the Seasalt Stage on Customs House Quay;
The Games Room: Aaaargh!
Crowd at the Seasalt stage
On the Parade
The crew gathering for the Parade
A good opener with a large crowd sitting in the open air. The perfect weather continued throughout the weekend.
Friday evening saw us at The Seven Stars - The Moor. An excellent venue with an enthusiastic, crowd that grew through the performance.
The same cannot be said for our next venues - two sessions at The Games Room. Small and noisy. Congratulations to The Bosun for his amazing success in deflecting disruption from a drunken group. And thank goodness our faithful band of followers was there.
Saturday was a busy day with three gigs. The first was at The Stable, again on Custom House Quay. Little space and most of the audience preferred to be outside listening to the Seasalt Stage. Then back to The Games Room; Aaaargh! The last gig of the day was at the Pennycomequick pub. Another really good venue with an appreciative crowd.
Sunday morning started with the Grand Parade.
We were then in the High Street at Roly's Fudge. Where Jon created an impromptu advertising jingle in praise of Roly's Fudge. "Roly's Fudge, it ain't sludge"! Jon, don't call us, and we won't call you.
Our last gig was at the Prince of Wales - during the England vs Panama match! This was a really relaxed and informal gig. A muted TV and the landlady had sent all the football fans away by taxi to other pubs. What a wonderful gesture. So we were listened to, albeit most people were watching a silent screen. Sudden cheers when England scored were a bit off putting, but all in a good cause.
And finally the grand finale on the main stage. Fishermens Friends and Kimbers Men lead the mass singing. A huge crowd present. And we got to go on stage for an all hands sing. Though some of us seemed to find it all rather overwhelming. Last of all, a crew dinner rounded off a great weekend.
A massive crowd
For some it's all just too much
Dinner for the crew and faithful supporters
We all had a great time. We sang well and compared very favourably with many of the groups performing. And our throats just about lasted the course.
So roll on for next year! June 14-16