Encore Blog

Irish Band Booking Guide – 2019 Prices, Hiring Advice and FAQs

Are you looking to hire live music for an Irish themed event?  Whether it’s celebrating the Irish heritage in your family at a wedding or hosting an unforgettable St Patrick’s Day event – it’s never been easier to find and book incredible Irish performers to make an event truly special.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about hiring Irish performers for your own Irish themed event.  Here is what we’ll cover:

  1. Different Types Of Irish Band
  2. Irish Band Equipment & Set Up
  3. Performance & Repertoire
  4. Irish Band Pricing
  5. Booking An Irish Band

Different Types Of Irish Band

There are lots of options available to you when choosing which type of Irish music to go with including Irish Ceili, Traditional Irish Folk Groups and Irish Rock Bands.

Irish Ceili Band

An incredibly interactive live music experience perfectly complimenting an authentic Irish theme.  The perfect way to get your guests dancing with traditional Irish music. Line ups can vary in size ranging from trios to 5 piece bands.  Irish Ceili Bands will usually comprise of a caller, fiddle player, accordion and guitars.

The spelling enthusiasts among you might have spotted the unusual Irish spelling of “ceili”. In Scots this is spelt “ceilidh” (though Scottish and Irish ceili(dh) bands play very similar styles of folk music). 

Ceili Max are one of the top Irish Ceili groups on Encore

Traditional Irish Folk Group

Ireland is famous for its folk tradition – walk into any pub in Dublin and you’re likely to find at least a few musicians plucking away in the corner. If this is the atmosphere you’d like to create at your event, then you’ll want to browse some traditional Irish groups.

The instruments you’ll find in a Traditional Irish Folk Group typically include a combination of Vocals, Guitar, Fiddles, Bodhrans (Irish Drums), Accordion, Irish whistle and Flute.  Popular songs include “Danny Boy”, Irish Eyes Are Smiling”, “Finnegan’s Wake”, “An Irish Lullaby” and “Rocky Road To Dublin”.

The Three Dollar Shoe performing a beautiful traditional Irish song

Irish Rock Band

Ireland has no shortage or iconic bands and artists so an Irish Rock Band can be a fantastic choice for weddings, private parties and St Patrick’s Day events.  The most popular repertoire includes covers from acts such as Thin Lizzy, The Pogues, Van Morrison The Dubliners, The Corrs, The Wolfe Tones, Dropkick Murphys and My Bloody Valentine.

The Craicheads are a brilliant example of a contemporary Irish band. 

How Many Musicians Will There Be In The Band?

Band sizes start at three people and go up from there. Most groups can be flexible about the size in order to suit your budget.

Irish Band Equipment & Setup

How much space does the Irish Band need?

A 5 to 6-piece band would need at least 5 x 3 meters. Remember that it’s not just the people – the band will also have to fit the PA, monitors, lighting, guitar amps and their instruments.  If space is particularly tight then a duo / trio option could be a better way to go.

What do I need to provide?

A power supply to hook up all the amplification equipment. They may also need chairs without arms.  The band will appreciate a meal as there is generally no time for them to leave the venue to eat.

Parking, as the band will have a lot of kit to transport. If there is no parking near the door, they must be able to unload near the door and then move the car.

How Long Will It Take For The Bands To Set Up?

Performers will normally get set up about 60-90 minutes before the performance.  If you have any special requirements most performers will be flexible although if you require them to set up a few hours earlier it may mean a slight increase in the final quote.

Do I Need To Provide The PA System?

The musicians will provide their own PA systems unless you have an in-house system.  The cost will already be included in the quote.

What Is PAT & PLI – Should My Band Have This?

PAT stands for portable appliance testing, and it ensures that electrical equipment is safe to use. PAT certificates should generally be no more than 12 months old, in order to comply with your venue’s insurance policy. You can find out more about PAT on this article: Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) explained.

PLI stands for Public Liability Insurance, also known as third party insurance. PLI covers damage to another person or their property during your event – for example, if one of your guests tripped over the band’s amp, PLI would insure this.

All professional bands should have PLI, and your venue is likely to require it. Encore bands with PLI will have a badge on their profile so you can verify it easily.

Trad Folk Experience provide a great Irish duo option if you don’t have the right budget or venue for a full band

Performance & Repertoire

How Long Will The Irish Band or Solo Performers Play For?

Typical performance is 3 x 40 minute sets with 15- 20 minute breaks in between.  Of course, there is usually a level of flexibility around this depending on your specific requirements.  

Can They Play For Longer?

3 sets is the maximum live sets we recommend so you can be guaranteed to enjoy a performance full of energy and excellence.  That being said, we want to ensure your event is a complete success so musicians will work with you to understand your bespoke requirements and help make sure you get what you imagine.

Can They Include DJ Sets or iPod/Spotify Playlists Through The PA

Most bands provide a complimentary ‘DJ’ service before and in between their live sets.  It’s definitely a great idea and a very common request to have playlisted music playing through the band’s PA system before they go live to prime the audience and then keep party vibe going in between the main live performances.

Can They Also Provide The DJ Service After Their Live Sets?

Most bands offer this service for between £150 and £250 on average.  If you’d like a full scale DJ rig with lighting etc the band or Encore can help source this, though it may cost upwards of £500.

The House Devils are one of the most popular Irish bands on Encore – here performing some fiendishly energetic jigs and reels it’s easy to see why!

 

Irish Band Repertoire

What Are Some Of The Most Popular Irish Songs?

Popular repertoire includes:

Whiskey In The Jar

Galway Girl

Irish Rover

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Drunken Lullabies

This Is A Rebel Song

Danny Boy

Dirty Old Town

Molly Malone

Zombie

Finnegan’s Wake

The Rocky Road To Dublin

Encore band The Thumping Tommys perform the classic Irish tune “Whiskey in the Jar”

How Do We Get People Dancing?

Your musicians have you covered!  Having music play through the PA before the live sets start will prime your guests and an energetic performance of popular songs will do the rest.  

Ceili is a great way to get all of your guests dancing whilst also keeping within a traditional Irish theme.

Will The Irish Bands Take Requests?

It’s better to make any song requests prior to the event.  Set lists are crafted from lots of live experience and musicians knowing what crowds respond best to at different parts of the evening.  

Can I Pick The Songs?

You will be able to view musician’s full song lists and example set lists in advance so you’ll be able to let them know any songs you don’t want them to include as well as the ones you definitely do.  If there is a special song you’d like to have them perform that isn’t included in the repertoire list it may be possible for them to learn it if you tell them with enough advance. Depending on how complicated the piece it may require a small fee.

Irish Band Pricing

How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Irish Band?

An indicative range would be £850-£1200 for a 4-5 piece Irish band (so between £200-£300 per musician).  

What If The Cost Of A Band Is Outside Of My Budget

Incredible live music performance is what makes an event truly unforgettable.  However, if you do need a budget to work harder then there are still options available.  For example, some bands over a variety of line up options – so perhaps ask the 5 piece band if they have a 3 piece line up option.  

Alternatively, consider a Duo or Soloist.  With less musicians to pay, you can still bring your event to life with live music whilst working within a stricter budget.

Off peak days, such as Mondays to Wednesdays may also enable you to unlock reduced rates from some musicians.

Do I Have To Pay Travel Fees?

Musicians are used to traveling all over the country to perform and even internationally.  Travel costs on Encore are displayed next to the performance quote. Finding bands closer to your venue is recommended to ensure this cost stay low, although finding the RIGHT band or musician should always be top priority.

The incredibly talented family group Maguire Band are guaranteed to liven up any event

Booking An Irish Band

How Far In Advance Should I Book My Band?

Generally speaking sooner you book the better.  It’s one less stress to think about during your event planning and increases the likelihood of your favourite act being available – giving you more choice. At least 9-12 Months in advance is a good time, especially if your event falls on a peak weekends (e.g. during Wedding Season and Christmas) or is a particular high demand annual date such as St Patrick’s Day and New Years Eve.

That being said, with there being so much to think about when planning an event and knowing that life does get in the way, Encore is perfectly positioned to help you find fantastic Irish Band options if your event is only a few months, weeks or days away.

Can I Find Irish Musicians Last Minute?

If you’ve made a last minute decision to include live Irish music at your event or you had an act booked and they’ve had to cancel – Encore can help.  We have the UK’s largest collective of talented musicians and we can find last minute options for you almost instantly.

Simply create an enquiry here or contact one of our team at [email protected]

How Do I Handle Contracts & Payments

The easiest way to handle contracts and payment is to book through Encore. Once you have confirmed a booking with your chosen band, contracts and payments will be handled automatically by Encore Pay, our secure payments system and you’ll have peace of mind with our robust cancellation policy.

To start booking a function band, head over to our home page to receive tailored quotes for your event.

Hopefully this guide answers all of your questions! If you have more questions about function bands, email us at [email protected] and we’d be more than happy to help.

Featured image: The Craicheads

 

Joel Vincent

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