The Houlies are a young, energetic and professional ceilidh band

Frequently Asked Questions



How Much do you charge?

Every event is different, as we take factors such as how long we are playing, how far we are travelling, and when we can set up into account. You can take a look at our price guide which we use to price all of our events; and as we price every event according to this you can be confident that you will receive a fair and reasonable quotation.


How Long Do you Play For?

Our standard set is three hours long, with a half an hour break in the middle - as we find that this works particularly well. However, we are also available to play for shorter/longer periods of time - and often do! Often for larger events - such as balls and corporate entertainment - where a ceilidh is only part of the evening’s entertainment, we will play a two hour set.


Where do you play?

Essentially, we are happy to play anywhere! The band is primarily based between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and we commonly play throughout Scotland. We also love to travel to play - whether across the United Kingdom or abroad - so if you would love us to play at your event in a location far from Scotland, please don’t hesitate to be in touch. We welcome enquiries from overseas.


My guests have never been to a ceilidh before, is that ok?

Absolutely! We love teaching and playing for first time ceilidh dancers! We will call all of the dances at a pace suitable for your guests, and are always on hand to keep people right should they get confused. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that everyone enjoys themselves, and we do not enforce strict dancing rules!

Furthermore, nationality and language is no barrier as we frequently play for guests travelling from all over the world - with past guests coming from as far as America, Australia, Russia and Greece.


Do you have your own sound system?

Yes! We have a high-end sound system, which ensures that we sound great for every event - and can cater comfortably to events of up to 300 guests. For very large events with over 300 guests, we may need to hire additional equipment - but events of this size tend to have a sound team anyway, and we are more than happy to liaise with them!


How Long Do you need to Set up?

We usually require an hour and a half to set up our equipment and soundcheck, but this can be done in an hour if necessary. We always prefer to set up before your guests arrive.


How DOes the booking process work?

As an independent band without an agency, booking is done directly with us. Sam deals with all aspects of the booking, from the initial enquiry to our performance on the night:

  1. Make an enquiry!

  2. Sam will liaise with the other band members to check our availability for your date, and reply to your enquiry as soon as possible (usually within 48 Hours).

  3. If we are available, Sam will send you a form which takes you through all of the information we need.

  4. Once we have all of the necessary information, Sam will send you a quotation.

  5. If you would like to go ahead with the booking, Sam will issue you with our contract, and a £100 deposit is needed to secure the date.

  6. The remaining fee is payable before we begin setup for the event.


How do I make payment?

Payment can be made in several ways:

  1. By credit/debit card through the online invoice which you will receive when the booking is confirmed.

  2. By bank transfer.

  3. By Paypal.

For security reasons, we do not accept cash on the night.


What Happens if We cancel the event?

As soon as your booking is confirmed, we will turn down other enquiries for the same date. Therefore, the £100 deposit is non-refundable.


What Happens if a Band Member is Ill?

In the unfortunate event that one of our band members is ill, we will endeavour to find a suitable replacement musician - and we have many musicians who we can contact at a moment’s notice. If we are unable to do so, we reserve the right to refund the individual band member’s fee. Please note that no band member has ever missed an event due to illness, so this has never had to happen!


Can We hear You live?

As the vast majority of events are private, this is at the complete discretion of our clients. If we have an event coming up, with the exception of weddings, we are happy to ask if we can invite you along to hear us in action. Otherwise, take a look at the clips on our media page!


What Dances Do you Play?

Our ceilidhs contain a variety of dances including:

The Gay Gordons, Dashing White Sergeant, Canadian Barn Dance, Flying Scotsman, Riverside Jig, Military Two Step, Virginia Reel, Strip the Willow (normal and Orcadian), Cumberland Square Eight, Hoolichan Jig, Auld Lang Syne.


Do we need to book a Separate DJ?

As we bring our high quality sound system to every event, we are able to provide a disco service following our ceilidh - using either a playlist which you provide, or one of our own. If you would like us to sort out the playlist, we will send you a form where you can indicate your musical preferences - as well as any song requests. Note that we just use playlists, and will not be doing any advanced mixing or DJing so if this is what you are looking for, it is probably best to book a DJ!


I Am Having a Marquee / Tipi Wedding, What are your power REQUIREMENTS?

We require 500 W of power for our PA system. We also require the sockets allocated to the band to be standard UK 13-amp sockets (Type G), as our equipment is designed to plug into standard UK wall outlets - not the larger circular waterproof plugs which are often used to wire marquees and for catering equipment. Two (or more) sockets in the immediate vicinity of our performance space is ideal!


Do you have public Liability Insurance, and PAT Certification?

Yes. We have public liability insurance arranged through the Musicians Union, and all of our electrical equipment is PAT tested annually. Copies of both of these certificates are available through our client area, which is made available after booking.