Shanty UK Gathering, Goole, East Yorkshire
(Review by Jim Saville)
A cold bleak January day is a strange time of year to hold a shanty festival but that is effectively what happened on 21st january this year.
The steering committee of Shanty UK, the organisers of the biggest UK Shanty Festival decided that it was unfair to hold all their meetings in one spot and organised regional events, the first of which was a committee meeting in the North Eastern Region and the The Yorkshire Waterways Museum at Goole was selected as a venue for their first meeting of 2012. As well as a meeting of the steering committee it was decided to hold a maritime sing-
The group of about 20 people in the first instance comprised a couple of well know shanty groups and a number of club singers and they proceeded to rock the boat with a series of songs as good as any heard when the boat was a regular venue at the wonderful Hull Sea Fever Festival. In the next hour or so more and more singers both individuals and groups arrived to swell the numbers so that by the time the committee meeting was over and board members joined the throng the seats had run out and every flat surface was pressed into action as a make shift resting place.
For the next 4 hours the singing alternated between groups and a series of individuals entertaining each other and the audience that had also turned up with one of the best performances of maritime songs that I have heard in a long time. There were ballads and humorous ditties, full blown shanties and sailing songs to suit every taste, mostly unaccompanied but with a smattering of squeeze boxes, bodhrans and the occasional guitar to add tone(!).
All in all there were 5 and a half hours of really great entertainment for everyone at a price of whatever you wanted to contribute to the museum’s collecting box. What is even more remarkable is that this was an almost impromptu get together of folk and a mere curtain raiser for the main festival which takes place in the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port on 6-