Welcome to this wonderful Sea Shanty Festival in beautiful Harborfront Park, an oasis in the bustling heart of the historic shipbuilding Village of Port Jefferson.
Come for an afternoon of authentic Sea Shanties and dockside work songs, performed by some of the most well-known singers of the genre from New England, Long Island, and the UK, with a grand finale concert featuring all the musicians.
Festival attendees can explore the history and techniques of wooden boat building, presented by LI Seaport and Eco Center, accompanied by songs of the great Age of Sail, indoors at the Port Jefferson Village Center.
There is a boatload of interesting and fun things to see and hear at the Festival. Bring out your inner scalawag at the pirate camp with Pirates At Large, thrill to street singers on the sidewalks of the Village, and discover the shipbuilding history of Bayles Boatyard, all within a singing distance of the stage.
Our featured performers are:
Bonnie & Dan Milner
The Ancient Mariners
Old Fid: Deirdre & Sean Murtha and Alan Short
Maria Fairchild & Adam Becherer
as well as an array of Long Island singers and musicians at locations around the Village!
Free admission - all ages welcome
The Festival is on! If it’s rainy, we will be indoors at the Port Jeff Village Center, 101A East Broadway, so join us!
Maria & Adam
Maria Fairchild has been performing traditional music on guitar since her teens, taking up clawhammer banjo while studying at the legendary Guitar Workshop of Roslyn. Since then, her music has taken her from Long Island to the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and England. She is also a dedicated “singer-songfinder” and makes traditional music feel new, and contemporary songs, including her own, seem timeless.
On Long Island Maria plays in traditional music bands Dance All Night, Fiddler’s Green, and Rose Tree, and was in the Long Island Bluegrass Quartet with Bill Ayasse. Maria has taught banjo privately for 30 years, and has led workshops for the Long Island Traditional Music Association, the New England NOMAD Folk Festival, and the Long Island Bluegrass Festival.
Adam Becherer has been playing Old Time and Irish fiddle on and off for the past 30 years. He was exposed to Bluegrass and Old Time music at an early age while watching his father’s band compete at Bluegrass festivals at The South Street Seaport in New York City in the 1970’s. He is currently a member of the ‘Hallockville Old Time Jam’. He is also a member of the Grafton Street Session – an impromptu collection of musicians who get together at several Long Island venues to share in their love of traditional Irish jigs and reels. Adam has played in Classical Orchestral settings and spent several years playing in the Long Island based funk-rap band Chaotic Lynk.
STOUT- Bob Conroy, internationally known banjo player, Frank Hendricks and Bill Grau, have been performing traditional music since the 1960's. Stout has appeared at folk festivals and clubs in the UK, as well as Lincoln Center, Historic Richmond Tavern, Sailors Snug Harbor, Mystic Seaport and various other venues in the Northeast. Banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin enhance their vocal harmonies. Bob and Frank are also members of The New York Packet.
Joseph Morneault is a social historian and performs with a few groups as well as performing some solo work, bringing to life early American songs relating to the everyday person: work songs, songs of the sailor, drinking songs, songs of love and consequences, ballads, and introspective songs. His involvement with traditional and historical fife and drum goes back to his earliest grammar school days. While he still plays (as well as makes) fifes and such, he is currently a free agent, focusing more on his craftsmanship and his interpretation of songs. Joseph is the founder and president of the Annual Connecticut Sea Music Festival, which takes place in Essex, CT.
David Jones was originally from England and now lives in Leonia, New Jersey, gateway to the golden west. He has a large repertoire of folksong from both sides of the Atlantic. David has performed in North America, Britain, Australia and Europe, singing at festivals, concert halls, clubs, maritime museums and colleges, presenting songs from the great days of sail, Music Hall favorites, traditional ballads, and the works of contemporary writers. He sings both acapella and with guitar accompaniment and involves his audience in refrains and choruses ranging from boisterous to sentimental. David is also member of The New York Packet.
Heather Wood is a veteran singer from the English revival for some 50+ years, dating from her days with The Young Tradition. She has a great repertoire of ballads, historical songs, love, maritime, and agricultural songs, and a lot from the humorous side. In addition to the old songs, she has written some dynamite new ones. Over the years, Heather has also acted as agent for other artists, run folk clubs, organized weekends and other events, and written about folk music for an assortment of publications. She is a member of The New York Packet and treasurer and program chair of The Folk Music Society of New York, co-sponsors of this festival.
The Ancient Mariners Chanteymen are a sub-group of the Ancient Mariners Fife and Drum Corps founded in 1959 by Roy Watrous with the idea of utilizing a nautical flare. The tunes were soon sung by the corps and with Cliff Haslam and Dave Tiezzi at the helm. Soon thereafter, Kevin Brown blossomed and fine tuned the sound with Dr. Howard Hornstein’s arrangements - alas the “wall of sound” emerged and entertained audiences from Maine to Texas, Mystic Seaport to Basel Switzerland. Today, the Chanteymen include Dave Tiezzi, Neil O’Brien, Steve Johnson, Dillon Johnson, Section Chief Scott Redfield, and our mentor, Cliff Haslam.
John Roberts is an internationally known singer of folksongs from the British Isles, born and raised in Worcestershire, England, of a Welsh family.
Singing solo, John often accompanies his songs with banjo or concertina, or sings them a cappella, depending on how he feels the song. He is well known for his work with Tony Barrand, another ex-pat Brit – they became the two lively Brits who sang folksongs, often wore funny hats, and went on to sing at folk festivals such as Fox Hollow, Mariposa, Philadelphia, Hudson River Revival, and Old Songs, and were part of ‘Nowell Sing We Clear’ for over 40 years.
John has performed at various folk festivals including the Mystic Sea Music Festival, the Newfoundland Folk Festival, New Bedford’s Summerfest and Working Waterfront Festivals, the San Francisco Sea Music Festival, the Fox Valley (IL) Festival, and the Old Songs Festival.
Old Fid, with soaring harmonies and occasional accompaniment, hails from a wide variety of folk music backgrounds, including English, Irish, and old-time American, with a focus on the maritime and worksong tradition. Members of The New York Packet, Alan Short and Deirdre Murtha (of The Johnson Girls) also come from a choral background, and thus have spent a good part of their lives singing and relishing in harmonies. Sean Murtha was drawn originally by the instrumental music tradition but was soon infected by the harmony singing as well. Collectively, they sing all over the Northeast, leading and attending regular singing circles. They share a love of history and storytelling through song, social singing, and otherwise playing their part in keeping the folk music tradition alive and well. As "links in the chain," they enjoy sharing good songs not just today, but passing them on to those who will be singing them for many years to come.
Dan and Bonnie Milner sing sea chanteys and traditional maritime songs in unaccompanied harmony. Each is also a strong solo vocalist. As members of the New York Packet, they have hosted and performed at both live and online chantey sings at South Street Seaport Museum. They have appeared at festivals and in concerts throughout the U.S. and overseas.
Dan’s background of growing up in a singing Irish family, informs his repertoire and singing style. His CD, Irish Pirate Ballads, received two Indie Award nominations in 2011. Bonnie’s interest in sea songs was sparked by
her friendship with the last working shantyman, Stan Hugill. She is a founding member of the renowned all-woman maritime quartet, The Johnson Girls. Together, Dan and Bonnie bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to their songs.
This event was brought to you by the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council as part of their WinterTide 2022 series. To support them there is a $5 donation at the door.