Ballydehob's Fastnet Maritime and Folk Fest focuses on sea songs and shanties with traditional music and dance from Ireland and abroad. The idea behind the festival is to celebrate and promote the village's old tradition of sandboating.
In the 19th century, the government financed the collection of sand from the beaches – it was dredged and used as a fertiliser. They used special 'sandboats' with flat bottoms to collect the sand. It was a big source of employment in the area of Ballydehob, Skibbereen and Sherkin. A lot of local families were involved, and Ballydehob still has a bar called The Sandboat in memory of the tradition.
There is a strong maritime tradition in Ballydehob, and this festival will feature everything from Morris dancers from the UK to Breton traditional dancing, to a group of shanty singers from Wales. The festival will also feature a number of traditional Irish music sessions as well as stalls, street music, a craft market and a car boot sale. There will be a best dressed pirate competition and street busking.