History of the Festival

In 1990, Richard Hosford, leader of the Gaudier Ensemble, and resident of Dorset had a vision of a Music Festival different from the standard commercial model.

He was looking for a location that gave the musicians an attractive venue in which to perform but, equally importantly, somewhere they could all be together for a week to play the music they wanted to play – at the highest artistic standards. He wanted to develop strong links with its community, provide accessible music to the people of Dorset and create a stimulating environment for local young musicians and children. Cerne Abbas was his chosen location, partly because of the excellent acoustics of the Church but also because of the village and its community.

Twenty-six years on :

• A group of Cerne Abbas residents still organises the Festival on the Gaudier’s and village’s behalf, totally on a volunteer basis.
• Musicians live in the village at the homes of local residents during the Festival.
• Rehearsals are informal and are open to the public.
• Ticket prices are a fraction of the full commercial cost of equivalent events of similar musical status and standard.
• Master classes are periodically organised for promising local musicians.
• There is a special"taster" concert forfamilies and children.
• Leading students of the Royal College of Music periodically join with the Gaudier Ensemble and play in one of the concerts.
• 2015 was the 25th Anniversary of the Festival.

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