Shanty Festival Rotterdam

07 - 09 Sept


Sing a song at work!

The port of Rotterdam is now state of the art, but there are still some spots in Rotterdam that will remind you of its long gone maritime history. The port of Rotterdam started to flourish during the heydays of the Dutch East India Company. Working in the harbour or on board was a very demanding and tough job. So called shanties are working songs that sailors used to sing as a motivation on the job. The shanties are therefore just as versatile as the work that had to be done on board the old sailing ships.

What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

Nowadays you simply listen to the radio at work, but some old shanties might still sound familiar to you. What about the English song 'What shall we do with the drunken sailor'? This song is a genuine shanty which was sung by the indefatigable sailors during their sea travels on the to Far East or America. Many of these songs will ring a bell and will be sung during the Shanty Festival in Rotterdam by the attending shanty choirs.

A forgotten tradition kept alive

The traditional wooden sailing ships are now replaced by modern metal vessels, so there's no need to repair any sails. Anchors are now raised mechanically and scrubbing the deck is also something from the past. The ancient profession of sailor has nearly passed away, together with the shanties. Luckily however, these shanties were written down by retired sailors and are presented to all spectators during the Shanty Festival in Rotterdam to keep this forgotten tradition alive.

Locations Shanty Festival Rotterdam

The main location of the Shanty Festival is a big tent at Plein 1940, opposite the Maritime Museum Rotterdam and the Statue ' The Destroyed City'. Other Shanty Festival locations are Leuvehaven and the Old Harbour in Rotterdam, where dozens of shanty choirs will perform. At these harbours, many historic ships are moored for the ideal setting of the Shanty Festival in Rotterdam! Within the Old Harbour there will also be a nautical market. You should listen to shanty music in a maritime setting, that is why the Shanty Festival in Rotterdam takes place in the same weekend as the World Port Festival!

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