Ceilidh band

John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling

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(5.0)Read all 18 reviews
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About John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling

One of the most experienced callers in the UK, running large reeling/ceilidh events as well as 'calling' at private events of all kinds.
Ceilidh band
Public liability insurance of £5 million

John is a highly experienced ceilidh caller with over 350 successful events to his name, and he is capable of delivering an unforgettable Scottish dance experience for your guests. From intimate weddings to large Burns Night Suppers, private parties, and even a royal engagement at Buckingham Palace, he has a proven track record of success. John's calling skills are unparalleled and his carefully curated playlist of the best ceilidh tunes will have your guests dancing the night away. His streamlined setup eliminates the need for an additional band, and he has experience of entertaining groups from 40-400 in size, regardless of age or experience. With his upbeat, inclusive, and relaxed style, John guarantees to get everyone involved and having a great time. He will expertly guide your guests through the most popular ceilidh dances and end the evening on a high note with a rousing Strip the Willow that's sure to be remembered. John would be honoured to bring his skills and experience to your event. Please don't hesitate to contact him to discuss how he can make your ceilidh an unforgettable experience.

John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling
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5 out of 5
10 verified reviews
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John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling's Reviews

From Encore customers:

Vicky M
20 days ago
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5 out of 5

When you book through a platform like Encore and don’t know exactly what you are booking it’s a bit unnerving - but I found John’s videos helpful and he was super responsive and a great communicator, which was immediately reassuring. John was outstanding on the night, he arrived in perfect and agreed time and set himself up subtly, working around us as we were eating where the dancing was going to happen. His instruction/calling was great and he combined easy with a bit of challenge - we had a fantastic evening and good laugh and everyone thought he was brilliant, as well as completely charming. He also gave us appropriate breaks to grab drinks, cake etc! Couldn’t recommend him highly enough.

Reply from John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling
19 days ago

Your friends were all so much fun and it was a pleasure to help you out with a ceilidh-to-end-all-ceilidhs on your special day. Let's do it again in 10 years time 🥳💃🕺

Patrick W
7 months ago
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5 out of 5

John, was fantastic. Super friendly and energetic. Gauged the skill level of the wedding perfectly and got everyone involved straight away. Also was able to tweak what he was doing to fit in better with the timing and food in the evening. Couldn't recommend more!

Anthony G
8 months ago
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5 out of 5

John we cannot thank you enough. The Ceilidh was the best part of our evening reception. So many guests have said to both of us how much fun they had. Some guests were nervous and reluctant and after a little guidance from yourself they got dancing and didn’t want to stop. We will certainly be booking again for future celebrations and will be recommending your services. Anthony & Charlotte

Reply from John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling
8 months ago

Anthony it was a pleasure to help you out on your special day with a ceilidh and I'm delighted that your guests enjoyed it too. I look forward to future ceilidhs as part of your 10th, 25th and 50th anniversary celebrations :-) Very best wishes to you both and many thanks once again. John Carver

David G
8 months ago
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5 out of 5

Absolutely perfect. Haven't a 'constructive' word to say; John is the reel deal (apologies, irresistible if unoriginal).

Read all 10 reviews

From other customers:

Here 2
8 years ago

John has been the 'caller' at a number of major London ceilidh & reeling events I've hosted for the "We're here for the Dance" group in recent years, and has been instrumental to their success. Making an evening so much fun whilst transforming complete beginners into seasoned reeling pros is no easy challenge, but he achieves it every time. If you're planning a ceilidh or evening of reels, get John on board!

Richard T
4 years ago

John was our first choice of caller for our school's annual Caledonian Ball, as we knew we could rely on him to guide our enthusiastic (but inexperienced) pupils and parents through an evening of ceilidh and reeling dances. It was huge fun, and he delivered above and beyond our wildest expectations. Our guests are already queueing up for next year, so we will be sure to ask him to MC again. Great job!

Read all 8 reviews
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10 gigs
Experienced: 10 bookings through Encore
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Booked for an Encore gig with less than 24 hours’ notice
6th Anniversary
This act has been working with Encore for over 6 years

John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling's Song list

John has a tried & tested repertoire of dances that he 'calls' for events, depending on the age/ability/experience of his guests. Typical examples include the following, but he has many more dances up his sleeve too!
Circassian Circle
Dashing White Sergeant
Virginia Reel
Flying Scotsman
Gay Gordons
Canadian Barn Dance
Dunedin Festival Jig
Cumberland Reel
Strip the Willow
Dashing White Sergeant
Eightsome Reel
Foursome Reel
Hamilton House
Duke of Perth
Duke & Duchess of Edinburgh
Inverness Country Dance
Speed The Plough
Mairi's Wedding
Posties Jig
Machine without Horses
Reel of the 51st
Johnnie Walker
Hurlingham Quadrangle
Cumberland Square Eight

John Carver Reels & Ceilidh Calling's Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Up to 1 hour£400
Up to 2 hours£400
Up to 3 hours£500
Customer questions

What do your clients love most about your performances?

What do people like about my calling? Super clear instructions, my ability to select the right dances to fit the audience. My ability to make the whole experience fun, fun, fun, I never get stressed or angry or frustrated. And my playlist, which is the best music for ceilidhs ever recorded, is hugely enjoyable to dance to

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

I have run over 350 ceilidhs but most notable venues include: Buckingham Palace Houses of Parliament Hurlingham Club Royal Caledonian Club Battersea Arts Centre St Columba's Church, Pont Street Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and many more

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

In the world of calling for ceilidhs and reels, I've had to forge my own path. I'm always learning and tweaking my performance to make it better and better as a result

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

The Reel Thing, a Scottish dancing event for 500 guests at the Battersea Arts Centre in London

Can you perform covers?


Do you have different line-up options?


What if my timings change after I've booked you?

No problem at all, just let me know and I'm likely to be able to help as long as it's not a major change

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

Yes I bring my own PA system with excellent quality speakers and have all the adaptors to connect to android phones or iPhones.

How much time do you need to set up?

30 minutes as long as I can park close to the venue. I need to make 3 trips to and from my car to move everything, that's the most time-consuming bit

Do you provide a caller?

Yes, I'm the caller! And which ever band you book, it's worth noting that getting a good caller is your most important decision. As the saying goes "combine a mediocre band with an excellent caller and you can have a very successful evening, but combine a superb band with a poor caller and the evening can be a disaster"

Can I pick the songs you play from the set list?

If you want to choose a dance from those I normally include, that's absolutely fine. If you want me to call a new dance that I've not called before, please give me plenty of advance warning

Is all of the equipment (e.g. PA) included in your quote?

Yes, my PA system with top of the range speakers, amp and mixer, all my music, and all calling is all included

Can you learn song requests before the event?

Ceilidh, Traditional Scottish folk
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Event types:
Wedding, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Corporate event, Private event, Bar / Club / Venue event, Charity event, Burns night, Birthday party, Christmas party, New Year's Eve
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