Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival

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Schedule – 2017

~ Full 2017 Schedule Grid is available here in .pdf format ~

Friday, September 22, 2017:

Saturday, September 23, 2017:

  • 10:00 - 11:30 AM – Roving Sailors gather in front of RiRa in the Market Square and sing their way through the streets of Portsmouth.
    IN CASE OF RAIN: if steady rain, roving will be cancelled
  • 10:00 - 11:30 AM First PMFF Maritime Songwriting Competition

    (Oppenheimer, 30 Penhallow St.)

    The Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival will hold its first Maritime Song Writing Competition this year. We are excited to be adding this event to the program. 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 info@pmffest.org. Bring a copy of your lyrics to the venue on the day.
    4. 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.)
    5. Entries will be judged on maritime themed lyrics, tune, and overall presentation.
    6. The winner will be invited to sing the song at the Saturday evening concert.

  • 10:00 - 2:00 PM – Festival performers in half-hour spots – indoors at Anchor Line (lower level at 40 Pleasant St.)
    NOTE: Inaccessible to mobility-impaired; narrow, winding steps down to basement level, standard outward-opening door
  • 12:00 - 2:00 PM – Mudhook, Pint & Dale – indoors at Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden restored barn (154 Market St.)
  • 12:00 - 2:00 PM – Great Bay Sailor, Vox Hunters; outdoors at the John Paul Jones House lawn (43 Middle St.)
    RAIN LOCATION: inside Discover Portsmouth Center (1 Islington Street), second floor; elevator available
  • 2:30 - 4:30 PM – Maritime Open Sings – running simultaneously, indoors at Gas Light Third Floor Night Club (64 Market St.) and indoors at RiRa (22-26 Market Sq.)
  • 7:00 - 9:00 PM – Evening Program with featured Festival artists, Sanborn Hall at United Methodist Church (129 Miller Ave.)

~Thanks to Piscataqua Savings Bank for their fourth year of Market Square Stage sponsorship!~

Sunday, September 24, 2017 – Ongoing in the Market Square, 1:00 - 5:00 PM:

  • Street performances outdoors in front of RiRa (22-26 Market Sq.) RAIN LOCATION: inside RiRa
  • Cameo Concerts indoors at The Clip Joint (30 Daniel St.)
  • Cameo Concerts indoors at The Athenaeum (9 Market Square)
  • Cameo Concerts indoors at Oppenheimer & Co. (30 Penhallow St.)
  • Performances indoors at Anchor Line (lower level at 40 Pleasant St.)
  • Sing-Along indoors at Book & Bar (40 Pleasant St.)
  • 5:15 PM – Shanty Blast Finale outdoors in Market Square
~ All Events are FREE! Donations gladly accepted! ~

Thirsty Moose Taphouse

An 'unofficial,' pre-festival event, a rousing pub sing the night before the festival launch is not to be missed.
As most of the festival artists will have made their way to Portsmouth, this is a time for the gathering camaraderie to settle in over a few pints and many songs.
access iconInaccessible to mobility-impaired. Full stairway leading down to the venue from the front entry. No other entrance.

Roving Sailors

Opening the festival Saturday morning, a crew of maritime singers, shantymen, and bold Festival privateers will start at 10:00 AM in front of RiRa in the Market Square, and proceed through the town, singing as they go. Their mission is to surprise, delight, and inform the public with sea songs galore, distributing knowledge and festival flyers as they wander. Catch them on your block!
access iconAccessibility good: this is outdoors on the brick sidewalks, sidewalk cuts from street; no restrooms. Bear in mind, this is a moving event, not established in one location.

Maritime Open Sings

On the Saturday of Maritime Festival weekend, there are two shanty sessions, running simultaneously from 2:30-4:30 PM. Gas Light Third Floor Night Club. (64 Market St.), and RiRa Irish pub & restaurant at 22-26 Market Square is the site of the second session. These are strongly vocal sessions, with sea shanties and easy choruses heavily featured. Also heard are many of the seamen’s off-duty, non-work songs, known as forebitters. Try both sessions, and feel free to move back and forth between them as you like. Arriving early for lunch, and to secure a table can be a good idea.
access iconRiRa accessibility: Moderate.Ramp up to first floor, outward-opening double doors, accessible restrooms; five steps up to mezzanine level. Gas Light accessibility:Full. Access to elevator via door (very small ramp to door level) on parking lot side of the building. Take elevator to Gas Light Lounge on the third floor.

Saturday Evening Concert

For the ninth year in a row, through the generosity of Celtic Crossing gift shop, we are pleased to present a full-length evening concert at Sanborn Hall, part of the United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, 129 Miller Ave. The acts in 2017 are Vox Hunters with Lindsay Straw, Pint and Dale, and Cindy Kallet. The church is just south of the Middle Street/Miller Ave/Summer Street intersection, on the east side of Miller. Doors open at 6:15PM; parking is available in the church lot.
access iconFull Accessibility: Ramp, stair lift, accessible restrooms.

Cameo Concerts at The Historic Portsmouth Athenaeum

An especially treasured PMFF venue, with maritime history on the walls, and perfect acoustics for serious listening. The Atheneum, at 9 Market Square, is right at the core of the Festival.
access iconAccessibility: Full(elevator), with pre-arrangement.
Please call the Athenaeum (603-431-2538) for directions to the elevator, and to set-up arrangements with a staff member.

Cameo Concerts at Oppenheimer & Co. and The Clip Joint

Well established as a PMFF venue, Oppenheimer is located in back of the Market Square Shanty Blast location, on Penhallow Street. This comfortable, cozy space is ideal for enjoying festival performers in half-hour mini-concerts.
access iconAccessibility: Full, with pre-arrangement. Otherwise difficult: six granite steps up to standard outward-opening door, accessible restrooms on a lower level.

The Clip Joint has recently joined the PMFF family of supporters. On Daniel Street between The Press Room and the Market Square, this location is a barber shop, usually closed on Sundays, but open this year as an intriguing venue for intimate cameo concerts.
access iconAccessibility moderate: slight ramp up to two sets of outward-opening double doors, standard restrooms.

Sing-Along at Book & Bar

An MC will guide the Sunday Maritime Sing-Along. Not an open session, this venue features various festival performers, coming and going throughout the afternoon, and participants called on by the host. We are thrilled that for the third year, Book & Bar pub, bookshop and restaurant is our sponsor. Drop in for a pint and a few choruses! Book & Bar is at 40 Pleasant Street, near the corner of State and Pleasant Streets, in the Old Custom House.
access iconAccessibility difficult: five granite steps up from street level to standard outward-opening door; ramp in rear of building leads to four sets of doors in winding, narrow hallway, and requires assistance from within. Accessible restrooms in hallway.

Shanty Blast Finale

A giant, roaring final sing ends the weekend with a blast. All performers gather on the sidewalk in Market Square in front of RiRa as each takes a turn leading a shanty. The whole crew, and audience, too, belts out chorus after chorus – a rousing sight and sound, indeed! We are grateful once more to Piscataqua Savings Bank for their 2017 sponsorship of the Market Square Stage, allowing us to keep sea songs ringing out in the Square!
access iconAccessibility good: this is outdoors on the brick sidewalk, sidewalk cuts from street; no restrooms.


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last updated 16 September 2016
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