We advertised it as 'Shanty Night' - and traditional seafaring tunes certainly played a large part in the evening's musicmaking - but all kinds of songs inspired by the sea (some with a fairly tenuous link) appeared - from The Drunken Sailor (twice!), to Row Your Boat (played by IM on the piano - the evening's youngest performer and witness to my lax parenting standards), to Yellow Submarine (at which point, as if from nowhere, a fantastic visiting trumpeter appeared at the window and inserted the solo twiddly bits with considerable panache, which brought the house down).
A couple of hours before kick-off, we made the executive decision NOT to hold the event outdoors - despite the gorgeous late sunshine and a holding-off of the forecast rain, there was a stiff breeze blowing straight into the garden of the Coast Inn, which would have dispersed the sound and made conditions too chilly for drinkers. So we held it in the bar as usual, which made for a packed-out night, but it all added to the atmosphere. A record number of musicians and singers turned up, plus all the regular punters and plenty of visitors (including lovely fellow-Mersea Blogger Teresa, aka Tarviragus, although unfortunately the occasion did not lend itself to much in the way of quiet chatting).
Next morning, the general consensus on the island was that Shanty Night had been a Jolly Good Thing, which should certainly be repeated next year. So perhaps we've started a grand new tradition for Mersea Week - it would be rather nice to think so.
Here are a few grainy pics (I don't like using flash - it's too distracting for performers): lots more can be found on the Mersea Session Website. As explained there, the bar was so crowded that I ended up trapped, standing on a table, by the fireplace, camera in one hand, tambourine in the other, glass of Guinness balanced precariously above me - hence the unvarying viewpoint of these photos.