Fresh scallops and old sea shanties


After the excitement of Christmas and the rain and cold of January, when all you want to do is hibernate, Rye comes alive again with its annual Scallop Festival (February 21 – March 1). Now widely known around the UK, Rye’s festival brings together some of the town’s top chefs to create culinary delights for all.

But we have something a little different this year. On the first day of the festival, Rye Bay Crew will be performing shanties and songs of the seas to accompany a three-course meal at the Queens Head, Landgate, Rye. Proprietor Jonathan Breeds will be serving a fricassee of scallops (as seen on BBC’s Escape to the Country), followed by main course and dessert, and will later be performing alongside colleagues Andi Rivett and myself. Rye Bay Crew are accompanied by fabulous local guitarist Chris Fisher.

Shanties were working songs, with simple tunes and words that were passed from father to son, so vary from coast to coast. As our sailors journey in song from ship to shore and back to sea again, some will be so familiar that you can join in, others are sourced from ancient folk song books. In addition there will be settings by Ireland, Britten and Holst.

Tickets, £32, are very limited and early booking is strongly advised. Starting at 7pm with a welcoming glass of wine, the entertainment will commence and food will flow. Following Rye Bay Crew’s highly successful sellout show at Christmas, it promises to be both fun and flavoursome. For more information email or call 07974 001818.