By searching for a Ceilidh Band in Yorkshire, you’ve come to the right place. Just click on some of our local ceilidh bands below or head over to our Homepage and pop ‘North England’ into the drop boxes.
Here’s a group of talented musicians, who have been playing individually for many years...More Info
Here’s some extremely gifted musicians. First there’s Simon (melodeon) and Nina (piano)….Simon has been...More Info
Scottish Ceilidh band (SEE VIDEO LINK BELOW) based in/around Leeds, Yorkshire comprising accordion, fiddle,...More Info
Based in Yorkshire, this very versatile (in traditional style) band can offer a night...More Info
The band-Jan, Roy, and Nigel have been playing for /running dances for many years....More Info
Our agency, ‘Jigs ‘N’ Reels’ specialises in ceilidh bands (as well as barn dance and hoedown bands). We do not get side-tracked by representing anything else. For around the last thirty years it has been our aim to provide ceilidh bands that meet the requirements and expectations of our clients because that’s all that we do and we have no choice but to make sure that we get it right!
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
We also know that it helps to actually talk to people on the phone. We can get a better handle on your event after a five minutes chat to chew over which ceilidh bands (or barn dance or hoedown bands) which would be most suitable for your event and budget.
Please also remember that there are many other similar bands which we represent and several ceilidh bands not even yet listed on our website.
Okay, so you want a ceilidh band in Yorkshire but maybe not fully sure how to go about it. By your use of the word ceilidh in your search we are assuming that you already have a pretty good idea of what’s involved. Our ceilidh bands are either based in Yorkshire or may be based in nearby areas and willing to travel. 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). Our ceilidh bands are reliable and always turn up (never had any horror stories in that respect) and that local knowledge probably has something to do with it.
This is usually the first question people ask – how much does a ceilidh band in Yorkshire charge? We can’t cover the fee scale of every band on this page (but please try the search box at the top of this page for more accurate pricing). As a budget guide, we would suggest that most smaller ceilidh bands of 3 performers including the caller run to between £450-£600, 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 and so on). Reputation can be an important factor.
Within any fees quoted, every ceilidh band would include all travel expenses to/from your venue, their own PA/amplification system, set up their gear during the hour before performing and perform two sets of ceilidh or barn dance during an approximate 3 hour or so period. Each dance set lasts about an hour or so with an extended break at some point between sets for food/buffet arrangements or similar. This break for the ceilidh makes sure that their little fingers don’t drop off! However, each event differs and yours may be working to a slightly different timetable which we would discuss with you. That’s no problem, 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/
We expect most people know about the introduction of congestion and emission charges (or similar) in some of our cities. Currently, it seems that Leeds, Bradford, York and Sheffield are considering such charges. And who is to say when some of the other larger urban areas in Yorkshire may start following suit? Such charges are a variable depending on the ‘where and when’ and are not included in quotations. Also, if a venue does not have its own parking area for performers and guests, your ceilidh band 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. However, we are happy to 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, causing embarrassment on the night.
We need to clarify the situation regarding refreshments 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. Ceilidh bands march on their stomachs!
Let’s take the Caller, a vital piece of equipment within any ceilidh band. All our ceilidh bands in Yorkshire will always include a Caller and the caller’s fee is always included within any quotations. This might be one of the ceilidh bands’ musicians but usually he/she will be a separate individual whose main considerations are the actual dancing aspects of the night, explaining the moves with a ‘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 in any strict formal way. They aim to keep their banter light-hearted and won’t be upset if some of the dancers make mistakes or get the dance ‘wrong’. Nobody will be shot dawn! Our idea of ceilidhs is for the people involved to have FUN by participating, getting the hang of the moves within the dance and mixing with other dancers. Much of the caller’s role is to make for a relaxed atmosphere 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.
Then there are the musicians.
Sometimes, budget can be restricted for various reasons like or perhaps space may be a bit on the tight side. We can offer some of the more ‘compact’ ceilidh bands to suit a more 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 in Yorkshire have at least three or four musicians and a caller. This presents more musical variety by way of instruments. Many of our traditional ceilidh bands have a ‘squeezebox’ player (accordion or melodeon) or a fiddle as the lead instruments accompanied by other instruments …. guitar, banjo, woodwind, keyboards/piano or drums. Another bonus in booking these larger bands is that such bands provide a greater visible presence which is very handy when performing on a stage at venues. However, if the venue does not have a stage, it’s not a problem for band performances.
And the actual dancing? Experienced ceilidh-goers will know all about the types of dances. But if you are less experienced dancers, you’ll be pleased to hear that the dances are kept straightforward and simple, particularly during the early part of the night. That’s when the Caller is sussing out people, weighing up their 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 for four couples and longways sets (in lines facing your partner). During most of these dances, you and your partner interact with other dance couples as well. In what are known as ‘progressive’ dances, you can ‘lose’ your partner and be switched to a new dance partner, not by accident but by design, 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. Ceilidhs or barn dances are not to be confused with line dancing where you dance solo usually to Country & Western music – totally different ball game.
Ceilidh bands, of course, sound very similar to barn dance bands and American style hoedown bands and most people think it’s just diddly-diddly and all that stuff! It’s a fact that the different genres overlap and most people would not notice much difference. But to the more attuned ear, there are differences which you can read about in more detail on our FAQs page listed above.
But here’s a very quick rundown of what our ceilidh bands do and how they can differ.
ENGLISH CEILIDH? Ever heard of that? Most people haven’t (except folk dance music devotees). Try to imagine a Thomas Hardy harvest-time barn dance knees-up but with the music much more energetic and bursting with enthusiasm! Their music style can be from the British Isles, America, World Music and sometimes influences from Jazz or Ska – but all very suitable music for the popular ceilidh dances. These ceilidh bands might explain the whole thing far better if you listen to their music and many of them are very popular at the major folk festivals in the UK (and abroad).
What about SCOTTISH CEILIDH BANDS?
Scottish style ceilidh bands broadly perform at two slightly different levels. In Yorkshire, 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’.
However, if you’ve never heard of any of those dances above, don’t worry. For a Scottish style ceilidh, not everybody really needs a band that performs to those standards. Our ceilidh bands for Scottish nights will have a good repertoire of the more popular Scottish dances/music like ‘Gay Gordons’, ‘Dashing White Sergeant’, ‘Strip The Willow’ which, mixed with other ceilidh dances, still provide a real Scottish flavour without the need for the dancing to be too exacting.
IRISH CEILIDH BANDS (or spelt ceili bands in the Irish tradition but the exact same pronunciation) do also perform in the Yorkshire area. Their music is generally from the Irish ceili traditional style for performing several of the popular Irish dances like ‘Siege of Ennis’ or ‘Walls of Limerick’. Sometimes the Irish bands also include a vocalist for song entertainment as well. But 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. Their music might still be mainly traditional tunes but the music is arranged to give a heavier, harder, funkier sound. Lead electric guitar might 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 as well as using backing track music to enhance the overall sound experience.
The different styles of ceilidh bands are discussed in greater detail in our FAQs.
ALL our ceilidh bands in Yorkshire have their own PA/amplification systems. The venue will need to provide electric standard domestic type square pin 13 amp sockets. Other than that, the band 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 the Yorkshire area. 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, we suggest that you check out some of the websites dedicated to such venues. Also, we realise that, for wedding receptions, it is important to consider so 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 (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 would advise 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 that received lottery funding have excellent rooms for dancing and your own catering facilities at very reasonable rates.
And BARNS? We could go on for ages about barns because 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, however, 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 God isn’t playing ball. The band and their equipment will still need cover (just in case!) and suitable, safe 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 so many excellent 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. But booking a hotel for a private ceilidh party will be more expensive of course (which may be an important consideration).
Weddings apart, if you intend to book a hotel just for a ceilidh party do go and visit the venue and, most importantly, do let them know that your entertainment is to be ceilidh dancing rather than, say, a disco. We can think of some hotels who were not even sure what a ceilidh was. They might expect you to dance on their expensive, thick carpeted floors (which can be rather heavy going, dancing-wise) or 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. Or are they 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.