How to Plan a Barn Dance

By | January 21, 2018

Barn dances have become very popular for all kinds of events from wedding receptions through to corporate events, birthday parties and village fetes – even prom nights!. I believe their popularity is due to the fact that people of all ages enjoy these events equally. Here is my guide to planning and running a successful event.

The Venue

Barn dances rarely take place in barns, so there is no overpowering need to go and find a friendly farmer and get him to lend you his barn. In fact barns can make very poor venues (unless specifically prepared or designed for such events) as there are often no amenities such as toilets etc. They can also have a tenancy to get a little cold and they can be quite dusty when the dancers start to kick up the dust from the floor unless the barn has been meticulously swept and cleaned beforehand. It is sometimes better to pick a venue such as a village hall, school hall or a large hotel. If the barn dance is for a wedding then a room in the hotel where the wedding reception is being held is usually the norm. The band will also need room to set up their equipment. Ask them how much equipment they have and how much room they will need. You wouldn’t be able to get say a five piece band with a drum-kit onto a stage that is only designed for a duo. Always make sure that there is ample room for the dancers to dance. A barn dance will need a bigger dance floor than a disco. Ask the venue how large the dancing area is.

Choosing a band

Most barn dance bands have a website these days where you can hear snippets of their music or see videos of their live performances. Choose your band to suit the occasion and the likely taste of your guests. Remember that a barn dance band also has to be listened to as well as danced to.

Barn dance bands come in an array of different forms from the traditional accordion, guitar and fiddle arrangement to the more rock and roll type electric barn dance bands. Most bands will sing a song between the dances so that there is always some entertainment throughout the dance. The more rock and roll end of the bands will usually have a few rock and roll numbers for the end of the night and be able to “mix things up” a little to suit everyone.

When choosing a band it is true to say that you get what you pay for. Do not choose on cost alone. It may be better to pay more than you expected to get an evening that everyone remembers for all the right reasons and not the wrong ones. Nearly all barn dance bands come complete with a caller, but always remember to ask if this is the case. Make sure your bands equipment is PAT tested and the band has Public Liability Insurance. This is becoming obligatory in many venues and all barn dance bands should carry such insurance.

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