Upcoming Events

Home Grown Ceilidh
Sunday May 12th
Fundraising for medical aid and emergency supplies for Gaza
There will be a bar, bring food to share
Caller: Jane Gleaves
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Booking the Band

The band is available for public or private events.  We are based in the Peak District and also play in South Yorkshire.  If you would like us to play for you please use the contact form above giving details.

Join the band

The band is open to anyone who would like to play folk music for dancing.  On alternate weeks we have slow practices where beginners can learn the tunes and we also welcome more experienced musicians.  If you are interested in joining the band please use the contact form.

The band has been going for over 20 years and during this time has provided an opportunity for a large number of people from Sheffield and the Peak District to play folk music for ceilidhs and other events, while improving their musical skills.  The band has also forged links with other similar bands across the country.


Before the band was formed in 1999, Dave Ball had run a monthly beginners' session in The Grouse above Froggatt Edge in Derbyshire's Peak District. The aim was to allow young people and adult beginners to play together in public; to learn a couple of new tunes every month; to become more familiar with traditional music and to develop a repertoire of common session tunes.

This was reasonably successful, but as participants developed as musicians the idea grew that it would be more challenging, and of more ultimate benefit, to change the focus to something with more specific long term goals. Hence the idea of a project to create a beginner ceilidh band.

From the very first band meetings it was clear that we were not simply a workshop project but that we already saw ourselves as an embryonic band. One of the first requests was to have a proper name for the band and "The Well-Dressed Band" was dreamed up and accepted at once.

For the first couple of years we had a 50/50 split between young and older musicians, although this has changed as the younger ones have grown up, started serious exams, or gone off to college.

As part of our initiation process we organised a series of dances in Bakewell Town Hall. Since then we have grown from a training band with a small repertoire and little experience, to a band with a recognisable style, a large selection of tunes, and considerable expertise in playing for dances and organising events.

For a number of years the band has organised a regular series of 'Home Grown Ceilidhs' which are held at the Broomhall Centre in Sheffield approximately every six weeks. These are organised in conjunction with a partner charity enabling them to raise some money but also provide a social get together for their supporters.

What we do?

What's a Ceilidh?

'Ceilidh' is a word that most of us can't spell and about which few people can agree a definition. Originally it meant a gathering where friends and neighbours met to talk, share stories, play a few tunes and maybe dance a bit. Nowadays it also means a kind of traditional social dance evening. Some people call them 'Barn Dances', 'Country Dances' and 'Knees-Ups'

Where do we play?

The Well-Dressed Band play for Ceilidhs at Weddings, Birthday Parties, PTA's and other fund-raising events. Some of these are private, some public events. See our Diary for details.

So what goes on at one of our dances?

Imagine a room full of people dancing together in joyful organised chaos to a large band of colourfully dressed people of all ages playing traditional dance music from the British Isles and beyond. Scintillating tunes, solid danceable rhythms and tantalising arrangements fill the air. Smiling faces and happy feet swirl and stamp around the dance floor. A genial caller helps novices and experts alike navigate through each dance. Everyone, of all ages, is joined together having a great time sharing the music, the dancing and general excitement of the evening. It's a fantastic way to celebrate an event or hold a fund-raising function. No kidding, our dances are usually like this.

More about Ceilidhs

Follow this link to Webfeet - online information about dancing includes more descriptions of ceilidhs.

Future Plans

Every year the band, their families and friends have spent weekends away in remote locations in the north of England. For a number of years now we have been to Lockton in the North York Moors. These weekends include a ceilidh for the village which also raises money for a local project. These include workshops led by professional folk musicians.

In addition to the Lockton weekends, we have also had two joint weekends with two other community bands, the Hexham Village Band and the Chorley Cakes band. The first weekend was at Waddow near Clitheroe in 2016 and the second in 2018 was at the Sill Youth Hostel in Northumberland.  The next was planned for February 2021 but lockdown meant it was not to be so we held a virtual 3 band weekend via Zoom.  There were 52 attendees and workshops were led by Dave Ball, David Oliver and Jenny Shotcliff.  Finally in November 2022 we held a third weekend at Great Hucklow in Derbyshire, and it was great to play together with the other bands in person again.

We also have more occasional day workshops with selected experienced musicians and callers. Past workshop tutors have included: Alex Wade, Joey Oliver, Robin Dunn, Brian Peters, David Oliver, Martin Dunn, Ian Stephenson, Cath James, Emily Ball, Carolyn Francis, Jenny Coxon and Paul Walker, Sophy Ball, 'Quercus' from Lancaster, Tim Walker, and Michael Jary.

For the future we will be looking out for more great tunes, arranging and re-arranging dance sets, and generally exploring the noble art of playing music for dancers.