5 stars - Ceol Mhor are Highly Recommended11 Reviews Number of members: 4Derbyshire
Ceol Mhor are a great Irish folk, ballads, jigs & reels band - if you like the Pogues, Dubliners & Wolfetones then you will love these guys! Suitable for literally ANY event; this band play clubs & pubs, festivals, weddings & more!...
5 stars - Connery are Highly Recommended41 Reviews Number of members: 4Cheshire
Professional male lead 4-piece Irish band playing a lively range of traditional & contemporary Irish, Scottish or English songs & tunes plus Celtic & Country Rock. Full PA supplied. Full Ceilidh with caller if required. Great for parties & celebrations!...
5 stars - David Pianist and Irish Whistle Player are Highly Recommended9 Reviews Number of members: 1West Midlands
David is a talented and versatile multi-genre Pianist and Irish tin whistle player from Birmingham, with over 20 years experience. Having performed at a variety of functions and weddings, with clients such as Cafe Rouge and John Lewis, David will tailor his performance to suit your event....
5 stars - The Shanty Buoys are Highly Recommended1 Reviews Number of members: 5Suffolk
The Shanty Buoys are a wandering acoustic group home-brewed in rural Suffolk with an unmistakably bold and original sound covering folk, sea shanties and acoustic folk covers of contemporary songs and '90s classics. ...
5 stars - Gypsy Rogues are Highly Recommended74 Reviews Number of members: 4West Midlands
This fantastic 4 piece Irish & ceilidh band has enjoyed a steady rise to success with a number of radio and TV appearances, two fast-selling self-produced CDs, and a reputation as ‘one of the best Irish bands to come out of Birmingham’....
5 stars - The Banjo Guy are Highly Recommended5 Reviews Number of members: 1Cornwall
An award winning & highly experienced Banjo player providing fun & unique entertainment! From exciting foot tapping bluegrass to interpretations of Jazz, Blues & Romantic pieces, The Banjo Guy is musically versatile & ready to entertain at any occasion!...
5 stars - The Irish Ceilidh Band are Highly Recommended7 Reviews Number of members: 4Vale of Glamorgan
Introducing you to real Irish Ceilidh; guaranteed to get your feet stomping! This high energy 4-piece band features an array of traditional instruments from the fiddle, whistles and the Irish Bodhran! Complete with outstanding musicianship, warm wit and Irish charm, The Irish Ceilidh Band have entertained crowds across the UK!...
5 stars - Amhran are Highly Recommended2 Reviews Number of members: 2Cardiff
A lively and professional duo performing the very best Irish tunes! With warm wit and the Irish party spirit, Amhran are the perfect choice for any occasion! Previous clients include Cheltenham Race Festival, Robert Smith from The Cure, International Folk Festival in Guernsey, Welsh Rugby Union & more!...
5 stars - Mario Lee (Accordionist) are Highly Recommended5 Reviews Number of members: 1Devon
With a wealth of music from around the globe, Mario Lee has entertained audiences with a dazzling display of virtuosity. From Greek to Russian, sing-along to classical, standards to easy listening, why not try a night's entertainment with a difference?...
5 stars - The Celtic Folkers are Highly Recommended4 Reviews Number of members: 2Cornwall
A Celtic music band from Cornwall, who play a powerful mix of Cornish, Irish and Scottish folk music. With a scintillating blend of high energy folk songs, rousing sea shanties and buoyant instrumental arrangements, The Celtic Folkers can be sure to get any crowd going....
5 stars - Lord Strange are Highly Recommended2 Reviews Number of members: 3London
Lord Strange are a striking instrumental folk trio that perform traditional tunes from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Scandinavia, America & more! With a flexible repertoire & a caller also available, Lord Strange are perfect for all types of events!...
5 stars - Artys Party are Highly Recommended52 Reviews Number of members: 3Swansea
A lively group of musicians including a Brit Award and Mercury Music Prize nominee. Arty’s Party play Irish singalong standards. You can dance the night away to the ceilidh calling dance tunes such as the Seige of Ennis, the Gay Gordons, Strip the Willow....
5 stars - The Whiskey Priests are Highly Recommended1 Reviews Number of members: 5Staffordshire
The Whiskey Priests are a good time band bringing you the luck, charm and talent of the Irish! Performing live sets bursting with soul, joy and real musicianship, The Whiskey Priests perform songs from The Dubliners, The Pogues, The Waterboys and tons more!...
...and over 294Irish / Folk Band5-star reviews. Read more here.
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Everything you need to know to hire Traditional Irish / Folk Bands for your event
What are Folk Bands?
Arising from working communities, traditional folk music tells of a bygone culture and history. Often performed as part of local customs or to commemorate events, traditional folk music has been orally passed down through the generations. The modern notion of folk music came about in the 1960s, reflecting social changes at the time, with acoustic instruments and profoundly evocative lyrics.
Nowadays, folk bands are still singing the song of the ‘common people’, but fully-amplified as well as acoustic and covering all styles of folk music – from traditional to modern, from Irish and Scottish, to English and American.
A folk band can be made up of several members, anything from 3–5 musicians, playing a variety of instruments, from guitar, banjo and mandolin to fiddle, drums, accordion and whistles. Many folk bands also feature a vocalist. From slow, wistful melodies to fast foot-stomping jigs, folk bands can take you on a musical journey through our cultural landscape, all in one performance. And, if you haven’t experienced folk music before, you’ll be surprised how you get sucked into the beat – it’s the rhythm of your ancestors!
What music will a Folk Band play?
Folk bands will perform a whole spectrum of sprightly jigs and reels, swaying sea shanties, raucous drinking songs, and haunting love melodies and sad stories of old to make you stomp your feet, sway, or reach for the tissues! You’re likely to hear a repertoire crammed with traditional tunes, including:
Auld Lang Syne
Dirty Old Town
Flower of Scotland
Only Our Rivers Run Free
Out On The Ocean
Tell Me Ma
The Auld Triangle
The Leaving of Liverpool
The Rattlin’ Bog
The Skye Boat Song
The Wild Rover
Whiskey In The Jar
Maid Behind The Bar
Red Haired Mary
Fields Of Athenry
A Life on The Open Waves
Some of our folk bands will also perform pop songs in a traditional folk style. The set list for each of our folk bands features on their profile page.
Popular types of Folk Bands
1. Traditional Irish Folk Bands
Formed of anything from 2 to 6 members, traditionally they will focus their repertoire on Irish folk music, such as Drowsy Maggie, Finnegan’s Wake, Four Green Fields, and Whiskey in The Jar. Sometimes featuring a singer, Irish folk bands are made up of a variety of instruments, which are traditionally acoustic, but are often amplified nowadays. Bands can include a range of instruments such as guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, Celtic bodhran drums, accordion, Celtic harp, bagpipes, whistles and flutes. Their songs are for dancing, lamenting, and singing, so you’ll hear a real range of emotions in the repertoire of an Irish folk band.
2. Modern Irish Bands
Mixing Irish classics with contemporary hits, our modern Irish bands always get the party started! With a musical line-up similar to traditional Irish Folk Bands, their modern counterparts often feature vocals, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, drums, flute, whistle, and keyboard. You can expect to hear classics such as Galway Girl, Irish Rover and Dirty Old Town, and songs from artists like Van Morrison, U2, and Mumford and Sons.
3. English Folk Groups
With traditional instrumental line-ups, typically consisting of accordion, guitar, drums, and often with a ‘caller’ to keep your guests’ dancing on track, English folk groups will play traditional tunes and shanties including Blaydon Races, In And Out Of The Window, The Dorset Four-Hand Reel, and Bobby Shaftoe.
Where in the UK do Alive Folk Bands perform?
Our folk bands provide amazing entertainment for private and corporate events nationwide and internationally, most often playing in:
If you’re planning a festival-style wedding, a folk band can deliver an atmosphere of informal fun, playing a beautiful heart-felt romantic sway to accompany the bride down the aisle, and a jaunty celebratory tune as the happy couple return back up the aisle together. They can play a range of background or lively music for a drinks reception, and – needless to say – can really get the party going for an evening wedding reception!
A folk band is a fantastic way to celebrate many occasions, and an excellent choice for a Hogmanay celebration or a private or corporate St Patrick’s Day party where a big, lively event is called for, and you want all your guests to be tapping their toes, clapping their hands and getting moving on the dancefloor.
For folk bands that include dancing and ‘callers’ as part of their package, they can provide an interactive evening of dancing, and the caller can explain how each dance is done, making the process simple. Many folk dances are cyclical and really simple to get the gist of, so your guests can easily begin enjoying themselves within a few twirls.
Space considerations at your event
The amount of performance space your folk band will need, is very much dependant on the line-up you choose. A folk duo will usually need a lot less space than a 5-piece folk band. If space is an issue at your venue, you can opt to add or remove musicians from most of Alive Network’s folk bands.
If you’re booking your folk band to be central to a dance party, you and your guests will need lots of space to burl around the dancefloor!
There are many factors that can influence the volume of a folk band’s performance: the line-up, the type of instruments, whether they play with amplification, and the acoustics of your venue are all key to your chosen band’s volume at your celebration. Folk bands are generally lively and loud, often in the region of 80–110 dB. Do bear this in mind when you’re booking a venue – we’d suggest you check with your venue whether they have noise restrictions or sound limiters fitted, as this can impact on the whole event. For more information on sound limiters, visit this page.
How much does a Folk Band cost?
The approximate costs for our folk bands are outlined in this table:
Type of Artist
£300 – £960
3-piece folk bands
£540 – £1,330
4-piece folk bands
£780 – £1,020
5-piece folk bands
£850 – £1,210
Adding or removing instrumentalists from most folk bands will impact the cost.
You can minimise costs by choosing a folk band based close to your venue – the location of each band is featured on their profile pages, and your Entertainment Coordinator can recommend a range of great folk bands near your venue.
Who are the top 10 Folk Bands in the UK right now?
Below are the UK folk bands that we feel are currently among the best, based on a combination of performance quality, novelty, and popularity:
Folk bands normally play two 45- or 60-minute sets, with breaks in-between. Many also offer three 40-minute sets, or the option to play for less of for longer, so you can choose what will best fit with your event.
How much space will a Folk Band need?
When you’re considering booking a folk band, it’s important to think about how you can accommodate your band at your chosen venue. This table gives a rough idea of how much performance space different sizes of folk bands will need:
Type of Folk Band
Performance Space Required
3 × 2 metres
3 × 3 metres
4 × 3 metres
5 × 3 metres
Depending on the number of musicians and the type of instruments in the folk band you choose, these approximate measurements will vary. Your Entertainment Coordinator can discuss the requirements of individual bands with you further.
How long will it take for a Folk Band to set up?
If they can park close to your venue’s performance area, it can take around 60 – 90 minutes for a folk band to unload, set up and perform their vital sound check.
Following their performance, the band can take around 30 – 60 minutes to pack away and load out.
What equipment will a Folk Band need?
Folk bands will bring much of their equipment with them, but may need a range of additional things to help them perform well at your event, such as:
a secure, lockable changing room
parking provision with easy venue access
refreshments – soft drinks and hot food, depending how long you’ve booked them to perform
shelter from the sun, wind and rain, if they’ve agreed to play outside
a sturdy, armless chair for each musician
decent lighting – particularly if they’re playing somewhere like a marquee
a dedicated, suitably-sized, safe, dry, and flat performance area
a minimum of four 13 amp power sockets, depending on the line-up and whether they’re fully amplified or acoustic
Most of Alive Network’s folk bands will provide their own microphones, and PA sound system or amp.
If you’re planning a large event with over 200 guests, you may need an additional PA sound system, which you can hire separately. Your dedicated Entertainment Coordinator will be happy to discuss the requirements for your selected folk band.
Safe, Secure Irish / Folk Band Hire Backed By 24/7 Cover!
Aside from finding some of the best Irish / Folk Bands in the UK and getting expert advice from our friendly staff, one of the main reasons to hire a Irish / Folk Band from Alive Network Entertainment Agency is security. We ensure your booking is covered 24/7 against any eventuality, so that no matter what, you can enjoy your event without worrying about whether your entertainment will turn up. If your Irish / Folk Band is ill or unable to perform, our team will be on hand to source a suitable replacement even out of office hours and at short notice. Imagine having to do that yourself!?
Outstanding five-star customer service
Emergency cover 24/7, 365 days a year
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Established in 1999, Alive Network has grown to become the UK's largest live entertainment agency and one of the leading online entertainment booking services in the world. We specialise in wedding entertainment, party entertainment and corporate entertainment, trusted by companies like Apple, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Coca-Cola & Nike, and we have helped over 110,000 customers to hire the perfect live entertainment for their events. We are formally partnered with BIMM, the largest and leading provider of contemporary music education in the UK and Europe, ensuring that we are able to bring you the very best new talent exclusively at Alive Network.
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