The Bristol Ceilidh Band
Ceilidh Band
Bristol, UK
Ceilidh, Irish, Scottish, English, American Folk, Celtic Traditional
£869 (avg. price)

About The Bristol Ceilidh Band – professional ceilidh band based in Bristol
7 reviews

The Bristol Ceilidh Band are a well-established barn dance/ceilidh band based in the Bristol & Bath area but also covering Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

We come complete with caller and PA and specialise in providing dancing for weddings and other special occasions such as birthday parties and anniversaries.

Our lively music and seasoned caller guarantees an enjoyable evening...see our reviews if you don't want to just take our word for it!

Contact The Bristol Ceilidh Band


More information about The Bristol Ceilidh Band

We have experience in providing dances for a wide range of audiences (both novice & experienced adult dancers, children and a few celebrities!) and in various different dance spaces, having played in village halls, mansions, marquees and boats, in addition to a few barns!

The dances are fully explained with clear instructions by the caller – firstly a 'walk-through' without the music then calling continues whilst the band plays, until the dancers have no further need for guidance (usually after 3 or 4 times through).

We intersperse the dances with tune sets, so dancers can enjoy a drink and catch their breath! The caller chooses dances to suit the audience and occasion, as well as accommodating any special requests.

For a typical booking, we would do a selection of relatively simple, fun dances, which works well for both people who are unfamiliar with this form of dancing and those who have had a bit more experience. Alternatively, we can provide a whole evening of traditional Scottish ceilidh.

We play a range of traditional Irish, Scottish, English and American dance tunes (jigs, reels, polkas etc) with our standard line-up of caller/whistle, tenor banjo/mandolin, fiddle (violin) and guitar – hear our sound by clicking on the music clips below.

If there is another traditional instrument you would like in the band, such as bodhran, do ask – this is usually possible via our contacts with other local musicians.

We use modern, well-maintained PA equipment which is checked for electrical safety by visual inspection as detailed on page 18 of the Health & Safety Executive leaflet INDG247 Electrical Safety for Entertainers (HSE 1998) & in Maintaining Portable and transportable electrical equipment (HSE 2004), with additional electrical tests (PAT test) where applicable.

We also hold Public Liability Insurance with a £5 million limit. It is often a requirement when booking a venue to confirm that the band you engage has PAT tested equipment and insurance.


How far do you travel?

The Bristol Ceilidh Band's standard quote provides for travel of up to 1 hour in any direction from the mid-point between Bristol & Bath (with an additional charge to cover toll fees if crossing into Wales on the Severn Bridge). Trips further than this are sometimes possible by special arrangement - please make an enquiry to discuss.

How much do you cost?

Please make an enquiry to check our availability and cost for your event. Our standard quote provides a 4 piece band inclusive of dance caller to perform 8-11pm with a half-hour break in the middle (which can accommodate food, speeches etc).

However we are happy to tailor an evening to your requirements. If your budget or space are limited, we can quote for a 3 piece band (as per our standard line-up minus the fiddle player). We can also provide a 'disco' end to the evening if desired by playing recorded music (which we ask you to provide on CD or iPod) through our PA for an extra cost per hour.

Do you supply your own PA?

The Bristol Ceilidh Band comes with a full PA (Public Address) system, suitable for venues with a capacity of up to 250 people.

How many dances do you do in an evening?

In a typical evening, there is usually time for between 8 and 10 dances. As a rule of thumb, each dance takes about 15 minutes in total, including the time taken to get dancers onto the dance floor and arranged into sets, explaining & walking through the dance without music, then doing the dance to music.

What sort of dances do you do?

We typically pick and mix dances with appropriate levels of difficulty from the related traditions of Scottish Ceilidh, Irish ceili, Welsh Tympath, English Barn Dance and American Hoedown (but not including line dancing). We don't get hung up on what the difference is, say, between 'ceilidh' and 'barn dance' (you probably won't notice any), we just aim to do fun dances you'll enjoy.

But if you'd like a focus on a particular tradition or style, just ask. For instance, we can provide a whole evening of traditional Scottish ceilidh, with the Gay Gordons, Dashing White Sergeant, Strip the Willow (Orcadian and/or normal variants), St Bernard’s Waltz, Cumberland Square Eight, Canadian (Highland) Barn Dance, Houlihan’s Jig, Eightsome Reel etc.

Typically we might start with Buttered Peas (a simple Northumbrian, mixing dance) and Virginia Reel (a longways set dance popular in both Scottish & English traditions).

Common dances to end the evening with are Riverside Jig (a modern Scottish dance) and Circassian Circle (a traditional way to end Scottish ceilidhs; for weddings we have customised a variant that features the bridal couple in the middle of the circle).

What sort of space do we need for dancing?

We are experienced in working with a variety of different spaces and can adjust dances accordingly to provide a fun evening of dancing, whatever the size and shape of the venue.

If you are in the process of selecting a venue, we recommend you look for a square or rectangular dance area with no obstructions or trip-hazards (for example, it is best not to use a portable dance floor - usually laid over hotel carpet for discos - as they are not large enough for ceilidh dancing and people may trip as they dance over the edges).

The size of dance floor needed will depend on the maximum number of people you will have dancing at one time - we suggest you allow approximately 1 square metre of dance floor per person.

For example, a typical church hall should provide a dance space of at least 7 metres width and 10 metres depth, which would be sufficient to accommodate approximately 70 dancers.

How much space does the band need?

We would appreciate a space of at least 3 metres wide by 2 metres deep. However, we will work with whatever room is available.

We recommend the use of a stage for the band if possible - this allows the band, and particularly the dance caller, to be seen and offers some protection to our sound equipment and instruments from the exuberance of the dancers.

We also require a space some distance to the front of the band on each side for each of our two PA speaker stands (approximately 1 square metre in floor area each).

Do you have a microphone we can use for speeches?

Yes. We are happy to give you access to a microphone for speeches/announcements during the event, at no extra charge. Please speak to us at the beginning of your event to arrange this.

Can we play our recorded music through your PA?

We usually play recorded music through the PA system when the band is having a half-time break. If you would like to provide your own music for this (on CD or iPod), please discuss with us in advance. We can also provide this facility after the band has finished (for a ‘disco’ end to the evening) for an additional cost - please discuss this with us if you are interested.

What power supply do you require?

Our PA system draws less than 1kW which is easily provided by a normal mains supply. We require one standard mains power socket at the venue to plug into which should be not more than 5 metres away from the band’s performance area.

To protect our PA, we can only agree to use an external generator as a power source (for example, in a marquee) if this has surge protection and has been supplied by a reputable company. Any cabling/sockets used outdoors must be suitable for outdoor use.

What parking and access do you require?

We require a standard size parking/unloading space as close to the performance area as possible, to provide a short, safe access route for the transportation of our sound equipment.

We like to have access to the performance area approximately 45 minutes before we are due to start playing, in order to set up and sound-check. Please discuss with us if there are any flights of stairs on the access route of if there is likely to be a problem accessing the venue/performance area in advance of our performance time.

Do we need to provide refreshments for the band?

For a typical event the band will be out of their houses for at least 6 hours (allowing for travelling, setting up, performance and packing up afterwards).

We would therefore appreciate you arranging refreshments for the band, equivalent to a meal and 2 drinks per person. It is customary for the band to be invited to share in food and drink provided for guests unless this would be inappropriate.

7 verified reviews

“Many thanks for providing the ceilidh at our wedding. It was great fun and everyone enjoyed themselves.”
– Emma & Russ Collins, 15 February 2020, wedding in Bristol
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“A huge thank you...the ceilidh was really great. So many of our guests said what fun it was and we loved how everyone got involved. We certainly had fun too!”
– Peter & Claire Parry, 9 February 2020, wedding in Somerset
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“Just to thank you all immensely for keeping us all entertained with your wonderful, lively music on New Year's Eve...Almost everyone got up to dance and the ladies were totally taken aback at the number of gents on the dance floor at any one time.”
– Steve & Bronwyn Jeffries, 3 January 2020, party in Bristol
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“Thanks so much for playing...everyone enjoyed themselves and appreciated the music. Will definitely recommend you.”
– Louise Cramm, 14 September 2019, corporate event in Bristol
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“Thank you so much for providing such a fantastic dance for Ruth and Mark's wedding... We have had such a lot of comments from guests about the quality of the band and caller and we were delighted that the dance floor was so full for so much of the evening - a brilliant time was had by all.”
– Jill & Mark Cooper (bride's parents), 29 May 2019, wedding in Gloucestershire
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“Thank you so much for playing at our wedding and for making the day so much fun!”
– Megan & Lee Oliver, 3 May 2019, wedding in Bristol
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“Everyone absolutely loved the ceilidh and had a lot of fun - thank you for such good music and for your patience in teaching us the dances!!”
– Clementine Howard, 1 May 2019, wedding in Bristol
Verified booking Verified booking on FixTheMusic

Audio samples
Kesh / Lilting Banshee / Frost is all over
Ships are sailing / Morning Star / Banshee
Speed the Plough / Arkansas Traveller / Turkey in the straw
Cliffs of Moher / Donnybrook Fair / Tenpenny bit
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