Event Info

It is with great regret that due to Covid-19 the decision has been taken to cancel the 2020 Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival 

Further information about the 2021 festival will appear here so please visit regularly to find out the latest information

Below is an overview of 2019

Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival  2019

The 2019 famous Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival was held on the 7th & 8th September a fantastic free two-day event which is held annually and sited along the historic South Quay of Great Yarmouth, we were lucky to have fine weather for the whole weekend bar one or two little spots of rain on Saturday.  The event was a huge success with HMS Bangor of the Royal Navy berthing on the quayside – the arrival of HMS Bangor could not be announced until it was certain that she would be able to join us at the festival.  We were also joined by 4 of the offshore wind vessels supplied by Turner Iceni a Great Yarmouth based company.  These vessels ferry crew to the wind farms and we were absolutely thrilled and delighted that they could join us and they allowed the public to board and explore them – it was quite a spectacle to see the 4 wind vessels berthed alongside the Royal Navy. The tall ship Minerva had 3 sails out to sea a day and all the sails had good weather and were very popular, as one local said it is so interesting seeing Gorleston and Great Yarmouth from the perspective of the river. The George Stephenson joined us and is a beautiful hand made ship crafted from parts of other ships. We will be adding many photos to this website in the next few days. We also had our very own Lydia Eva from Great Yarmouth always a star.

Folk music and shanty songs at the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

Shanty folk music is performed every year throughout the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival on three separate stages as the town celebrates its proud maritime past, present and future. Shanty songs were traditionally sung by sailors as they raised the mainsheet and set sail on their long journeys to sea. This year we were joined by Seafolk Arts which is an unusual vessel where the singers perform from the deck of the ship and they proved to be very popular and we hope to invite them back next year. There was such a wealth of talent and songs being sung as the sunny afternoon went on that many people did not want to leave the quayside even though the festival had to close.

The Heritage Quarter

The Heritage Quarter marquee had a wealth of experience inside of the history of Great Yarmouth including the award winning Time & Tide Museum situated on Blackfriars Road, the Elizabethan House Museum on South Quay.  Information about these and other heritage sites in Great Yarmouth are all listed on the Great Yarmouth website so if you would like more information please visit www.great-yarmouth.co.uk

Entertainment & Free Children’s activities at Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

As well as non-stop shanty music from a wide range of bands, the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival had a variety of street theatre, costumed characters and performances which kept families entertained with plenty of free activities and crafts for little ones including a make your own mask tent.  Amongst the characters featured this year was a giant lobster which kept asking children if they knew the way back to the sea but to no avail! we also had some very unusual but very popular life guards but they were about 8 foot tall and were causing mayhem and of course we also had our very popular Capn Jack Sparrow who was asked for photographs wherever he went.  As part of the experience we asked the local theatre company to man the entrance gates and sell programmes and they obliged by turning up in full pirate costumes and amusing visitors from the minute they entered the quayside.

Town Hall Open for the Weekend

  • Great Yarmouth’s prestigious Town Hall which is adjacent to the quayside was open for the weekend of the festival as well. There was :
  • Self Guided Tour of the Town Hall including access to the Mayor’s Parlour, Council chamber, Supper Room, Rambouillet Room and Assembly Room.
  •  The Regalia and Town’s Silver was on display in the Mayor’s Parlour
  •  The public were allowed to try on Mayor’s Robes, Hats and Councillor Robes
  •  Great  Yarmouth Art club were showing a display of Maritime Art in the Atrium
  •  Model Boat Clubs for Great  Yarmouth, Gorleston and Norwich
  •  Knitted Great Yarmouth was on display in the Assembly Room
  •  Exhibition from Great  Yarmouth Minster Preservation Trust was on display in the Assembly Room
  •  A Maritime Pop Up Café was also serving tea, coffee and Cakes in the Assembly Room.
  •  At the Front of the Town Hall were the Winterton Marine Cadets

Maritime crafts, demonstrations and exhibitors

There was also a beautiful range of quality maritime themed or locally linked crafts.  Crafts included stunning local photography featuring a significant maritime theme, pottery, jewellery and clothes.

We also like to recognise the importance of our maritime related charities who do such sterling work with seafarers past and present. As a large port we were delighted to welcome our local life boat services, the independent Caister lifeboat and the Hemsby Inshore Rescue as well as the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston RNLI. We also had English Heritage; Lowestoft Maritime Museum; Mission to Seafarers; RMA; Royal Anglian Regiment, Royal Navy and a full list and photos will be available in the next few days.

Food & Drink at Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival

A varied selection of food and drink was also available.