Whitehaven Maritime Festivals
June 15-17, 2007
In October 2006 Carlisle airport boss Andrew Tinkler flew to the rescue with an £80,000 donation to ensure the future of the 2007 Whitehaven International Maritime Festival.

WHITEHAVEN’S Maritime Festival has gone International. The bi annual event has now officially been branded the Whitehaven International Maritime Festival.
Chief executive for the festival, Gerard Richardson, said: “Ever since the very first festival Whitehaven has been truly international. At that first festival we had representatives from both Russia and the USA and the international spirit is a key factor for the festival, so we thought it important that we reflect that in the title of the 2007 event.”
The organisers have now settled the date for the big event as the long weekend of June 15-17, 2007

 Red arrows over the Irish Sea at the 2005 Festival

The 2005 Festival, the fourth hosted by the town, took place on June 25-26 and is timed to coincide with the International Year of the Sea and Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar 200 years ago. It attracted 250,000 visitors and was blessed with sunshine throughout.

Among attractions were the Utterly Butterly flying circus (Pictured).
There were fly pasts by the Red Arrows, and Tornado jets plus a World War 2 fly-past..

Four tall ships came for the event; Liverpool's flagship the Zebu and sail training ship, Jean de la Lune, Scotland's only working square-rigged tall ship. They will also be joined by Jeannie Johnston and The Kathleen & May a wooden coaster launched in 1900, costing around £2,700 at a time when shipwrights earned the equivalent of £1.25 a week and was among the last four vessels who remained on trade routes in British and Irish waters. Her home was the Port of Bideford in the West Country until her retirement in 1961. She was purchased by a private trust in October 1998 from Gloucester Docks and brought home for a £1million restoration.


The Zebu came to Whitehaven last year especially to take part in the festival, choosing it over Liverpool's own maritime event. Its success in the town convinced the crew to return to Whitehaven when it took part in a BBC film later in the year.

Jean de la Lune, a 100ft French brigantine based on the west coast of Scotland, is coming for the festival on her farewell voyage before being sold.Jean de la Lune
As part of the Festival, Cumbria marked the 60th Anniversary of the End of World War 2, with a Veterans and Ex-Service Personnel Parade on Sunday 26th June 2005.


2003 Maritime Festival (June 14-15) was a sell out success with an estimated 200,000 visitors and some £1 million injected into the local economy. The 2003 show enjoyed brilliant June sunshine. The next Fest will be on June 25th 2005.

See the action at the 2003 Maritime Festival
Tall ship the Zebu and the arrival of American warship the USS Leyte Gulf were among the key attractions for the 2003 Fest. And in complete contrast the British Jet Ski Display Team racing at high speed around the harbour.
Other attractions for the 2003 Fest were HMS Biter from the Royal Navy, and an air-sea rescue display by the RNLI. In the air, there was a fly-past by the Battle of Britain squadron, featuring the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire, on Saturday, June 14, while on the Sunday a spectacular display by the Red Arrows. On the harbourside at the festival, on June 14 and 15, were stands offering a wide range of attractions including the ever-popular Made in Cumbria food and craft tents. There were two free open-air concerts on Saturday evening: an Abba tribute band will be performing on The Whitehaven News stage from 6pm, and then there will be a jazz concert, on the Radio Cumbria stage, by Kenny Ball and his Jazz Men. The concerts were followed by a fireworks spectacular over the sea. Also there will be performances by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, while local schoolchildren will be delighting the crowds on The Whitehaven News stage at the Hub. Steamer, Balmoral will be running trips down the coast on both days, as well as coming into the harbour on the Saturday evening. There will be a yacht regatta outside the harbour.
Click to see action pictures from the 2000 Whitehaven Maritime Festival

Previous Maritime Festival scenes


In July 2002 Whitehaven had a mini festival atmosphere as three tall ships bid sailed into port for a highly succesful month long visit.
The ships, Kaskalot, Earl Pembroke and Phoenix...were enjoyed by thousands during the long stop over. On the evening of Friday June 21 hundreds sang along to Land of Hope and Glory at the Whitehaven "Proms" when the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performed on Whitehaven harbourside. The concert was to mark both the 150th anniversary of The Whitehaven News,
and the Queen's Golden Jubilee. The event, , in conjunction with the Whitehaven Maritime Festival company, was a resounding success complete with fireworks finale.

The Whitehaven Maritime Festival...weekend of June 23-24 2001 attracted an amazing 100,000 visitors.prince william at Whitehaven

On the menu were three square rigged sailing ships, Earl of Pembroke, the Phoenix and Prince William. There was a funfair, Cumbrian arts and crafts, Spitfire, Tornado and Air Sea Rescue fly pasts, sea shanties and live music, including the Band of the Royal Marines. The Saturday evening saw a dramatic fireworks display over the Irish Sea. On the Sunday there were be more fly pasts and theatrical events around the many visiting ships in the harbour. To see a page of

Typical of the new nautical interest in Whitehaven was the visit in 2000 of the square rigger, and the visit in May of training ship Tenacious.(click and get your free tall ship printable image)

John Paul Jones men spike the shore guns at Whitehaven Estimates of the crowd at the May 1999 event vary..40,000 up to 80,000 but thanks to sunshine and a lot of hard work by a lot of people the Whitehaven Rum Festival as it was billed had the town swamped with visitors.
Highlights of that year's events(Seen below) included the Caribbean parade and re-enactment of a rum smugglers' capture, complete with a "gruesome" mock hanging in authentic 17th century style!

The Festival brought to life much of the fascinating history behind the port of Whitehaven. In the 17th century Whitehaven built brigs dared the Atlantic storms to take part in the trade in rum, tobacco, limes and sugar from the early colonies in America and the Caribbean. There are even less mentionable instances of Whitehaven built ships taking a minor part in the grim slave trade at these times. To see more of the tall ships in Whitehaven.
 Click to see more action pictures from the 2000 Whitehaven Maritime Festival Go to a page of action pictures from the 1999 Whitehaven Maritime Festival


The event was closely associated with the Rum Story, Whitehaven’s newest £3 million visitor attraction, which opened on Monday, May 22 2000.

Any local businesses interested in the Festival should contact:
Gerard Richardson at Richardsons Wines


Web site and pre-event promo run by Lakestay
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