Booking a ceilidh band

Booking a ceilidh band

If you’re planning an event and you’re considering booking a ceilidh band to help it go with a swing, where do you start?

Ceilidhs can be a fantastic way to celebrate weddings and other family celebrations. Dancing is a sociable way to bring people together, and a ceilidh is often planned as the main entertainment for a wedding reception in Scotland. Ceilidhs are also often organised as fundraising events, for work parties, corporate evenings, and as events to celebrate almost anything you can imagine.

If you’ve never organised a ceilidh before, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here’s a few thoughts on questions you might want to think about asking a band once you have decided who to contact.

Ceilidh dancers
Photo ©Ros Gasson

What is the band like?

* Does the band play for ceilidh dancing or Scottish country dancing? These are quite different styles, with ceilidh dancing being much less formal than Scottish country dancing. Some bands can quite happily play either style.

* If you’re not already familiar with the band, is it possible to hear them playing before you book them? It may be possible to go along as a guest to an event they already have in their diary, or the band may have recordings available for you to listen to. We have some recent recordings of Da Hooley in action on  our website.

* Does the band have experience of playing for similar events before?

* If you have an idea of specific dances you would like to be included in the event, are these in the band’s repertoire?

* Is the band available for the date you have in mind? Many bands have a calendar on their websites, showing dates they are already booked. You can see our current bookings on our gig page.

What will happen at the event?

* How long will the band play for? Often bands will take a short break in the middle of an evening.

* If you need a caller (someone to explain the dances), can the band provide one?

* Will the band want food during the evening? Band members may have to leave home late in the afternoon to travel to the venue, set up their sound system, and carry out a soundcheck in order to be ready to play for your event. Many events continue on until 11pm or later, so it’s likely the band will need to eat at some point during the evening.

What will it cost?

* How much will it cost? The basic cost of a hiring a ceilidh band will vary, depending mainly on the size of the band and their experience. Check what is included in your quote. Bands may charge extra for travel, overnight stays (if needed), providing extra band members for bigger gigs, hire of a sound system (PA), etc.

* Will the band provide their own sound system? If you’re planning a very large event (several hundred people) the band may need a larger sound system than they usually use. There are likely to be costs involved in this.

* Will the band ask for a deposit?

* Will the band provide a booking form with details of what has been agreed?

* When (and how) will the band expect to be paid?

* What happens in the event of a cancellation?

These are just a few of the things you might want to talk through before booking a ceilidh band for your event. If you have anything you want that’s out of the ordinary, discuss it with the band beforehand. The focus for a good band will be on helping you to create the event you want for you and your guests.

Good luck with your event! If you would like to enquire about booking Da Hooley ceilidh band for your event, you can fill in our online enquiry form, or get in touch with us through the details on our contact page.

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Page last updated September 2016