Stumpy Oak

Ceilidh Band

Ceilidh FAQ

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about ceilidh dancing and booking below. Do contact us if you have any questions that aren’t answered!

You can also find a curated list of frequently asked questions about ceilidh bands and events on the Ceilidh Network website 

What is a ceilidh / barn dance?
A ceilidh / barn dance is an incredibly fun and active form of social dancing that people of all ages can take part in! You will always find someone to dance with and get the chance to meet a roomful of people. In the dances there’s often a recognisable structure, e.g. formations in squares, circles or lines, and a fairly regular pattern where the various couples do things in turn.

Do I need to know how to dance?
Not at all! We start simply, with our expert caller running you through the moves before the dance starts. The caller will continue to remind you what to do once the dance has started so that you won’t be confused.

Does the caller use gender free calling?
Yes. Our caller’s default approach is to use gender neutral calling, using clear demarcations such as ‘1 and 2’, the ‘accordion side’ and ‘guitar side’ (instead of ‘men’, ‘ladies’ etc). We’d be very happy to switch to gendered calling if that’s what you prefer.

What sort of music will the band play?
Lively and fun traditional music from the British Isles and beyond. We can even customise the music to your own requirements, should you or your guests have a favourite tune or dance in mind.

What is the format?
Dancing time is typically anywhere up to a total of 2 1/2 hours, usually with a break for refreshments halfway through. The band will play tunes at the start of the evening to get your guests in the mood for dancing and their feet tapping!

Can I request specific dances?
No problem! We’ll tailor the dances to the event in terms of difficulty and regional variations. Oft-requested dances include Strip The Willow and The Dashing White Sergeant.

Does the band bring a PA system?
Yes, we’ll bring our own PA system to amplify the musicians and caller. We can also arrange an early set-up, should you wish to have a background playlist and use a microphone for speeches.

Does the band have public liability insurance and electrical safety certificates?
The band is covered by public liability insurance and all equipment is PAT tested for electrical safety. A risk assessment is also available on request.

How long does the set-up/packing away take?
The band would usually arrive 60 mins prior to the start time to set-up equipment and set levels. This can be done quietly and behind a screen if required. We also offer an early set-up option. Packing down takes 30 mins.

What is required in terms of power and space?
The band requires 2 x 13-amp domestic electrical sockets and one chair to put the mixing desk on. Allow at least 4m width x 2.5m depth for the band and PA system and then as much space as possible after that for the dancing. For marquee venues which will have dance floors installed, please urge your venue manager to leave at least a 2.5m gap along the side the band will be placed so that they won’t take up any of the dance floor space.

Do the musicians require food and drink?
For catered events, we ask that you provide food and drinks for the musicians and caller. This could be as simple as sandwiches and a jug of water, or the musicians joining in with a buffet alongside event guests.

Can you provide (pre-recorded) background music between sets?
Yes – the band will provide a standard 3.5mm stereo jack to plug into a headphone socket on your phone, iPad etc. If your phone doesn’t have one, please bring the appropriate headphone adapter (e.g. Lightning/USB-C to 3.5mm headphone socket). We recommend downloading playlists so they play locally from the device to avoid issues associated with poor reception.

About booking

How much does it cost?
We can tailor something for your budget. Contact us for a full quote.

What are the booking terms/conditions?
A non-refundable deposit of 20-25% made at the time of booking secures the date, with the balance payable on the day of the event in cash (or by bank transfer prior to the performance). Once booked, cancellation and postponement terms apply. Full terms and conditions are available on request and are provided on the contract at the time of booking.

Can you also offer a DJ/disco & ceremony music?
We are pleased to offer packages with ceilidh band and a DJ, plus other options including background bar music and even ceremony music (e.g. string quartet, pianist, harpist). We employ award-winning DJs and renowned musicians; set-up time and disruption is minimised since the same sound system can be used throughout. Please use the Book/contact link to talk to us about securing your ideal musical line-up!

What sort of events do you play?
We play for parties, weddings, charity events and other functions. Barn dances / ceilidhs work equally well in the afternoon or the evening.

How about corporate events & schools workshops?
Why not consider a barn dance /ceilidh for your next team-building event? We are also able to offer attractively-priced school workshops with musicians and a caller. A number of our personnel are trained teachers and all those visiting schools hold a current enhanced DBS check.