english barndance band

What Music Do You Play?

You can here some sound clips on our audio page.

We play music for English and Scottish barndances; traditional dance music on melodeon, flute and guitar - a simple, classic duo or trio format. We play jigs, reels, hornpipes and waltzes; great music for a barndance.

What Is A Barndance or Ceilidh?

An English barndance, country dance or ceilidh are the same thing. Dances where a caller talks you through the dance, so no experience is necessary, and you do not need to know any special steps before the evening. They make for good social occasions; a fun way of raising funds, or a great theme for a wedding, company party, or a big birthday bash, and good fun for young and old alike.

A Scottish ceilidh or country dance is slightly different; in a typical Scottish ceilidh, a set number of fixed dances are played, but the dancers are expected to know the dances already, and off by heart (many schools in Scotland teach country dancing to this day). We can play for Scottish ceilidhs, and have a good selection of all the main Scottish dances in our repertoire, but our caller can help by teaching the dances quickly to those that don't know them much like they would an English dance. You can have the fun and experience of a Scottish ceilidh in England, but people who already know the dances are not left out.

An American barndance is very similar in dances and format to an English barndance, but the music will sound very different - usually fiddle led, rather than melodeon/accordion led. If you are looking for an authentic American sounding barndance, we recommend you consider our friends Pinkers Spinney.

What Is A Typical Evening?

We will fit around your instructions of course! If playing at a party, a common format is for us to do dances for an hour (say from 8pm to 9pm), stop for an hour while everyone has something to eat (often a buffet is a good idea), and when everyone is ready again play through to 10.30pm or 11pm, but that is just an example. Often, and especially at weddings, timings are fluid and it is important to find a band that is not worried should timings or plans change on the night.

Our caller Irene can and will talk with you through the night, as well as using her own judgement to decide when people are ready to dance, need a rest, or whether dances should be kept simple or a bit more challenging. It depends very much on the audience, and we have the experience and repertoire to be able to adapt as the night progresses.

Do We Need to Know How to Dance?

No, don't worry - our caller will ensure that everyone knows what to do and has a great time.

Where Do You Play?

Anywhere you want us! We play within approximately 1 hour travelling time radius from our home town in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes. Our travel expenses will, unfortunately, need to be higher the further away we need to travel of course!

In terms of venue, we recommend a nice large hall with an open area for dancing free of obstruction. Ideally it may have a slightly raised stage at one end (though that is not necessary), and a wooden floor, though a nice large carpeted area is fine too. Note that some hotel venues that provide 'a portable dance floor' often provide only a small raised square intended for discos - that's not much use for barndances because the edges tend to be trip hazards - we would suggest just using the standard floor instead. We will also need a power supply (240 volts, standard plug). We bring our own PA equipment.

Are You Insured?

Yes, we have full public liability insurance, and we would recommend that you only use bands that do. All our mains-powered electrical equipment is also PAT (electrical safety) tested, which again we would recommend that you check is the case with any band you hire.

What Are Your Rates?

It very much depends on what you need, but usually for a typical evening's event, £325.00 for a 2 man band (melodeon/guitar) + caller, or £425.00 for a 3 man band (melodeon/flute/guitar) + caller. If the location is more than approximately 15 miles from Stony Stratford, we will need to charge a little more to cover the extra travel costs and time travelling to/from the event.

References?

Here's what a couple of people who booked us in 2015 had to say about their evenings:

"StonyLive is a community festival run by the local community that features the incredible talent of those who live in and around StonyLive. As part of this week long festival we put on a day of dance the finale of which is a free barn dance held in the market square. Pamplemousse presided over the dance, providing the music and dance calling, which got everyone dancing smiling, and enjoying the festival. I am confident that Pamplemouse can repeat that magic for anyone who engages them."

- Andy Powell, Chairman of StonyLive

"The celebrations of my 50th at the Keep in Kempston, end of September last year, were fantastic and I will cherish for a long time. what made it special was seeing everyone young and old having a great time up on the dance floor – not your usual non-descript ‘disco’ or dance music where people shuffle from left to right, but actually all dance around the floor, in pairs and in groups.

The band played very well and the caller made the evening by getting everyone involved and made ‘not knowing left from right’ fun as by the end of a few simple introductory steps on each dance everyone was away.

Many of my guests – family and friends said it was a great evening. So would I recommend you guys – without a doubt. Indeed I am pretty sure I might book you again in coming years."

- Private booker, 2015

What Do I Do Next?

If you're interested, please get in touch - see our contact us page. Let us know what venue you would like to use, a date, what the occasion is, and any special requirements you may have. We will contact our musicians and ensure availability, and assuming we are available, send you a contract/details form to fill in. Fill that in and send that back to us, together with a deposit cheque of 20% of the fee - the rest is payable on the night. We can then confirm the booking. We will contact you again approximately one week before the event to check that everything is still happening as expected, and talk through any final details with you. On the night, we will need access to the venue approximately 90 minutes before start up to get setup.

Please give us plenty of notice if you want to book us - apart from our bookings as a band, we each have other projects (and families) that keep us busy! At least 6 months notice is very much appreciated, but of course if it's a last minute thing, we will see what we can do - it's just less likely that we'll be able to help.

Barndance and ceilidh music for parties and weddings!

Covering Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and the surrounding area!

Contact: Clive Williams
Phone: 07713 164110
E-mail: clive.williams@pamplemousseband.co.uk