Everything you need for a successful Ceilidh or Barn dance

James Kerry is founding member of the Hilltop Ceilidh Band, where ceilidhs are taken very seriously! We want you to have a great time. Whether you’re a barn dance newbie or an accomplished ceilidh dancer. It doesn’t matter whether your ceilidh is large or small, whether you want a 3-piece line up or a veritable ensemble: we make it happen. Size doesn’t matter! We’ve got everything you need for a ceilidh; from charismatic callers and talented musicians, to top of the range equipment and service. We take your ceilidh seriously, so you can kick back and have fun.

JameKerry’s Hilltop Ceilidh Band have been calling the steps and ringing the changes on the UK ceilidh scene long enough to earn a large following. They build on this core; drawing on events management experience and sound & lighting expertise to deliver a comprehensive barn dance package. The result is that everything from the equipment installation, to energetic performance and entertaining callers is provided for you. All you have to take care of is the dancing!

  • Reliable musicians who won’t leave you stranded
  • Competent (and patient) callers who make sure everyone has fun
  • An extensive repertoire of tunes to keep you ‘stripping the willow’ all evening
  • PA and sound engineers for larger events and venues
  • Lighting and staging equipment for indoor and outdoor events


What are you waiting for? Book Us!

“We hired The Hilltop Ceilidh Band for a barn dance to celebrate a joint 21st and 60th birthday.

The evening was a great success and I would thoroughly recommend James and will certainly be using the band in the future. Thank you everyone for an amazing evening.”

Mary Waters, Royal Tunbridge Wells


What is a Ceilidh anyway?

We’re glad you asked!

At its root, the word simply means ‘a social visit’. Over time it’s evolved to refer to a social event, where people gather to listen to traditional Scottish, Irish and English dance tunes and take part in traditional dancing. It’s been happening for centuries (they didn’t call it ‘traditional’ back then though)! The really special thing about ceilidh dancing though, is how fun and inclusive it is.

The band consists of two or more musicians – wielding fiddles, accordions, guitars and woodwind – and a caller. The caller takes everyone through the steps at the beginning of each dance, and then calls out the steps while the musicians play – so you don’t forget. You will forget though. And you will get it wrong – and that’s all part of the fun!

Ceilidhs are inclusive; anyone can join in and the caller will encourage everyone. The steps can be as simple or as complex as you’re game for. And, although you start most dances partnered up, the nature of a ceilidh means that everyone ends up dancing with each other at some point. This means a barn dance is perfect for breaking the ice at a corporate function and it’s even more fun at a birthday party or wedding.

Wait, what’s the difference between a ceilidh and a barn dance?

Well, different people will tell you different things. Some will say a barn dance is just an Americanism. Others will tell you that a ceilidh has songs and solo tunes as well as dances. The truth is that these days, they’re nigh on indistinguishable. Certainly our bands are able to do solo sets and songs as well as dance tunes. And we throw Scottish and Irish dances into the mix with American and English tunes – if you like that sort of thing. Either way, you’ll end up having a great time!

If you have any more questions, just hop on over to our enquiries page.