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Posted by steve

Ceilidhs : FAQs / practicalities

Here are answers to some FAQs, some practical points to help in planning your ceilidh:

  • PA. we provide our own PA. All we need is a space to set up, and a power socket within reach of our extension lead. We need 1/2 hour to set up.
  • Can anyone learn the dances? Our dances for weddings and parties are REALLY easy to learn, and we are very experienced at teaching them in a way that means anyone can do them. Rest assured, there is no-one we cannot teach our easiest dances! The caller calls the steps as the dance goes along, so there is no need to remember what to do. We also have more intricate dances for groups with more ceilidh experience.
  • Playing time. We normally play two sets of about an hour for dancing, with a break of half an hour or so between. That is flexible to some extent, but experience has shown us that it is better to have a fun-packed, focussed ceilidh, that ends on a high, rather than one that drags on so that the energy dissipates, and it ends on more of a fizzle than a bang! (If you are experienced with ceilidhs, and know that you want something different to this, that’s fine – we can discuss the details).
  • DJ / Disco. We will only play at an event with a disco on condition that the disco music is not played loudly for the 1/2 hour when we are setting up (and needs to be switched off for 10 minutes when we sound check), nor for 15 minutes after we finish, while we pack up. This is not because we don’t like disco music; it is simply so that we do not damage our hearing. (In these situations, we have found that we are normally setting up and packing up right in front of the disco speakers.)
  • Afternoon slot in addition to evening ceilidh. Sometimes we are asked to play background music earlier in the day as well as for an evening ceilidh. We much prefer to stick to just the evening ceilidh, so that we’re not hanging around for hours between, so that we arrive fresh to launch into a high energy, fun-packed ceilidh. If you really want us to play earlier as well, we will consider it, but there is a significant extra charge. The same applies to the break between sets in the evening ceilidh. There is an extra charge if it longer than an hour.
  • Choice of tunes. We have a lot of experience of selecting great tunes and songs for a really fun-packed ceilidh, tailored to the age range and ability of the dancers.  So we prefer to keep the selection of tunes down to us, rather than have our clients choose particular tunes. If you have one or two favourites that you have seen on our sample set list at the wwww.lastminutemusicians.com website, then by all means, ask to make sure we include them. If you would like us to play a tune that is not in our repertoire, that is possible, but we have to charge for the time it takes us to arrange the tune for the band, and to rehearse it.
  • Scottish ceilidhs? We are not a Scottish ceilidh band: we do mainly English country dances, with mostly Irish tunes, with a sprinkling of fun dances from others countries. Having said that, we play every year for Burns Night celebrations. We have about four easy Scottish dances in our repertoire.
  • For first dances at weddings, there are various options:
    • some couples simply choose not to have a first dance, so we just start with a nice easy circle dance.
    • some couples do a ‘traditional’ first dance, with a song of their choosing played on their iPod, or whatever device, through our PA.
    • we can also start with a ceilidh dance where the wedding couple are the ‘top’ couple for the beginning of the dance.