The Mellstock Band

The Mellstock Band

Dave Townsend (Director) - Concertina, Violin, Voice
Tim Hill - Clarinets, Voice
Phil Humphries - Serpent, Voice
Charles Spicer - Oboes, Voice

The Mellstock Band present the genuine sound of English traditional folk music - merry and majestic tunes, songs of love and laughter, carols and original harmonies.

Themed Shows in Period Costume

These popular shows are unique entertainments of music, song and spoken word, using authentic instruments and costumes representing rural Sunday-best of the 1840s. The poetry and prose come from Hardy and other writers, and they combine with the music to illuminate its background and summon up the spirit of the era. For a list of the shows currently available, go to: Mellstock Band Shows – a brief guide

Music for Special Occasions

The band often play for weddings, special birthdays and other celebrations, with a mix of background music, songs and dancing. They also provide ideal sounds for museums, gardens and outdoor events.

Dances & Workshops

The unique sound of the Mellstock Band is ideally suited to dancing. Dave usually calls the dances, many of them from Hardy’s Wessex. The band also regularly give participatory workshops on West Gallery Singing, Carols from Dorset and Village Band Music.

The Band and its members have appeared in TV dramas Pride and Prejudice, Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and The Way We Live Now, and have featured in productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Royal National Theatre.

Their albums have become standard works of reference for traditional music and song of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Why “Mellstock”?

Mellstock was the fictional name the novellist and poet Thomas Hardy gave to his native village of Higher Bockhampton in Dorset. His family were leading local musicians, who led the church band and played for dances. Hardy’s vivid descriptions, the players’ own manuscript books, and music from local tradition were the initial inspiration for the formation of The Mellstock Band in 1986.

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