Europe's biggest Sea Shanty Festival returns to Falmouth

The festival started in 2003

The award-winning Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival is back this weekend with a line up of more than 70 local, national and international singing groups.

The festival started in 2003 with a mission is to keep the history of the sea alive, and has grown to become the largest free maritime music festival in Europe.

The Festival runs From Friday 17th to Sunday 19th June across 25 venues in and around the town.

Festival Chairman Richard Gates said: "It's wonderful for this festival to be back, so many people have worked so hard, we did it virtually the last couple of years but they'll be thousands in the town.

"People are loving that it's back, linking up with the Falmouth classics it's brilliant".

Thousands of people are expected to venture to Falmouth for the first festival in three years.

Sea shanty groups will come together to perform on stages, in cafes, pubs, hotels, and community venues, with the aim of bringing the history, heritage and culture of maritime song to life.

French shanty singer Sylvian Rocher said: After three years of disease [due to the pandemic] it's fantastic, we really enjoy being in back in Falmouth, singing brings us friendship."

Organisers say this year more than 50,000 visitors are expected. An additional stage venue has been created at Church Street Car Park which will feature live performances and an arts and crafts market over the weekend.

Richard Wilcox the Falmouth BID manger told ITV West Country: "This festival is very much around community engagement and a partner lead approach to bring in it off and we have an army of volunteers who we call upon who are brilliant in giving up their time to help these events come to fruition, so it's a fantastic celebration of all that Falmouth and Cornwall has to offer."

The festival will also host several all-female shanty groups including Femmes de la Mer from Cornwall, who've recently been touring with musician Ben Howard.

The festival has been planned to coincide with the Falmouth Classics regatta, one of the largest heritage sailing events in the UK. Over 150 boats will be taking part in the regatta, which includes racing as well as onshore events. It finishes with parade of sail on Sunday 19th June.