Several years ago I maintained the web site for the Chicago Maritime Festival. It ceased operation after a fourteen year run – 2003 through 2016. There were a lot of amazing, domestic and international performers that graced the stages of the event. I don’t believe the roster has been published anywhere, so I am offering this list here. This is as complete a list as I could recreate – if you find that I erred please drop me a line!
2016 featured performers: Dan & Bonnie Milner, Larry Kaplan, Spitzer & Mareva, Pint & Dale, The HardTackers, Tom and Chris Kastle. (With Chris Maden and Bounding Main as special guest performers.)
2015 featured performers: John Roberts and Debra Cowan, Bounding Main, David HB Drake, Tom and Chris Kastle.
2014 featured performers: Bob Zentz, Ed Trickett, The HardTackers, The Barbary Ghosts, Tom and Chris Kastle.
2013 featured performers: Talitha MacKenzie, Lee Murdock, David Jones, Forebitter, Tom and Chris Kastle.
2012 featured performers: Jerry Bryant, Calico Jack, Tom Lewis, Serre l’Écoute, Tom and Chris Kastle.
2011 featured performers: Pint & Dale, Bob Walser, Cindy Kallet, Belize Culture & Heritage Association, Tom and Chris Kastle.
2010 featured performers: Rick Spencer, John Roberts, Caryl P. Weiss (RIP), The 97th Regimental String Band, Tom & Chris Kastle
2009 featured performers: Dan Milner, David Coffin, The Johnson Girls, Patrick Denain and Miguel Biard, Tom and Chris Kastle
2008 featured performers: The Northern Neck Chantey Singers, Debra Cowan, Walter “Salty Walt” Askew, Holdstock & MacLeod, Tom and Chris Kastle
2007 featured performers: Bounding Main, Jerry Bryant, Johnny Collins, Philippe Duo, Tom and Chris Kastle
2006 featured performers: The Boekaniers, John Townley, Nanne Kalma & Ankie van der Meer, David HB Drake, Tom and Chris Kastle
2005 featured performers: Pint & Dale, Serre l’Ecoute, Talitha MacKenzie, Lee Murdock, Tom and Chris Kastle
2004 featured performers: The Johnson Girls, Tom Lewis, Bob Zentz, Don Sineti & Steve Roys, Bob Zentz, Tom and Chris Kastle
2003 featured performers: Kat yn ‘t Seil, Johnny Collins, John Conolly, The 97th Regimental String Band, Mlynn, Tom and Chris Kastle
Past special guest performers over the years: Lanialoha Lee, Sheridan Shore Chantey Singers, David HB Drake, Bounding Main, Sheridan Shore Chantey Singers, Walter “Salty Walt” Askew, and the Old Town School of Folk Music Sea Music Class.
Of course there were many notable maritime speakers and presenters featured at this event over the years as well.
The event was held at the Chicago History Museum for most of these years. There was a year or two that it was moved to The Latin School of Chicago while the CHM was undergoing construction. In its final year it was held at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, with some sessions at The Grafton Inn just down the street.
There were many valuable and supportive volunteers that helped run the event. The founders and directors of the event were Tom and Chris Kastle. William Strauss and Roseanne Turow ran the daily events up until the last couple of years.
From Tom Kastle: “I know it’s likely that there won’t be another one but there were plans that the Chicago Maritime Museum would take it over but one disaster after another has, so far, prevented that. Setbacks include the museum flooding, several false starts […], a few deaths, arts and humanities funding drying up, school funding gutted, and of course COVID-19.”