traditional and original music played on acoustic and electric instruments

All Blacked Up 300dpi RGB

great..... almost as good as Queen. Ivy [aged 6yrs].

What can I say? 'Such Fun !', new fab sets, joyous lift throughout, no one should be surprised at their immense popularity.

Martyn Harvey [Caller] 2015 Whitby Folk Week

At the top of the English Ceilidh scene for the last 25 plus years Ironmasters are a highly influential ceilidh band who play traditional music and original compositions in their own distinctive style.

Led by melodeon and saxophone with guitar, bass and drums, and spicing it with harmonica, Ironmasters provide a varied sound that is great for dancing to, or listening to.

At home on the biggest festival stage or in your local village hall
Ironmasters are available for your event.

In 2016 the band decided to rebrand itself and to avoid confusion the new name shall be used throughout this website - for more info see the band history page.

Ironmasters are:

Alistair Gillies:
saxophones, whistles and recorders,

Edwin Beasant:
two row melodeons

Baz Parkes:
one and two row melodeons, calling

Steev Hall:

Ray Archer:
bass guitar

Nick Beck:
drums and percussion

find out more about Ironmasters........

So how would you really describe The Ironmasters? ....Well, we see us as something like this:

Not truely traditional as we mostly learnt our music from the bands who helped relaunch the English folk tradition when it was dying out but.........As individuals some of us are pleased to have played in sessions with the source musicians upon whom the folk revival relied and we definitely see ourselves in the 'English Country Music' tradition that goes back to Thomas Hardy's 'village band' - your music is shaped by the instruments you play. If we were his village band we suspect we would also be banned from the church to be replaced by an organ....[insert your own joke].

Most of us have been involved with morris dance sides - squires, foremen, dancers, band leader and of course playing in the bands. As a result we really are focused upon the need for the music to fit the dances.....

We have the confidence to develop an arrangement on-stage. We don't only play straight folk tunes - with The Ironmasters you will hear interesting arrangements and our improvisations mean that all of our ceilidhs can be said to be unique....[another joke opportunity].

Occasionally we get described as Folk Rock, and whilst most of our music is underpinned with bass, drums and guitar, we often play in a much lighter style led by recorder or tin whistle, and the two melodeons playing strict tempo English melody and then the saxophone switching between traditional melodies, improvisation and what might be called world music riffs, mean that we probably inhabit a genre of our own ;-)

We see the melody as king: at an Ironmasters ceilidh the melody will be prominent and the whole experience will not be over loud. But we also recognise that in the middle of a dance people are dancing more to the rhythm than the tune - so you will regularly find yourself dancing to the drums and guitars.

So we are what we are - The Ironmasters - a band that works hard at keeping the music fresh and relevant, who are rooted in the music of England [where-ever it comes from] and who are pleased to allow fresh and interesting things to develop during the playing.

Is it surprising that the music of The Ironmasters is so often described as 'influential'?

We were pleased that Nick Walden, after calling for us at Chippenham Folk Festival [2010] commented "interesting things kept on happening - all ceilidh bands should be like this......." .....and Martyn Harvey posting on Facebook after calling for us at a Late Night Extra @ Whitby Folk Week 2015: "What can I say? 'Such Fun !', new fab sets, joyous lift throughout, no one should be surprised at their immense popularity.........." ...not forgetting Ivy [aged 6] '...great, almost as good as Queen....'

These quotes come from folk festivals - but if your ceilidh is in the local village hall, please still contact us, as this is the bread and butter of the ceilidh scene.....

Ironmasters are at the top of the English Ceilidh scene only because of the music. Generally no Agents are involved and we can be a very cost effective solution as our own Baz Parkes is a nationally known festival caller and Alistair does the sound from on-stage through our own PA system - please talk to us direct via the contact form if you have any questions. If you are involved with an agency and would like to work with us then please talk to us.........

Contact us

If you want to contact Ironmasters you can use the contact page of this website or go straight to Ray on 07790 679469

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