Port Isaac Fisherman's Friends forced to turn down US tour to keep Cornwall day jobs


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The Independent Culture

The Fisherman's Friends, the Cornish shanty-singing group who became an unlikely chart success, have turned down a lucrative offer to tour the US after deciding that they can make a bigger killing working on their boats.

The 10-piece group, who went from singing in their local pub to playing the main stage at Glastonbury, have declined an offer to perform for their newly-acquired American fan base in order to stick with their day jobs in their home town of Port Isaac.

As well as fishermen, the group includes a farmer, builder, potter, pasty-seller and a shop keeper. As self-employed businessmen, despite recording a Gold disc-certified debut album, the members felt the US tour represented too great a gamble.

Jeremy Brown, 52, a fisherman, said: “We realise we are not One Direction, and breaking America takes time and commitment. We have a good life doing what we wanted to do in Port Isaac and the success of the singing is an amazing bonus. However, we know that we can’t afford to be away from home for that long or we would lose our livelihood.”

The a capella group are recovering from the death of member Trevor Grills and their tour manager Paul McMullen, who were both killed after becoming trapped under a metal door at a concert venue in February.

Nigel Cole, the Calendar Girls director, has signed up to bring the story of the band, who have been performing together since 1995 in their local pub, but only got signed by Universal Music in 2010, to the big screen. The Ealing Studios film will begin shooting next Spring.

Neil O’Brien, the band’s booking agent, said: “In America everyone is fascinated by the prospect of ‘the singing fishermen’ and the film that is being made about them. Since the announcement of the movie, we have been inundated with offers for them to perform on the other side of the pond. We are disappointed that we will not be able to say yes to what would be the pinnacle of most performers’ careers, but we cannot argue with their reasoning.”

The “buoy band” follow up their 150,000-selling debut with a new album, One And All, released this month.