If you’ve never booked a Ceilidh band before you’ve probably got loads of questions. But don’t worry – you’re in safe hands. We’ve managed ceilidh band booking for hundreds and hundreds of events over the years and we’ve experienced most things. We’ve put together a list of the most common questions we are asked about Ceilidhs and Barn Dances.

If you question isn;t answered or you want to know more, just send us a message using the Blue circle bottom right and we’ll get right back to you!

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What is a Ceilidh?

A ceilidh (or barn dance) is a fun, energetic social folk dance comprising English, Irish, Scottish and Celtic music, that is perfect for weddings, parties, fundraising and other special occasions. With a team of top musicians, you’ll have an event to really remember. You don’t need any prior experience – a calleris usually on hand to run you through all the moves before the dance starts and then continue to remind you what to do once the dance has started.

How do you Pronounce Ceilidh

‘Ceilidh’ or ‘Cèilidh’ or’Ceili’ or ‘Céilí.’ is pronouced kay-lee. We often see visitors arriving at the site using wild variations of the spelling such as kayleigh, kaylee, caylee and so on.

The Wikipedia page helps to explain where the term came from: “The term is derived from the Old Irish céle meaning “companion”. It later became céilidhe and céilidh, which means “visit” in Gaelic. In Scottish Gaelic reformed spelling it is spelled cèilidh  and in Irish reformed spelling as céilí.

You can hear the word pronounced by different accents on this ceilidh pronounciation page

What sort of music is played?

Lively and fun traditional music from the British Isles and beyond. It’s not unusual to hear music from Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales alongside traditional tunes from France, Spain, Scandinavia and America. Most bands can tailor the music towards your preferred direction whilst some others may be specialist in their particular field.

If you are looking for a particular type of band, you can browse our ceilidh bands by style

What is the typical format of a ceilidh?

Total dancing time is usually between 2 to 3 hours, commonly with a break for refreshments halfway through. However, we’ll chat through your requirements at the time of booking and cater the music and timings exactly to your event. The band will play tunes at the start of the evening to get your guests in the mood for dancing and their feet tapping!

Do I need to know the dances in advance?

Of course not! The band will provide an expert caller who will run you through the moves before the dance starts. The caller will continue to remind you what to do once the dance has started so that you won’t be confused. If you want to know about the dances beforehand, we have a growing database of ceilidh dances including their descriptions and videos.

Will the band bring a PA system?

Yes, unless you specifically request an acoustic set- which wouldn’t be recommended for dancing – the ceilidh band will bring their own PA system to amplify the musicians and caller. It may be possible to arrange an early set-up, should you wish to use a microphone for speeches. All Ceilidh Network bands are covered by current public liability insurance and all equipment is PAT tested for electrical safety.

Is a Ceilidh the same as a Barn Dance?

When thinking of a barn dance, may people will think of checked shirts, hay bales and cowboy hats. It’s true that barn dance is generally more associated with American music and a Ceilidh (or ‘Ceili’) is more associated with Irish or Scottish music. Sometime you’ll see eCeilidh used for an event where the music is going to be more English focussed.

In reality, there’s not a huge difference in the format and the music often crosses multiple geographic boundaries and ‘Ceilidh’ / ‘Barn Dance’ are often used interchangeably.