About The Kent Ceilidh Band – professional ceilidh band for hire in Kent and South East England
The Kent Ceilidh Band started in 2003 and have had thousands of happy clients since then, playing at weddings, parties, corporate functions as well as folk festivals in the UK and Europe.
We have played major folk festivals such as Sidmouth, Towersey, Chippenham and even the world-famous Rudolstadt Folk Festival in Germany.
The band’s sound has evolved over the years and now features the amazing electric guitar of Bruce Knapp as well as the driving acoustic guitar of Mark Weaver.
Chris Walshaw has added saxophone to his usual armoury of pipes and whistles and Anna Tabbush brings her vocal talents as well as her fiddle playing. The line-up is completed with Richard Jones’ rhythmic accordion playing.
View our list of the UK's best ceilidh bands ➡️
The band writes a lot of its own material, while maintaining all that is best from the traditional repertoire. They make music which is as good for the ears as it is for the dancers.
Their unusual and original slants on the music, and diverse musical influences, make them sound like no other ceilidh band.
What are your fees?
Our fee depends on how many musicians we bring, and how far we have to travel.
We will give you the best band we can for your budget. The best thing is for you to decide on a budget and then we can discuss what we can offer you.
The actual instrument line-up depends on availability. Our core band consists of three musicians (accordion / piano, electric guitar / mandolin, pipes / whistle / sax) plus a caller. With four musicians we usually add percussion.
With three musicians or more we bring a sound technician with us to operate our mixing desk to ensure the best possible sound for you.
If you would like to use our PA to play your music through after the ceilidh rather than going to the extra expense of hiring a DJ, then there will be a small charge for this service. You can plug in your own iPad, phone or similar device. This service depends on us having a sound technician present.
What do we get for the fee?
The fee includes a full sound system and travel expenses. You can use our PA during the time we are with you to play background music, make speeches or even sing a song!
We will be available to you for three hours. This usually comprises a 1-hour set followed by a half hour break and then an hour and a half set.
We have Public Liability Insurance and our equipment has PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) certification.
We are very used to playing for weddings. Our callers will be able to help you and your guests have a great time. If you are hiring a wedding planner, we would be happy to talk with and walk through a suggested timetable.
How long does it take you to set up?
We like to get into the venue around 1 hour before we have to start to set up the sound system, but it only takes about 15 minutes to set up. It takes about 30 minutes to break down the equipment afterwards.
Can we play music during your break?
You can plug your own iPod, phone or other similar music player into the PA for background music or for your first dance at a wedding.
The First Dance
There are lots of options for the first dance, so there's always one to suit you whether you are a fantastic hoofer or someone with two left feet. These are the most popular options:
Bride and Groom dance to their favourite pop song.
Bride and Groom dance a waltz, called by the caller with some special guests (parents, best man, bridesmaids etc.), followed by everyone else joining in.
Bride and Groom are 'head couple' in the first called dance with everyone else.
What kind of music do you play?
We play a wide variety of tunes for dancing, both original and taken from traditional sources. We also have a repertoire of tunes to play between dances.
A lot of our guests haven't done this before. Will you be able to help them?
Our callers are used to playing for both experienced dancers and those who have never done it before. They have a selection of easy dances and everyone is guided through what to do.
I really can't dance at all!
The dances we use are designed for inexperienced dancers. They involve simple moves e.g. join hands in a circle, walk 8 steps to the left, walk 8 steps to the right. The more adventurous will skip instead of walking. It's OK to make mistakes! It's supposed to be FUN!!
All dances are led by our caller. This means that everyone 'walks through' the steps and moves before actually dancing it. The caller won't start the dance until everyone is looking pretty confident in what they have to do.
If any of your guests don't want to dance, but would rather concentrate on other attractions, that's OK too.
The Kent Ceilidh Band have recently been booked on FixTheMusic for a charity event in North London.
"The Kent Ceilidh Band played at our wedding reception recently and we couldn't have asked for better entertainment! The music was perfect and Heather's calling and instructions were impeccable. We and all of our guests - from young children to older relatives - loved it. Highest recommendation possible from us!"
– Adrian Barton, 13 October 2020, wedding in London
Verified booking on FixTheMusic