A few weeks ago I blogged about Cornwall’s history of communal singing, well recently that reached its pinnacle with the International Sea Shanty Festival, which was held in Falmouth, Cornwall.
Crowds descended on Falmouth over the course of the weekend to lend their ears to the many Shanty singers that were performing in venues and on streets throughout the town.
As well as Shanty singers, the sun made a dazzling appearance too, which cast the queen of Cornish Ale, Betty Stogs, in a beautiful light as she paraded around the crowds shaking her RNLI money box, helping to raise 3,000 pounds for the charity.
The town was quite literally bellowing with noise. On Sunday afternoon I walked up towards the point and while standing over the port I could hear the baritone voices of the shanty singers. I even heard reports of people hearing the singing on Castle Beach, a few miles away.
The shanties ranged from the historical to the hysterical in topic.
One particular shanty, commonly sung among the different groups, was about how losing body parts is part of being a pirate, and you can’t be a pirate if you’ve got all your parts.
The food served on vessels was widely sung about, particularly chicken on a raft.
Pirate’s lust for treasure and love of gold, the lure of the mermaid, and boys spending all their tin drinking gin with the lassies from Falmouth and Helston were all topics for the stories.
Although it was quite pub orientated there didn’t seem to be any drinking related trouble. It was very much a family friendly event. The highlight for me was sitting in the cobbled courtyard where Hand Bar and Cinnamon Café is on early Sunday afternoon listing to Falmouth Fish and 2 Anchored in the sunshine – it was joyous.
One problem can by spoken about though, and that is that the weekend simply passed too quickly.