PMFF July 2018 Newsletter


Hello again fans of the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival,


Through the dog days of summer, our organizing committee has continued finalizing all of the details of this year’s 19th annual festival, and oh happy day, the roster is now complete! A friendly reminder for your calendars:


The datesSaturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30, 2018.

The place: the downtown area (Market Square) of Portsmouth, NH.

The price: All events are free – donations gratefully accepted ($5 suggested for adults at the special Saturday evening concert).


Last month we highlighted the three main stage acts, David Jones, Tim Eriksen and The Johnson Girls.  Please be sure to check them all out at our website: [].

This month, we are pleased to announce the long awaited return of several veterans to our festival and a couple of new-comers as well.  Here’s a small taste of those acts joining us this year…

Anayis Wright New to the lineup this year is Anayis “AJ” Wright, a  traditional folk musician who came to sea music through the Chantey Skills class at the Williams-Mystic undergraduate program at the Mystic Seaport Museum. She performs as a solo vocalist, and plays cello and concertina. She has performed at Tall Ships festivals in Fairport and Erie, and aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara. She has appeared multiple times on WICN. With her family and Norumbega Harmony, she has led shape note workshops at the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA), as well as assisted with singing schools at the New Bedford Folk Festival.

Ken Schatz A veteran of our festival in years past, Ken is a powerful singer and arranger of traditional/roots music – sea songs and chanteys, gospel, blues, ballads, and worksongs – Ken performs regularly at folk music clubs, festivals, and concert venues, and has designed vocal scores for several theatre projects.


Craig Edwards has been called “an encyclopedia of American roots music.” He’s been playing and singing traditional music for almost five decades, singing and performing on fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and button accordion in styles ranging from Appalachian old time music, Blues, and Celtic traditions to Zydeco. A member of the music staff at Mystic Seaport Museum since1984 and a founding member of the maritime music group Forebitter, he’s performed across the US and Europe. Craig also directed the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival for a number of years and currently moderates the annual scholarly symposium that’s an essential component of the festival. You can find him leading a halyard chantey to raise sails on the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, fiddling for contradances, joining in a pub sing or a traditional tune session, teaching people how to play traditional music, creating soundscapes for museum exhibits, and sharing the joy of social music


Once again, the Portsmouth Gas Light has agreed to let us their venue, which was such a popular spot for the traditional Saturday afternoon open sing last year. The Gas Light is located on 64 Market Street in the heart of downtown Portsmouth.


One final announcement that you’ll want to jot down: We will once again be hosting our Maritime songwriter’s competition. We are excited to continue this event after the tremendous response last year. We hope you will come and share your original maritime song and help expand the sea music tradition we all love.

Competition rules:

  1. The song  must have a maritime theme. 
  2. You must sing your own song from memory, either a cappella or with self-provided instrumental accompaniment.   
  3. Enter by emailing your name and address and the song’s title to  You will receive an email reply.
  4.  Bring a copy of your lyrics to the venue on the day.  
  5.  Because our time is strictly limited, the competition will be limited to the first 15 entrants.  Each entrant will have a maximum of eight minutes.  If slots are available on the day of the competition, walk-in competitors will be welcome.  (Bring a copy of your lyrics.)
  6.  Entries will be judged on maritime themed lyrics, tune, and overall presentation. 
  7.  The winner will be invited to sing the song at the Saturday evening concert.


Keep checking our website and Facebook page for updates, which start coming a bit quicker as the PMFF draws near. Until then, start buffing up those shanties from last year, think about a possible volunteer position for yourself, and try to keep cool! And again, many thanks to the generous friends who have supported 19 years of maritime folk music!

See you soon,

Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival Committee













E-mailed newsletters from the PMFF are sent to those who sign up at the website.

We do not copy or share mailing lists.

501(c)(3): we have been a NH registered not-for-profit since 2007, and subsequently became a 501(c)(3) under the umbrella of CDSS, the Country Dance and Song Society []. As such, donations to our organization may be declared as charitable contributions. For more on our status, send questions via return e-mail, and they will be forwarded on to our Treasurer.

Volunteers: we rely on our cheerful volunteers, and will be sending out a request for your help later in the summer. If you think you’d like to spend a couple of hours helping out during the festival, we’d love to have you join us! If you know right now that you’d like to help, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Dianne Lavoie at

Website updates: though the performers’ page is updated regularly, the schedule page is not. The 2018 schedule will not be available until September. We keep last year’s page online as an example of what kinds of workshops and programs to expect.

Web addresses

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