About English Barn Dance Bands

Our English Barn Dance band is the Hullabaloo English Barn Dance Band. People often get confused by what is different about a Ceilidh dance, Barn dance or Hoedown. Barn Dance or Country Dance is the English terminology for basically the same kind of event, but with some specifically English tunes and dances, though many tunes and dances are claimed by a number of countries. If you are unsure, identify what kind of dance band would be suitable for your wedding day or celebration in your area, click on the link below:

An English Barn Dance Band can be considered a specialist band if they only play English tunes and call English dances. There are many styles of English folk music:
Thomas Hardy Period
Jane Austen Period

Then there is the more usual mix of English music of the last 100 years to the present day, some of which are genuinely ancient, but performed in a more contemporary mode

It is important that you listen to the music samples, watch the videos and read the text for each band. Some bands specialise in a period of English music and dance, but most play a substantial amount of English mixed with music and dance of other nationalities. So be sure to think what you are wanting and find a band that suits you.

The most common style of English Barn Dance uses tunes that are mostly a mixture of the traditional music that has been handed down and is current today, with a caller organising the kind of dances that anyone, expert or non expert can do and enjoy. However, as explained there are specialist bands who play for example Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy, or Playford music together with the authentic dances of the period. If you are looking for a specialist band, please send us an enquiry letting us know what you are looking for so we can check which specialist bands cover your area.

Some people are unclear about the difference between a Ceilidh Band and a Barn Dance Band. The fact is they are fundamentally the same. They both include a caller who guides the dancers. The music is folk music of various nationalities.

Ceilidh is the Celtic term, so this includes Scottish Ceilidh Bands and Irish Ceili Bands. (Notice the alternative spelling. Other versions are Caleigh, Kaley, kaylee, kayleigh etc. so you can't really get it wrong!) The bands would tend to play Celtic folk tunes. Many tunes are claimed by the Irish, Scotts, English and Americans, but the style of playing them would vary.

Barn Dance is usually the English and American name, where English or American folk tunes would be played. However, many of the dances are the same for both a Ceilidh dance or a Barn dance.

Many bands play a range of music and do dance that spans that are appropriate. This is particularly suitable for a wedding ceilidh or birthday barn dance, where styles need to be catered for. For an evening such as a Irish St Patricks night, or a Scottish Burns night, then a specialist band would be more appropriate.

An English Barn Dance Band can provide one of the best evening for Parties, Birthdays, Weddings and other events. It gets people who may never have met before to get to know each other and the volume level is such that people can still talk to each other speaking - (Unlike when there's a DJ in full swing!)

The musicians generally get the dance going by playing some instrumental music to get people 'in the mood'. 

For a Wedding Barn Dance a English Barn Dance Band would generally start with a first dance that included the Bride, Groom and friends and relatives. The Caller would invite absolutely everyone onto the floor to join the Bride and Groom. (No one cannot do so, since it would be impolite). The Caller will make the first dance really easy so that even those people who were nervous of dancing find they can manage it. This gets the Ceilidh off to a good start. (Some couples prefer to do a first dance on their own, then ask guests to join them, or alternatively do a prepared dance to music provided by them on a CD. This also works.)

For a birthday Barn Dance or corporate event, it is very similar. The first dance is usually simple, so that the Caller can determine whether dancers are first timers, or experienced, how quick on the uptake they are, and how active they appear to be. The guests become more sure of themselves, and the caller can judge the appropriate difficulty of dances that would suit for the rest of the evening. 

Barn Dance Bands always have a Caller who explains the dances, so even people who have never been to a Barn Dance before can manage the dances. The Caller asks guests to get into sets, often not being certain what dance to do until they know how many people have come up. They will explain the dance, running the dancers through the moves slowly. They may go through some of the dance a second time, depending on how difficult it is and how much the dancers already know. Then the band play a brief introduction and the dancers are off. The caller watches what is happening, perhaps calling directions and sorting out dancers who have got muddled up or got lost. It can be very exciting and is always good fun.

Generally there is be a break half way through the Ceilidh for a food, so that people can have a rest and stump up some more energy for the second half. If there are some proficient dancers, the Caller {might do a few tougher dances for them, but all in all they will make sure that everyone is involved and {having a good time.

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