Ceilidh bands (sometimes also misspelt as kayleigh, caleigh or kaylee) perform the cheery melodies of Scottish and Irish (ceili) Gaelic folk music, guaranteed to make your feet tap and get everyone up dancing!
Consisting of small groups of musicians or large ensembles, ceilidh bands always feature a range of instruments, such as fiddles, accordions, pipes, guitar, piano, and drums, and can be amplified or acoustic.
Traditionally, a ceilidh band will include a ‘caller’ to teach or remind your guests of the dance routines, calling out reminders as each song progresses, ensuring you keep up with each move for the various dances.
From slow waltzes to a stomping, fast-paced ‘strip the willow’, a ceilidh is the best fun you can have in an evening’s entertainment, as well as a fantastic workout!
Read more .... "What is a ceilidh band and what do they do?"
Ceilidh bands will perform a range of jaunty, lively and uplifting traditional Scottish dance music, Irish ceili & traditional English folk music music, intermingled with slower waltzes (allowing you to catch your breath a bit!). They’re likely to play any of a range of traditional tunes, including:
The repertoire for each of our ceilidh bands is listed on their profile page.
Formed of anything from 2 to 8 and more members, Scottish and Irish Ceilidh bands incorporate a variety of traditional instruments, usually acoustic. The music they play will range from slow waltzes to fast polkas and everything in-between. Ceilidh bands often feature a ‘caller’ who will help get your guests through each dance with lots of gusto.
Again, with any number of members and occasionally performing with a ‘caller’, there are several ceilidh bands who perform crossover music – playing traditional Celtic ceilidh music and also offering a range of classic and contemporary rock and pop in a ceilidh band style, giving your party a brilliant, fun twist. Rock and pop music covered will include tunes from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison, The Beatles, and The Proclaimers. Many of these bands will also offer a range of other Celtic music, such as Whisky In The Jar, Flower o’ Scotland and Auld Lang Syne.
Our Ceilidh bands perform for private events internationally and nation-wide, most frequently in:
A ceilidh band is usually the main evening entertainment at events, offering an engaging and fantastically fun night. They’re perfect for occasions such as:
If you’re planning a wedding, a ceilidh band can provide lively entertainment for the evening reception, and can start the party by performing for the bride and groom’s first dance, before all the guests take to the floor. A ceilidh band can welcome or ‘pipe in’ the happy couple, to their wedding breakfast, if required too.
Ceilidhs are a common way to celebrate any occasion, and an excellent choice for a Hogmanay celebration, a private or corporate Burn’s supper or a Saint Patrick’s Day party where a big, lively event is called for.
At events where people are meeting each other for the first time, such as weddings and mixers, ceilidhs are fantastic ice breakers. They can include large or small groups of people and each dance is cyclical and very easy to pick up, so your guests can get into the swing and enjoy themselves within a few short bars.
If you want everyone on the dancefloor and to feel involved at your event, then a ceilidh band – no matter how big or small – will really get you and your guests moving.
The line-up of your chosen ceilidh band, whether they play acoustically or with amplification, and the acoustics of your venue will impact the band’s volume at your event. A ceilidh band – and the whooping of your guests! – can be loud and lively, somewhere in the region of 80–110 dB, so if you have your heart set on a ceilidh band, do bear this in mind when you’re looking at venues. Some venues will be constrained by volume restrictions and sound limiters, so we recommend you ask your venue about their setup. For more information on sound limiters, visit our guide to sound limiters here
This table outlines the general prices of Alive Network's ceilidh bands:
|Type of Artist||Cost Range|
|Ceilidh Duos||£300 - £1,065|
|3-piece ceilidh bands||£666 - £1,330|
|4-piece ceilidh bands||£540 - £1,920|
|5-piece ceilidh bands and larger||£790 - £1,265|
Adding or removing instrumentalists from your band will have implications on cost. You can reduce costs further by choosing a ceilidh band who are based close to your chosen venue, since their travel costs will be minimised. The location of each band is shown on their profile pages, and your Entertainment Coordinator can help by recommending a range of fantastic ceilidh musicians near your venue. You don’t need to limit yourself to local bands, however – your perfect ceilidh band may be willing to travel at minimal cost!
This list is made up of our most entertaining UK-based ceilidh bands that we recommend, based on a mixture of their popularity, high performance quality and originality:
Ceilidh bands normally perform two 60-minute sets, with many offering three 40-minute sets, or the option to play for longer. Generally, two sets work best but the band can advise on what format keeps the atmosphere lively and the dancefloor full.
Some bands also offer the option to finish after midnight, if your event calls for it.
This table gives an approximate guide to how much performance space various format ceilidh bands will need:
|Type of Band||Average Performance Space Required|
|Duos||3 × 2 metres|
|3-piece band||3 × 3 metres|
|4-piece band||4 × 3 metres|
|5- and 6-piece band||5 × 3 metres|
|7-piece band and larger||5/6 × 4 metres|
These rough measurements will vary, depending on the number of musicians and the type of instruments in the ceilidh band you select. Your Entertainment Coordinator can discuss the options with you further.
Providing they can park close to your venue’s performance area, it can take around 60 – 90 minutes for a ceilidh band to unload, set up and perform a vital sound check.
Following the ceilidh, the band usually takes around 30 – 60 minutes to pack away and load out.
Ceilidh bands usually need the following:
Most of Alive Network’s ceilidh bands can provide their own microphones, and PA sound system or amplifiers.
If your event will have 200+ guests, you may need to hire a separate PA sound system. Your dedicated Entertainment Coordinator can discuss the requirements for your short-listed ceilidh bands.
For a more comprehensive ceilidh band booking guide please read ‘Booking a ceilidh band – Everything you’ll ever need to know’.
As one of the leading ceilidh band agents our five star booking service ensures booking a ceilidh is easy and trouble free, with every booking backed up by a secure contract and 24/7 customer support. By booking with a trusted music agency you'll have the peace of mind to get on with enjoying your event!
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