What is a ceilidh?

A ceilidh (sometimes called a Barn Dance) is a fun and lively evening of dancing and traditional music. It’s easy and inclusive – we have an expert caller who will carefully explain all the dances. Even then, it doesn’t matter about ‘getting it right’ – the emphasis is on having a good time, enjoying the music and dancing and perhaps a bit of silliness along the way.

The word, pronounced “kaylee”, originates in Gaelic, simply meaning a ‘gathering’ or ‘party’. Today it has spread across Britain and Ireland (where it’s spelt ‘ceili’) and come to mean an evening of typically Celtic music and dance with great company.

Is it for me?

Yes. Ceilidhs are inclusive, require no previous experience or ‘dancing ability’. We will encourage everyone up onto the dance floor and carefully guide people through the moves in each dance. This means we are all in the same boat so can have a go, get it wrong, have a laugh and enjoy the music and the dancing together.

A ceilidh is a far more effective way to bring everyone together and get people mixing and talking than a noisy, dark disco or covers band. More and more people are coming to realise that a ceilidh is not only tremendous fun, but also the perfect ice-breaker – and so the popularity of ceilidhs at weddings and other parties has increased dramatically in the last few years.

How long do you play for?

We recommend a couple of hour-long sets, with a break of at least half an hour in the middle. However, we’re happy to be flexible to suit your needs. In our experience, it’s worth leaving a decent amount of wiggle room so that the schedule can be adjusted on the day according to how everyone’s feeling. For example, if the dancing is really popular it might be worth going on a little later than planned. Our prices are always for the event rather than for a specific playing time (within reason, obviously!).

Why Silver Street Ceilidh Band?

Our offer is simple, friendly, down-to-earth: just the best dance music you can ask for. What you see is what you get with us. Whereas many bands operate as a ‘collective’ – that is, from a pool of musicians depending on who’s around and able to make the date – we only normally offer our standard, set lineup. So when you book Silver Street Ceilidh Band, you get Martin, Beth, Joe and Will.

This means our music is slicker, tighter and more distinctive than many other London ceilidh bands. We do it this way because we all like the same style, and we want to play music together!

What kind of events do you usually serve?

Weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries, community event, club/society social events, work parties, corporate functions, Burns Night… what ever the occasion, just get in touch!

Who are your previous clients?

Usually private individuals, but also schools, charities, businesses, clubs and societies – anyone who wants a ceilidh really.

How do you take payment?

We prefer payment by bank transfer, but we accept cash by prior arrangement. We usually ask for a £100 non-refundable depost to secure the booking. The remainder of the balance is payable by the day of the event.

Do you have your own sound equipment and lighting?

We bring our own sound equipment, but we don’t usually provide lighting. (We believe that the important bit is the dancing rather than fancy lighting on the band)

How much space do you require?

We can usually be flexible and work with what’s available, but ideally at least about 5m x 3m for the band, and plenty of space for people to dance. Think the size of a village hall – but it depends on your numbers, obviously!

What tunes do you play? Can I make a request?

We’re a ceilidh dance band – we play traditional tunes from across the UK, Ireland and elsewhere, and most of the dances we call are Scottish and English. If you have something specific in mind please let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

How many breaks do you take? How long are they?

It depends on your timings, but usually either none or one depending on how energetic your guests are feeling and how much music and dancing we can fit in. We prefer to play more rather than less – so the keener people are to get up and dance, the more music and dancing we can do in the time available. For example: – If you only end up having an hour and a quarter for your ceilidh, we’d probably prefer to play straight through and not take a break – If you have three hours for a ceilidh, we’d probably suggest doing two halves of up to an hour and ten or so each, and have a 40 minute break in the middle.

I’ve never done ceilidh dancing before – is this really for me?

Yes – ceilidhs are fantastic, especially first time! They’re one of the most fun, lively and inclusive types of event you can have. Our expert caller helps you through the dances at every stage. It’s really easy, and there’s just one objective: have fun!