An English Ceilidh or Barn Dance is a great way to celebrate a family occasion or provide a fund raising event or other group social activity.

When organising a dance these are the things you should consider:

Audience: How many people do you expect to attend, and what proportion of them will dance?

  • You typically need 25 to 30 as a minimum. (Keep in mind that no one is likely to be able to or want to dance every dance)
  • What proportion of children will be present?  Children can be very enthusiastic and proficient dancers. Very young children will need guidance and supervision of an adult dancer.  They need to be able to listen to and follow instructions from the caller (so do the adults!)
  • Shoes: dancing in high heeled shoes is not recommended so if your event has a high fashion element (e.g., a wedding) suggest that your guests bring more suitable shoes/trainers to change into for dancing. 


Venue: This will typically be in a village/church hall or hotel ballroom, etc., but could also be outside in a marquee or garden. Inside venues tend to get booked up so start planning well in advance.

  • The size needs to be large enough for the dancers plus band plus tables and seating. If the venue is substantially larger than needed then it will be difficult to build an exciting atmosphere for the dance.
  • The best surface to dance on is a wooden floor but any hard surface will do. Avoid dancing on grass or any loose surface (such as gravel).
  • Decide if you will be providing drinks (or a bar) and food, or if you will ask people to bring their own. For a bar you will need to arrange a license unless the venue itself has a license. For food, you will need a kitchen and serving area.


Music and Caller:  We will provide the caller, the PA and the music.

  • We need a single 13amp socket adjacent to the band location for power.
  • A stage is not necessary but the band typically needs an area of about 5m x3m to setup comfortably.
  • We need an hour before the event starts to setup the PA and perform sound checks. If the room for the dance is also used for a reception (at a wedding for example) then you need to work out with both ourselves and the venue the logistics for reorganising the room and setting up the band with minimum disruption to the guests.
  • A dance will typically start at 8:00pm and go onto about 11:30pm with a break of between 30 to 60 min depending on whether food is to be served or other activities & speeches etc.  If  there a substantial number of children then an event may start as early as 6:30pm or be held in the afternoon.
  • For a wedding, take account of how long your guests have been active and what their energy levels might be when judging how long you plan for the ceilidh dancing to go on for.
  • It is not unusual to book a disco for a wedding as well as a ceilidh band, but of you do, put the ceilidh dancing on first and use the disco to finish the evening.


Fund Raising Activities: If the event is a charity or PTA fund raising event then you may want to include additional fund raising activities for which our caller will be pleased to act as an MC if required. Examples include:

The Paper Aeroplane Game

  • Raffle
  • Promisies Auction
  • Roll a Coin for a Bottle
  • Make and Fly a Paper Aeroplane for a Bottle