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Fisherman's Friends return with St Ives festival concert

By LeeTrewhela  |  Posted: March 11, 2014

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ST IVES September Festival, sponsored by Cornish Gems, has announced Fisherman’s Friends at the town’s Guildhall during this year’s event on Wednesday, September 24.

Festival chairman Alan Shepherd said: “We are particularly proud to welcome Fisherman’s Friends back to St. Ives as it was in our town that this now world-famous band of singers had their first paid gig and it is particularly poignant that the deal to bring them back to the festival was agreed immediately after they performed at an emotion-filled Royal Albert Hall last month at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards where – singing together almost a year to the day since the loss of singer Trevor Grills and tour manager Paul McMullen in a tragic accident at Guildford – they received a glorious standing ovation.”

The Fisherman's Friends are shanty singers from Port Isaac who have delighted visitors and locals there for more than 15 years. Down on the harbour front at around 8pm during the summer months, tourists and locals gather to hear this nine-man group mesh their voices in an incredibly rousing and joyful set of shanties and Cornish folk songs.

There’s no gang leader, no choir master and no holds barred in the singing of the Fisherman’s Friends. And fisherman’s friends they truly are – each and every member of this unique group are or have been fishermen, lifeboatmen and coastguards (as well as builders, artisans, hoteliers, and shop keepers) in Port Isaac.

They’ve known each other since childhood and their popular harbourside concerts are not only a much-loved local institution but have attracted the attention of visiting celebrities, such as Chris Evans, Gloria Hunniford and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, who all fell under the spell of their shanty singing.

Their fame has spread far and wide and they were signed to a recording deal with Universal which led to a 2010 best-selling album, Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, recorded in a 15th-century church in nearby St Kew, featuring a rich haul of 12 songs from their Port Isaac repertoire and in 2011 at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards they received The Good Tradition Award for “keeping folk music alive and bringing it to new audiences”.

Tickets for this immensely popular band of singers are expected to sell out fast and the booking represents a further coup for this year’s St Ives September Festival, building on the tremendous success which its link up with local luxury holiday homes company, Cornish Gems, facilitated in 2013, when, in addition to welcome financial support, Cornish Gems made its St Ives base, The Coffee Lounge at the bottom of Tregenna Hill, available for two weeks as the administration hub of the festival right in the heart of the town.

Having already announced the booking of Hawkwind, The South, Andy Fairweather Low and the Low Riders, The Producers, Kernow King and Steve Knightley, the addition of Fisherman’s Friends ensures that St Ives September Festival 2014 is already looking to be one of the best ever.

See www.crbo.co.uk and www.stivesseptemberfestival.co.uk for further details and tickets.

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