Ceilidh dances

I have played for ceilidhs for nearly 25 years; for weddings, parties, festivals, conferences and other events.

I now work with several different local experienced musicians to play these events, usually as a duo which gives a rich sound but keeps the costs down. It also increases my own availability for dances.

Alongside the duo there is of course also a dance caller.

If you want a bigger band, with a bigger sound system that plays concerts too, there’s the band I play with: Greenman Rising.

Have a read of this page (and the rest of the website) and get in touch with any questions, without obligation.

Just for info. I’m based in Coventry.


What do you need to organise a dance?

We can provide:

  • Musicians (us).
  • Amplification. We bring a state of the art Bose L1 system which is loud enough to hear for the dance, but won’t drown out conversation.
  • “Caller”, an expert who teaches the dances and help everyone enjoy the event. We know plenty, so usually arrange this ourselves.

You need to provide:

A room, ideally with a dance floor and a stage area for the band. Talk to us about making the most of your venue.

A plan for the event:

A typical evening programme might be:

  • 7.00 Band arrives to set up.
  • 7.30 Doors open.
  • 8.00 Dancing starts.
  • 9.00 Interval.
  • 9.30 Dancing continues.
  • 10.30 End (often the start of a disco at weddings).

If you need to have speeches, have us play “happy birthday”, or want more breaks just let us know your plan.

If the event is open to the public, you may need to arrange an event licence (usually available online from your council). Check with the venue.

Insurance (we and our callers have £5 million public liability insurance).

A risk assessment and method statement if venues or organisations demand one. These are straight forward, and we can help if you need it.

This is a Barn Dance isn’t it?

Yes and no: a Barn Dance can mean English Country Dancing (what we do best!) but more often the word Ceilidh (pronounced “kay - lee”) is used.

You know your audience best, so use either or both. The important thing is not to think we are an American style barn dance with cowboy hats, or an Irish or Scots Ceilidh which has different dances and often lots of other musical acts.

See: Is it English Country Dance, Ceilidh or a Barn Dance?

Do you come with a dance caller, or can we choose our own?

We normally arrange a caller as a package with the band. After the initial enquiry, if you wish to go ahead with a booking then we’ll need a few days to confirm the availability of the caller.

We like to match our caller to the audience. If you are beginners we can find a caller to be kind to you, or someone to stretch experienced dancers, or a caller who can avoid the “first man takes second lady” language for a lesbian/gay friendly dance.

If there’s a caller you already like then that could be arranged too, depending upon availability.

What are the technical requirements?

The PA needs just one standard 13A socket.

A minimum area of 12 by 10 feet for the musicians (ideally on a stage), with approx 6 feet clear behind us.

This is an ideal situation, get in touch and discuss what you have available.

Lots of space for dancing.

How do we make a booking?

The first thing to do is get in touch by email or telephone. We can discuss your event without obligation. We have experience of playing at many different events so this discussion is important.

After the discussion, if you wish to proceed, we’ll confirm the date, our availability and that of a caller.

At that point we’ll send you a formal quote and a contract. You will need to read and sign the contract and then return it with a 10% deposit.

How do we pay you?

When a booking is confirmed we ask for a 10% deposit. This can be paid by cheque or a bank transfer.

For the balance, cash on the day is the traditional way. This means that we can divide the money and defray expenses straight away without any further complications.

If any of this is a problem, then please tell us before any bookings are finalised.

Andrew Wigglesworth
Melodeon and whistle player

Slightly obsessed with playing traditional music.