FAQ 20 Is there anything else we need to know about putting on a ceilidh or barn dance?
Yes, a few things - Safety and Insurance / Dress Code / Special needs / Providing refreshments for the band and caller / Volume level
Safety and Insurance
Some venue managers require sight of a band’s current Electrical Equipment Safety PAT Test Certificates and occasionally they require evidence of a band’s Public Liability insurance. Please give me at last 2 months notice if the venue management request this.
Make sure you and your guests wear appropriate footwear and clothing! Hate to say it, but sensible, boring flattish shoes and reasonably loose clothing are best for this lively sort of dancing – NOT stiletto heels and tight clothes! Brides – it’s a good idea to consider making sure that any long dress train can be “hooked up and tucked away” for ease of leaping about the dance floor without tripping up or stepping on that gorgeous dress!
Unless something specific is requested, band members tend to dress in a fairly informal but smart/casual style. I always ask people making a booking whether they have any preference for how the band dresses – i.e. casual, smart casual, smart, any tartan for, say, Scottish themed events, or jeans, check shirts and cowboy hats for American themed events etc.
It’s useful for the Caller to know beforehand, for example, if some people who will be dancing can’t speak much English, or maybe have a disability, so the band and Caller can allow for that in the pace of music and choice of dances and the way the Caller instructs the dancers.
Providing refreshments for the band and caller
Playing for several hours for a Ceilidh or Barn Dance is very hungry and thirsty work, so any food and drink refreshments provided for the band and Caller are ALWAYS greatly appreciated. It’s not obligatory, but it’s the “norm” to offer the band some hospitality. It’s a known fact that musicians work better when they are well fed and watered!
If you’re concerned about Granny Mabel, Uncle Arthur and Aunty Joan being able to hear each other talking whilst they’re watching the dancing, fear not! Most Ceilidh Bands play at a reasonable level so that people can sit and chat and still hear each other. However, if you feel that the Band is a little too loud or even a little too quiet, it is perfectly OK to go up and ask the caller or band to adjust the volume level a bit! They won’t bite!