FAQ 4 How much does a Ceilidh or Barn Dance Band and Caller or a solo Caller cost?
Without wishing to sound vague, with so many variables, it's not possible to be more specific than saying anything between about £250 and £900 and everything in between.
The exact cost will depend on the number of musicians in the band, whether they play for a hobby or for their living and the band's travel costs.
The average price for a 3 or 4 piece band plus Caller is from about £600-£800. For larger bands, you would be paying proportionately more, and there are solo and caller, duo and caller options available in some areas as well, which would cost from about £350 upwards but they get booked up very far ahead in time, for obvious reasons!
At the lower end of the scale, you can book an excellent Caller working solo (sometimes with one or more assistants) playing good quality pre-recorded music for the dancing. Recordings of real Ceilidh / Barn Dance bands are used, so although you don't have the musicians actually sitting there on the night, you still get the same good punchy amplified overall sound of a full band, and you have more money left in your purse!
If live music is a "must" for you, then of course booking a live band with Caller is your best option, but you’ll need to budget far more than for a solo caller. I strongly recommend live music wherever possible, but of course I'm very biased as a professional musician!
Other factors which can influence the cost:
- Which day of the week the ceilidh or barn dance is held. Discounts are sometimes given for mid-week non-weekend dates.
- Whether it is a “prime date” like New Year's Eve, St Patrick’s Day, Burns Night, St Andrew’s Night which sometimes cost more, New Year's Eve in particular.
Without wishing to sound cheeky, some people are surprised at what they consider to be a high cost of a live band and I say this to them:
Remember that a DJ charges anything from £150 - £1000 – (yes, I said up to £1000!) and that is for one or two chaps and recorded music, so if you do your sums, it's clear that a band of 3 or 4 experienced musicians and a Caller is bound to cost more than a couple of hundred quid. It actually represents very good value for money, given that each person is involved for anything between 6 and 10 hours, packing the car, travelling to the venue, unpacking, setting up, playing, dismantling the PA, packing up all the gear, travelling home, unpacking the car . . . .
All bands and callers charge per evening, not per hour, so the cost will be the same, how ever long or short a period of time a band and caller is booked for.