WITH its committee members looking to stand down, the future of a beloved maritime festival hangs in the balance, as a new team is needed to spearhead the event moving forward.

The Teign Maritime & Shanty Festival proved a hit right out of the gate, having staged four very successful festivals and raising more than £10,000 for four local charities.

Popular though it is, its future is uncertain, as the present committee, who have ‘loved organising’ the festival and have ‘gladly given up their time’ in service to it, are looking to ‘step down to pursue other activities’ and are, therefore, hoping others will come forward and carry the torch.

Photo: Steve Pope MDA050921C_SP005
Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival
Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival (Photo: Steve Pope)

‘We have taken the decision to run the festival every other year as it takes a year to prepare everything and, to minimise costs, all the work is undertaken by the committee, right down to designing advertising materials and typesetting the huge programme’ a spokesperson for the committee said.

‘“Teign Maritime & Shanty Festival“ is a registered trademark and we are very protective of the brand.

‘Feedback from performers and the public alike details how well organised and friendly the festival is, and we need to find a new team to uphold these high standards. 

‘The next festival is scheduled to be in September 2025 (the exact date is tide dependant) and, given that it takes a year to prepare, we need to get a team in place as quickly as possible.

‘The current main committee are happy to provide training, insight and oversight, but not to be part of the new committee.

‘However, certain members of the wider committee with responsibility for certain special organisational aspects have indicated they be happy to continue in a support role’ the spokesperson added.

Photo: Steve Pope MDA050921C_SP007
Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival. Anchors Aweigh
Anchors Aweigh performing at the 2021 Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival (Photo: Steve Pope)

The festival brings together shanty crews from assorted backgrounds and celebrates the maritime tradition of old, as well as highlighting the best local food; the 2023 festival, for example, has the largest to date, with as many as 50 musicians, 15 sea-themed performers and a whole host of volunteers.

‘We were honoured to have the world famous “Kimber’s Men” perform’ the spokesperson said.

‘Another highlight was the presence all weekend of the tall ship “Pelican”, moored in Teignmouth Harbour for people to board and look around.

‘Last year also saw the use of The Den on the Saturday, heralded by a Scottish Piper leading many of the performers around the town, culminating in a gathering in the Triangle.

‘The festival was kindly opened by Teignmouth’s Mayor, Cllr Joan Atkins, outside the Teignmouth Pavilions’ the spokesperson added.

Photo: Steve Pope MDA050921C_SP003
Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival, The Rusty Tubs
Teign Maritime and Shanty Festival, The Rusty Tubs (Photo: Steve Pope )

Recently, the committee staged a free thank you at Teignmouth Rugby Club for all the volunteers and sound technicians, with entertainment provided by the Back Beach Boyz and Celtic Dawn.

Volunteers are essential, and without them the festival simply could not go ahead; this is also true of the many local companies which support the festival, whether it be through advertising or supplying their wares during the event.

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