Arr’ you ready to parr’ty like a pirate?
Part of shanty music’s continued popularity is thanks to the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, a series of movies that propelled maritime culture into the mainstream.
Since the success of the first movie in 2003 communities around the world have organised special pirate-themed events that draw in huge crowds of families who dress up for the occasion. All good events require entertainment and what better performers to have than a shanty band?
Whilst some purists question the authenticity of pirate-based shanty bands, it can’t be denied that the success of Pirate festivals has introduced sea shanty music to a whole new audience. These British Pirate-themed events are mostly free and also help raise money for worthy causes:
Brixham Pirate Festival
Taking place over the May Bank Holiday weekend, this is one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK and dressing up is certainly encouraged. Brixham is a popular tourist town. famous for its industrious fishermen, during the Pirate Festival you’ll see many of these fishermen dressed in convincing pirate garb adding a real note of authenticity to the occasions. In addition to a solid lineup of shanty bands there are also loads of fun activities for kids and plenty of grog for older pirates.
5th – 7th May 2018, Brixham, UK
Pirates on the Prom
Cornwall is famed for its piracy and towns like Penzance exemplify this, especially when events like the Pirates on the Prom roll around. Unlike other events on this list, this festival has a strict dress code: pirate dress is compulsory. Each year an attempt is made to break the Guinness World Record for ‘Largest of Gathering of Pirates’, a crown that was initially wrested away from the town of Hastings in 2011. Since then Hastings have reclaimed the title with an astonishing number of 14,231, a record that the pirates of Penzance have yet to break (though not through lack of trying). Entrance is £2 which goes towards the funding of the event and local charities.
26th August 2018, Penzance, UK
Whitby Pirate Festival
There’s a strong correlation between British coastal towns and a fascination with pirates; Whitby is no exception. In fact, the people of Whitby are so besotted with pirates that they have an entire society dedicated to them. Behind the contemporary & modern doors of The Endeavour, the Whitby International Pirate Society congregate once a month in pirate-dress to drink their fill and share bawdy stories. This same society are integral in the organisation of the Whitby Pirate Festival an annual event that raises hundreds of pounds for the RNLI each year. Thanks to the rambunctious enthusiasm of the locals, the revelries continue through the night with the town lit up by local lighting manufacturers.
12th – 14th September 2018, Whitby, UK
Weymouth Pirate Festival
Shanty singers the Dorset Wrecks will be providing the musical accompaniment to what promises to be an exciting day of battle re-enactments and ad hoc pirate duels! Members of the Dorset Buccaneers, The River Rogues and the Pool Re-Enactment Society will be on hand to provide plenty of nautical action throughout the day, the crew of the TS Pelican will also be present to show visitors around the tall ship and provide refreshments in the ship’s mess. All donations collected during the day will go towards Adventure Under Sail, the charity that operates the TS Pelican. (Those looking to get the real pirate experience can book a night’s stay on the ship itself by emailing email@example.com)
1st October 2018, Weymouth, UK