A VERY exciting band – comprising Les – guitar / bass / bazouki Chris...More Info
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Here’s a group of talented musicians, who have been playing individually for many years...More Info
This Ceilidh band includes musicians who draw from the huge repertoire of popular folk...More Info
*BAND VIDEO* of concert performance (caller available for ceilidhs) – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI_gPi5STBk This is...More Info
VIDEO OF BAND – Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-rq6l5ACWM Established Ceilidh band based in Gloucestershire with a...More Info
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Our agency, ‘Jigs ‘N’ Reels’ specialises in many types of ceilidh bands nationwide, including Irish ceili bands – in fact, that’s all we have done for around the last thirty years.
We’ll try to answer a few points below on this page but please do raise any questions either through
1 – our enquiry form at https://jigsnreels.com/contact/ or
FOR CEILIDHS GENERALLY (not just the Irish bands), there are a number of factors to consider which would take ages to explain. You can read up much more if you go to our FAQs section (tab at top of this page). The ceilidh bands arrive about an hour before performing to set up their gear. Every ceilidh band carries its own PA/sound system – all the venue needs to provide are normal domestic style 13amp electric sockets. Once set up, the ceilidh band usually performs for two x one hour ‘sets’ of music/dance with each set being either side of an extended break (often a buffet or refreshment break). The whole night usually lasts about three hours. Of course, your plans may differ from that – just let us know your wishes, the ceilidh band can nearly always adapt the night to suit.
Charges can vary from band to band of course. Just as a guide, most of the Irish style bands (including their caller) are circa £500-£800+. All our firmed-up quotations will include the musicians, their instruments, band’s own PA gear (all fully PAT tested) and travel costs to/from your venue. The bands also have Public Liability Insurance.
And what’s NOT included?
We all know that some cities particularly operate congestion/emission charges these days and these can vary. Likewise, some venues do not provide free parking for vehicles and ceilidh bands may have to use pay-parking away from the venue. Just to be clear, then, NONE of these charges are included in any quoted band fees. However, we are very happy to check this out further once we know your date of event, timings and venue location.
Also, since an army marches on its stomach, ceilidh bands do expect some food/drinks hospitality to be extended to them free of charge.
You might notice that the spellings for ceilidh and ceili differ slightly. They are both Gaelic or Celtic words which are pronounced in exactly the same way (sounds like ‘kaylee’). Ceilidh in Scotland, Ceili in Ireland. We just knew that you would want to know!
Irish style bands tend to be led by stringed instruments like a fiddle, mandolin (County Clare has a fiddle tradition going back years and years), banjo, latterly guitar and woodwind/whistles, occasionally backed up by some of the finest exponents of light-fingered accordion/melodeon/concertina (squeezeboxes)
Some of our bands are very Irish in background and style – meaning that all their musical repertoire will be Irish, their dance music and dances will suit for the ‘Siege of Ennis’, ‘Walls of Limerick’, ‘Haymaker’s Jig’, Waves of Tory’ and ‘Bridge of Athlone’ and the like. Sometimes the band may also perform several Irish songs such as those popularised by the Dubliners.
The majority of the bands listed as Irish ceili bands will include a few of the dances above during the evening, mixed in with other ceilidh dances which, to most people, would appear to be Irish Ceili dances because the whole musical style/flavour would be Irish – and often there is a vocalist to entertain with the popular Irish songs whilst dancers give their feet a rest.
Here’s another point to consider, also, for receptions or parties where you want to mix people up a lot! In most Irish dances, dancers tend to keep their own partner throughout the dance (though, perhaps, stepping/dancing with others briefly). But there are many other ceilidh dances which are more ‘progressive’. This means starting the dance with your chosen partner but ‘progress’ after the first time through the dance to a new dance partner….and so on. These dances can be kept quite simple and the Caller will quickly explain what to do. All very tactile for those who have been nodding politely towards each other at a wedding earlier during the day!
Make sure that you talk to us about what you are looking to achieve on your particular night and what your guests will expect – and try to avoid dates close to St Patrick’s Night (17th March) which is usually a VERY BUSY period. Ceilidh bands will charge above their normal fee around this time of year. Many bands of a traditional style can become ‘very Irish’ at this particularly busy period!
The phrase ‘Irish Ceili’ can conjure up different things to different people! Let’s just be clear about some differences between Irish ‘set’ dancing, Irish display dance and Ceilis or Ceilidhs.
Irish ‘set’ dancing for couples is dancing to a high standard as regards the actual stepping and dance techniques. For example, if the term ‘3’s and 7’s’ means nothing to you, best that you don’t ask! We do NOT represent Irish ‘set dance’ bands which is a specialist field.
Likewise, Irish display/performance teams are not really our bag either. Our ceilidh bands do NOT perform for ’Riverdance’ style dancing, mesmerising stuff that it is.
Just a final word or two about your choice of venue. You wouldn’t want to find that dancing is a problem after you have gone to all the trouble of sourcing a particular ceilidh band, would you?
Choose your venue or function room carefully. A timber floor is the ideal surface. Solid finish floors are usually fine, even if they have a thin floor covering surface. BUT beware heavy carpet finishes like you might find in some hotels (they are very energy sapping!). If choosing a hotel as your venue, make it clear to the management that you are planning a ceilidh and that you do NOT want their raised parquet-floor style squares (they might be alright for a disco but nowhere near enough space for ceilidh dancing). Marquees can work well as long as you have some decent quality matting which is well secured at all the joints to avoid any trip hazards. If you are thinking of holding your ceilidh outdoors on a lovely sunny evening, make sure that you have a contingency plan if God is in a bad weather mood. The band and their equipment will certainly need to be under cover, a safe electrical power supply will be required. If the weather does ruin an evening’s entertainment, the band will still have to be paid …. an alternative to fall back on is always a wise move!
As mentioned earlier, take a look at our FAQs where venues are covered in more detail.
If you have any further questions, just fire them at us! We look forward to hearing from you.