Date: 
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 15:53

The Fisherman’s Friends are to top the bill at the World Pasty Championships to be held at the Eden Project on Saturday February 28, 2015.

This will be the fourth year of the championships – also known as the Olympics of the Oggy – and organisers see the appearance of the acclaimed eight-man folk group as a major coup.

The Fisherman’s Friends are shanty singers from Port Isaac, north Cornwall, who have delighted visitors and locals there for more than 15 years, with almost 300 live performances under their belts. They have been at the forefront of the UK folk music renaissance of the last decade.

They’ve known each other since childhood and learnt their powerful brand of Cornish harmony singing at the local Methodist chapel, now the pottery of Fisherman’s Friend Billy Hawkwins, where the group still rehearse today.

The Fisherman’s Friends have a huge variety of sound and song, drawing from a repertoire reaching back 200 years, and embracing songs and shanties not only from Cornwall but Liverpool, Ireland, Africa, the West Indies, and America.

The celebrated World Pasty Championships are now a firm fixture on the festival calendar, being staged each year on the Saturday before before St Piran’s Day.

The competition sees amateur and professional bakers from far and near compete by baking traditional Cornish pasties or variations on the classic beef, onion, potato and turnip recipe.

The annual celebration of the dish Cornwall gifted to the globe is also a showcase for home-grown musical and comedy talent and culminates in the much-anticipated Oggy Oscar ceremony.

In the weeks to come, Eden will announce full entry categories and rules for the World Pasty Championships 2015 on www.edenproject.com.

Eden Project spokesman David Rowe said: “The championships have grown year by year and are now firmly established as a great celebration of Cornwall’s national dish and a one-day festival in their own right.

“As one of the very best folk groups not just in Cornwall but in whole of the UK, Fisherman’s Friends are the perfect fit for the World Pasty Championships.  We are really looking forward to welcoming the Friends to Eden on February 28, to celebrate the coming spring, St Piran’s and pasties.”

The first World Pasty Championships was staged at Eden in March 2012 and was hailed a success with more than 100 competitors taking part in a day-long celebration.  At the third championships in March this year (2014) there were nearly 150 entries, a record number.

The event has the full backing of the Cornish Pasty Association, the industry body which represents more than 50 bakers and champions the world-famous savoury.

In 2011, after a long campaign the association won European Union Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status which means that only pasty makers based in Cornwall who make pasties in a traditional manner and follow a traditional recipe are able to label their products as Cornish.