Welcome to our page about ceilidh bands in Wales, or Twmpath bands if you prefer! To widen your search just click on a band below or go to our Homepage and type in ‘Wales’ in the relevant drop box. Simples!
Merseyside based Barn Dance and Ceilidh band with vast experience as you can see...More Info
Based in South Wales – but this band will also venture across the Bristol...More Info
*BAND VIDEO* of concert performance (caller available for ceilidhs) – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI_gPi5STBk This is...More Info
FOR BAND VIDEO CLIP see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZzwFql31P0 This Scottish Ceilidh trio have played in every...More Info
A lively (but perfectly formed) ceilidh band for all sorts of occasions that play tunes...More Info
Jigs ‘N’ Reels is a specialist agency. In Wales, both North and South, we only represent ceilidh bands, twmpath bands, barn dance bands and hoedown style bands and NOTHING ELSE. We have been doing this for around thirty years now and doing what we do, we do well, focusing only on ceilidh bands to suit your particular event. You won’t get a band through us who can ‘do a bit of ceilidh’! They’ll do LOTS of ceilidh.
We’ve tried to cover the main points below but please do raise any questions either via
1 – our enquiry form at https://jigsnreels.com/contact/ or
2 – by text or telephone on 0788 788 7917 or landline 01905 424411 and leave a message. We prefer to actually talk to people on the phone because a five minutes natter can give us a very good idea about your event and which ceilidh bands or twmpath bands would be most suitable for your event and budget.
Okay, so you’re searching for ceilidh bands in Wales but maybe not fully sure how to go about it. At least you used the word ceilidh so it’s probably safe to assume that you already have a pretty good idea of what’s involved. Our ceilidh bands are either based in Wales or may be based in the counties in England which border the Principality. This means that they will be based relatively close to your chosen venue rather than travelling vast distances on congested roads (which also bumps up travelling expenses).
Usually, this is the first question people ask – how much do ceilidh bands in Wales charge? On this page, it’s just not sensible to try to cover the fee scale of every band on our website (but please try the search box at the top of this page for more accurate pricing). In broad terms, we work on smaller ceilidh bands of 3 performers including the caller charging between £500-£650, the larger ceilidh bands around £650-£1000. Obviously, prices do vary from band to band for several reasons (numbers in the band, travel expenses, the standard of their equipment, the band’s reputation).
Within any fees quoted, all the ceilidh bands would include all travel expenses to/from your venue, their own PA/amplification system, set up their gear during the hour before performing followed by their performing two sets of ceilidh dancing over an approximate 3 hour or so period. Each set lasts roughly an hour and there is usually an extended break at some point between sets for food/buffet arrangements or similar. Musicians also appreciate this break to stop their little fingers dropping off! Of course, each event differs and yours may be working to a slightly different timetable. That’s fine, just point out what you have in mind and the ceilidh band can probably adjust to suit. There’s more about timings and other related points at https://jigsnreels.com/have-a-great-night/
No doubt, most people know about the introduction of congestion and emission charges (or similar) in some of our larger cities. Currently, we read that Cardiff is also considering similar measures so who is to say when that may actually happen there or elsewhere? Such charges are a variable depending on the ‘where and when’ and are not included in quotations. It’s also possible that your venue does not have its own parking area for performers and guests in which case ceilidh bands may have to use local pay-parking areas for the evening. To avoid any doubt, all band prices quoted will NOT include these types of variable costs (but we can check these costs for you once specific date, times and venue have been forwarded). The last thing anybody wants is confusion over the cost of booking your band.
Another aspect to consider is hospitality for band members as well. Band members will have missed out on a traditional meal time whilst travelling, setting up their gear in readiness to perform at your event and would expect to be invited to partake, free of charge, in food and drink hospitality during the event.
Let’s start with the Caller. All our ceilidh bands in Wales area will always include a Caller and the caller’s fee is always included within any quotations. This person might be one of the ceilidh bands’ musicians but usually he/she will be a separate individual who focuses solely on the actual dancing aspects of the night with a quick ‘run-through’ of each dance to begin with and ‘calling’ reminders of these moves while each dance is in progress. A teacher of sorts but NOT a classroom teacher. They will keep their banter light-hearted and won’t shoot any of the dancers if they make mistakes or get the dance ‘wrong’. In fact, getting things wrong is often part of the fun. The whole idea is for the people involved to have FUN by participating, getting the hang of the moves within the dance and mixing with other dancers. It’s also the caller’s job to encourage a relaxed atmosphere, chuck in the odd bit humour and keep the dances to a level whereby just about anybody can join in. Our FAQs tab at the top of this page leads to several questions asked about the Caller.
Now, what about the musicians?
Some of the smaller, more ‘compact’ ceilidh bands are worth looking at when considering a limited budget for, say, a fundraiser or a ceilidh party for limited numbers. Very often, these bands might be a trio including a caller or two musicians with their caller. These smaller line-ups take up little performance area. Also, some of the larger ceilidh bands are willing to downsize (especially during the less popular months) to suit those sorts of occasions.
But most ceilidh bands comprise at least three or four musicians and a caller. This allows more musical variety by way of instruments. Lots of our ceilidh bands are led by a ‘squeezebox’ player (accordion or melodeon) or a fiddle with further accompaniment by, for example, guitar, banjo, woodwind, keyboards/piano or drums. These larger bands also provide a greater visible presence, which can be a bonus when performing on a stage at venues. However, don’t run away with the idea that a stage is essential – because it is not.
What sort of dances will we do? If you are an experienced ceilidh-goer you’ll know all about the types of dances. For the less experienced dancers, they will be glad to know that the dances are kept straightforward and simple, particularly during the early part of the night. That’s when the Caller is weighing up their audience, calculating people’s responses, capabilities and enthusiasm. Dancing usually involves you and a dance partner dancing with other couples in dance sets. The sets can take circle shapes, square sets and longways sets (in lines facing your partner) and the Caller will make all this clear. In many of the dances, you and your partner will interact with other dance couples as well. There are also the ‘progressive’ dances where you can ‘lose’ your partner and be switched to a new dance partner as an intended feature of the dance. All very touchy/feely – the phrase ‘ice-breaker’ has been used by many people to describe the inter-mingling effect. Ceilidh dancing is, then, different to line dancing (where a person dances solo to set moves to Country & Western music) and the two traditions should not be confused.
Ceilidh bands, of course, sound very similar to barn dance bands and American style hoedown bands. It’s all that diddly-diddly stuff isn’t! It’s a fact that the different genres overlap and most people would not notice much difference. Bit like when I listen to Jazz! To the more attuned ear, there are differences which you can read about in more detail on our FAQs page listed above. The real point is that we will be able to provide ceilidh bands in Wales for your Twmpath as well as any of the other styles of traditional dance bands in the area.
But here’s a very quick rundown of what our ceilidh bands do and how they can differ.
TWMPATHS and CEILIDHS? The terms mean generally the same thing – lively traditional dances mostly from the British Isles to very danceable-to music. The dance stepping does not need to be complicated or too precise. It is far more important that the music inspires people to want to dance. There really won’t be any time to teach ‘fancy footwork’. In any case, the majority of people respond in time to music and the two-left-footed also usually muddle through. For a Twmpath night some of the bands will also use Welsh music of a similar style. You’ll find that you can dance just as well to these Welsh tunes as any of the more widely known Scottish and Irish tunes.
What about SCOTTISH CEILIDH BANDS?
Scottish ceilidhs are very popular, even in Wales! Scottish style ceilidh bands can be broken down into two slightly different levels. In Wales we can provide the specialist Scottish Ceilidh bands who will only perform the music and dances from within the Scottish tradition for ceilidhs and Scottish Country Dance – what we call the ‘Strictly Scottish’ ceilidh bands. These bands will perform (either with their caller or the host’s own MC) to exacting dance music standards. As examples, dances may include ‘Eightsome Reel’, ‘Hamilton House’, ‘Posties Jig’.
But maybe you’re considering a Scottish night and those dances mean absolutely nothing to you. That’s OK because most others haven’t heard of them. You can still run a Scottish style ceilidh with some of our other ceilidh bands who will have a good repertoire of the more popular Scottish dances/music like ‘Gay Gordons’, ‘Dashing White Sergeant’, ‘Strip The Willow’. These dances, when mixed with other ceilidh dances, still leave you and your guests with a real Scottish flavour without the need for the dancing to be too exacting. Perfect choice for a Burns Night Supper ceilidh.
IRISH CEILIDH BANDS (or spelt ceili bands in the Irish tradition but the exact same pronunciation) do also perform in Wales. Their music is generally from the Irish ceili traditional style. Their repertoire might also include popular Irish dances like ‘Siege of Ennis’ or ‘Walls of Limerick’. Often the Irish bands also include a vocalist for song entertainment as well. However, these bands do NOT perform for Irish set-dances or ‘River Dance’ style Irish step dancing, both of which are a different matter altogether. Again, visit our FAQs page above for more detailed explanation.
FOLK ROCK CEILIDH BANDS have also emerged using electric guitars (as opposed to amplified acoustic guitars), bass instruments, keyboards and, of course, drums. Though the music is still mainly traditional tunes, they are given a heavier, harder, funkier sound and a lead electric guitar can be the lead instrument (though we haven’t heard that Clapton or Brian May have joined any ceilidh bands…yet!) These bands often include a vocalist for some ‘covers’ song entertainment as part of your ceilidh party. Also, they may use backing track music to enhance the overall sound experience.
ALL our ceilidh bands in Wales provide their own PA/amplification systems. They will require the venue to provide electric standard domestic type square pin 13 amp sockets. Other than that, the bands have their own extension cables, speakers and mixer deck and can easily control the volume to suit your event.
We also insist that all our ceilidh bands also have the standard insurances and test certification for their electric equipment. Many venues also insist on bands providing Public Liability Insurance cover (minimum £250,000) and PAT certification for electric gear.
Can we recommend somewhere in your area? What type of venue works best for your event? Obviously, there are stacks of venues in Wales. We cannot claim to know them all, naturally, and would hate to be accused of any particular bias either in favour or against (in public at least!).
For events like WEDDING RECEPTIONS, it’s best to check out some of the websites dedicated to such venues since we know how important it is to consider many other aspects for the day besides just booking your ceilidh band. In our FAQs pages, we go into more detail, however, about some choices facing you regarding room sizes, space required and which flooring works best (yep, all that sort of riveting reading!)
And will a ceilidh be a good idea for your wedding reception? We’ve covered all that in our FAQs as well!
When considering the more LOCAL FUNCTIONS like fundraiser events, local social nights, harvest suppers, clubs, parent/teachers or private party (like a birthday) we suggest checking out local school halls or village halls (and most local authorities can give you contact details for such places) or local sports club-houses/golf clubs. Some of the village halls which were lottery-funded can provide excellent spaces with other facilities to match at very reasonable rates.
And BARNS? Well, they can vary quite a lot, can’t they? There are quite a few dedicated function barns with all the types of usual facilities that you would expect in a hotel or modern functions centres. Working barns can be a different matter. They need to be clean, have electricity supply and some level flooring as well as shelter from the elements. An old rustic open-sided barn sounds great but just hope that the weather holds good for you.
What about the GREAT OUTDOORS? Dancing outside in the balmy late evening sunshine? Problem is, can you count on the weather? It’s always best to have some contingency plan if the sun no longer has his hat on. The band and their equipment will still need cover (just in case!) and suitable electric power supply. Worst case scenario – the band arrive and set up, then the heavens open and the night is killed off by the weather. Without a contingency plan, your night could turn into a bit of a nightmare but the band will still need to be paid (unless they brought the bad weather with them!) Oh, and dancing on grass can be very tiring. You’ll know about it the next morning.
HOTELS? Oh yes, hotels!
There are some fabulous hotel venues, especially for those really special events like wedding celebrations. They often offer extensive grounds, good parking facilities, overnight accommodation obviously and many have very good dedicated function rooms which are ideal for ceilidhs. Booking a hotel will be more expensive of course. Is the additional expense what you really want when considering a ceilidh?
Weddings apart, if you intend to book a hotel just for a ceilidh party, do let them know that your entertainment is to be ceilidh dancing rather than, say, a disco. In our experience, some hotels are not even sure what a ceilidh is. The management expect you to dance on thick carpeted floors (which can be rather heavy going, dancing-wise) or sometimes they cover the dance area with their slightly raised interlocking parquet squares. These squares are really designed for disco dancing and cover hardly any area at all – not suitable at all for ceilidh dancing. You might almost think that they are more interested in protecting their carpet than ensuring that your party goes with a swing! And then, of course, they may have a sound limiter installed.
Yep, you’ve guessed it – the sound limiter and similar questions are also on our FAQs page.
Don’t forget, if you need any further advice, we are looking forward to hearing from you.