When talking to our customers about hiring ceilidh bands for private events, weddings and corporate events, we’re regularly asked about the cost of hiring a ceilidh band. There are several different sizes and standards of ceilidh band, which means it’s easy to find a band to suit most events and budgets.
To help you understand the costs involved, we’re going to break down the average cost of ceilidh bands and explain the different factors that can influence the price of a band.
Average costs for a 3x 45min performance
Ceilidhs tend to consist of three or four dancing sessions, each lasting between 30-45 minutes depending on how energetic the dancing is and how much stamina your guests have!
For a standard 3x 45min performance, you can expect to pay roughly:
- £200 per person for a hobbyist or student band
- £300 per person for a professional band
- £400+ per person for an in-demand band, or a band who will perform “Ceilidh Covers”.
|Hobbyist / Student||Professional||High-end / Luxury|
|Per Person (or a soloist)||£150||£220||£300+|
|4-piece band (Quartet)||£600||£880||£1200+|
|6-piece band (Sextet)||£900||£1320||£1800+|
|12-piece Swing Band||£1800||£2640||£3600+|
|20-piece Big Band||£3000||£4400||£6000+|
These prices are based on thousands of quotes that have been made through the Encore platform by our ceilidh bands, and are intended to give you an idea of starting prices, rather than a precise costing. Our ceilidh bands set their own pricing, so you can trust that these prices are based on their own costs.
To receive precise quotes (including travel costs) from ceilidh bands near you, create an Encore enquiry today.
What else can affect the price of a ceilidh band?
The following factors will all affect the price of your band:
- Time of year
- Type of performance
- Reputation and years of experience
- Travel expenses
Time of year
The following key dates will almost certainly cost more money, due to the high demand for musicians at these times:
- Burns Night
- St Patricks Day
- St Andrews Day
- Bank Holiday weekends
- Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day
- New Year’s Eve
- Valentine’s Day
- Mother’s Day
Saturdays in Wedding Season
If you’re looking for a band to play at your event on a Saturday between May and October, you should expect prices to be slightly higher than Saturdays the rest of the year.
The law of supply and demand dictates that the best ceilidh bands can command higher fees on these peak dates, so if you’re hoping to book a jazz band for your wedding or party on a summer Saturday, we’d recommend booking as soon as possible!
Type of performance
Ceilidh bands are versatile groups, and can perform a mixture of vibes at all sorts of events. The two most common requests for jazz bands we see on Encore are:
- “Ceilidh Dancing”
- Often requested to accompany dinner or a drinks reception, and
- “Ceilidh Dancing + Ceilidh Covers”
- Designed to get guests up on their feet and dancing during the evening party at a wedding or function
As you can imagine, a headline performance requires much more energy and charisma from the band, who will often be interacting with guests and sometimes even teaching them dance moves!
Consequently, a band providing a headline performance will nearly always cost more than a ceilidh band providing solely laid-back background music.
Reputation and years of experience
As bands become more well-known, pick up rave reviews from their customers, and gradually build a solid reputation, their price will naturally rise. Bands who have performed at hundreds of events across several years (sometimes decades!) will naturally cost more than bands who who have just started out.
The more events a band performs at, the more likely they are to pick up new gigs through word-of-mouth recommendations, and so the demand for the band goes up. Don’t be surprised if you find a popular band charging prices far higher than the costs above!
Some bands, particularly the high-end bands, will feature musicians who have performed at prestigious venues around the world. These musicians may also have performed with well-known and famous artists. When a band features musicians like this, the price will be much higher than a young band of professional musicians who only graduated from music college a couple of years ago.
The prices above don’t include travel expenses, so you should consider how far the band will be travelling to get to your event.
If your event is outside of a large city, most bands will likely drive by car to your event. The Musicians Union advises musicians to charge 45p per mile driven. You can use the following formula to calculate travel expenses:
(Miles from Band’s Base to Event) x (Number of Cars) x 45p x 2
We multiplied the cost by 2 at the end to account for the whole round trip.
Let’s use an example:
Your band is comprised of 6 people, and they’re driving 50 miles to your event between two cars. You could therefore expect to pay:
50 miles x 2 cars x 45p x 2 = £90 in travel expenses
Ceilidh bands in London typically cost more than anywhere else in the UK, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. There are far more private events, corporate events and functions going on in London than any other city in the capital, which means the good bands are able to command a higher fee.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of ceilidh bands available in central Scotland, which means that you can expect the prices to be lower than if you were to book a ceilidh band in the middle of Yorkshire!
The prices we’ve given above are based on the ceilidh bookings that we’ve seen made through the Encore platform, which tend to be around the South of England. You may find that bands cost less in Wales, Scotland and the North of England.
What is the difference between a hobbyist, professional and luxury band?
Hobbyist band = a band of musicians who do not perform professionally as full-time musicians
A hobbyist band is made up of musicians who typically rehearse and perform together at the weekends. These may be people who hold full-time jobs during the week and enjoy gigging with friends at the weekend.
Whilst you might save a bit of money by booking a hobbyist band, you cannot be guaranteed that the performance will be nearly as good as a professional band. Professional musicians are practising and performing every day, which means they’re always on top form and their bands are extremely tight. A hobbyist band, by contrast, may not be as well-rehearsed, and will probably have a lot less performing experience.
Hobbyist bands often cost the same as student bands. Booking students, even students at music college, can be extremely risky. Yes, the musicians may be talented performers, but they do not have experience performing at hundreds of functions and private events, which means mistakes and logistical problems are much more likely to occur.
Professional = a band of full-time musicians who earn the majority of their income through performance
Professional bands are usually made up of musicians who have trained at prestigious music colleges before becoming full-time musicians. Not only will they feature musicians of the highest technical ability, but these musicians will probably have a better ear and sense of musicality than musicians who do not practice and perform on a near-daily basis.
Booking a professional band means you’re in safe hands. The band will deliver a polished performance, and because they’ll have experience from hundreds of previous events, they’ll be extremely easy to communicate and work with during the run-up to your big day.
Luxury = a high-end band of incredibly experienced professional (and often famous) musicians
Luxury bands feature all-star line-ups of outstanding professional musicians. Musicians who have performed internationally alongside world-famous musicians and artists. Luxury bands will primarily perform at prestigious events and high-end corporate functions, so their starting prices will be considerably higher than a band that performs mostly at private events and weddings.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for, so if you’re looking for an experienced and professional ceilidh band to knock the socks off your guests, you should expect to pay more than if you were to hire a young or inexperienced band.
We really hope you’ve found this guide helpful. If you would like to find a ceilidh band to perform at your event, create an Encore enquiry today to be matched with incredible bands available on your date and based near your venue.
Looking for more advice on booking a ceilidh band? Check out our comprehensive Jazz Band Booking Guide.