Paimpol Festival is first and foremost an international sea shanty gathering. On all boats, at all latitudes, these songs met the need for rhythm, to synchronise the sailors’ manoeuvres on board and on the quay. At sea and in the harbour inns, they also provided entertainment during the vital moments of relaxation. Sea shanties still tell us about the extraordinary adventures of travel and discovery, shipwrecks and heroism, love and camaraderie.
Every two years, Paimpol Festival attempts to pay tribute to all these sailors, whose songs, a reminder of these sagas, have been passed down to us through the oral tradition thanks to the transcriptions made by a few enthusiasts. Sinbad, Captain Haddock, Achab, Jack Aubrey, Corto Maltese, Jack Sparrow... The musical programme is enhanced each year by a multicultural process which has its roots in traditional music yet remains open to world music, with something for every generation.
Paimpol Sea Shanty Festival is also a festival for old ships. Every two years, the harbour welcomes several hundred boats from the time of wooden ships. Their crew, nearly a thousand “sea dogs" of all ages, are on board. The day before the festival, they take part in the famous and lively “crew’s meal", and every morning, they perform the foghorn concert that announces the start of the festivities.