Licence To Ceilidh

Scottish Ceilidh band for hire.
Licence To Ceilidh are the perfect Band for any wedding ceilidh, Scottish ceilidh, corporate event, team-building day, Birthday party, private function or festival.

...five absolutely phenomenal musicians, all classically trained, but totally dedicated to traditional music...

Hammersmith Irish Centre wont find a more professional and friendly band if you tried! Thank you so much L2C for really making our event...

Michael Huyton, Event Manager, Amnesty International UK

...Thank you for the fantastic ceilidh at our wedding on Saturday night, we had so many great comments from our guests and everyone loved it...

Louise & Craig, Wedding
Listen to Licence To Ceilidh

Licence To Ceilidh's Bio

Licence To Ceilidh are the perfect Band for any wedding ceilidh, Scottish ceilidh, corporate event, team-building day, Birthday party, private function or festival.

Licence To Ceilidh specialise in Scottish ceilidh, but regularly play Irish and English as well. Established in 2000, they have many years of experience in teaching party guests how to dance the steps, and their unique mix of traditional tunes with a funky rhythm section gives the excitement of a function band with the inclusiveness of a Scottish ceilidh.

No previous country dancing experience is necessary to take part and everyone can get involved whatever their age, musical taste or talents on the dancefloor. From the word go, it’s easy and a lot of fun. Their range of dances is very diverse, with influences from all over the UK, Ireland and North America.  Their caller usually starts with the Gay Gordons or another simple dance like the Circassian Circle, and makes sure as many guests who are capable of standing get involved. After this initial icebreaker, it’s often difficult to get even the most reluctant punters to sit down again!

Other dances include the famous Strip the Willow, a raucous affair with lines of people stretching all the way down the room, the Virginia Reel for four to five couples in a set, the Pat-A-Cake-Polka for those who like to slap the thighs of other guests as well as their own, the OXO Reel, the Cumberland Square Eight, Flying Scotsman, Canadian Barndance, Eightsome Reels and many more. A favourite with the gentlemen is the Dashing White Sergeant, in which a guy can dance with two ladies at once.  And if you have a dance that you are particularly fond of, you can always request it in advance.

License To Ceilidh bring their own high quality P.A. and LED band lighting. All equipment is regularly PAT tested.

Past Clients Include: Sting (twice!) : BBC 2 – Great British Menu : BBC Three : Channel 4 – Gok Wan’s Fashion Fix : Orange : Vodafone : RAF : Gareth Malone (BBC 2’s “The Choir”) : National Geographic Society : Hermes : Royal Academy of Music : Royal College of Music : Trinity College of Music : MOD : NHS : CBI : ICI : Pearson Education : Herbert Smith LLP : Mencap : Amnesty International : Royal Canin : London Scottish : Serco : South Bank Centre : Al Ain Hilton, United Arab Emirates : Brunel University : Kings College Cambridge : Vinopolis : Hammersmith Irish Centre and many more…

They are also recommended suppliers for: Bijou Weddings : Visit Scotland : South Farm : Ramster : Cowdray Park : London Ceilidh Club

Alyssa is Licence to Ceilidh’s main caller.

Being from Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Alyssa grew up surrounded by ceilidhs and Scottish music.

She studied dance and theatre arts from a young age and trained at the prestigious Dance School of Scotland in Glasgow from the age of 16, gaining an A.T.C.L diploma in Musical Theatre from the Trinity College London. Alyssa was invited to audition for the first ever Andrew Lloyd Webber scholarship back in 2007 winning a place at the famous Arts Educational School in London, which she graduated from in 2010 with a BA Hons in Musical Theatre.

Since graduating Alyssa has performed in a range of musical theatre shows both on and off West End, including: Liesl in “The Sound of Music” UK Tour & Jordan 2010 – 2011, Jordan Tour 2013 and International Tour 2015, Romemary in “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” London 2014, “Betwixt!” Trafalgar Studios 2011 and more…

Alyssa brings great fun and energy to the ceilidhs she calls as well as clear instruction. In addition to this she is also a fantastic vocalist singing with our pop Covers band option, as well as performing as a dancer with Licence to Ceilidh on corporate and party bookings!


“Licence to Ceilidh played at one of our Amnesty International flagship events in November and created a wonderful all inclusive atmopshere that each of our 250 guests thoroughly enjoyed. Ali and the band were an absolute dream to work with, from the initial enquries to the on-site performance. Their relaxed, friendly and calm attitude coupled with their traditional yet contemporary and truly epic sound became the highlight to the three day event and we recieved countless amounts of amazing feedback from our delegates. I thoroughly recommend them for any event you are planning, you wont find a more professional and friendly band if you tried! Thank you so much L2C for really making our event.”
Michael Huyton, Event Manager, Amnesty International UK, November 2011

“We would just like to thank all the band members of Licence to Ceilidh for playing at our wedding yesterday. We had the most perfect day and the ceilidh just rounded it off perfectly. It was great fun. Many of our friends and family were still raving about it the next day. Thank you for doing such a great job. Your professionalism was brilliant. I am sure at times that you must have thought it would be easier to herd cats than to get our friends to listen and concentrate! Thank you again.”
Jane & Grant, Cowdray Park, Midhurst

“You guys were fantastic. The quartet was wonderful and really provided the perfect atmosphere for the reception. We were very happy with your decision to play in the garden, which made a lovely start to the evening. Music is important to both our families and we are really pleased we got that right!”
Robin & Tryphena

“We were fortunate enough to have Licence to Ceilidh playing at our wedding. I found the whole evening fantastic and danced all night. The guests clearly had an amazing time too and still speak about the ceilidh two months after the event. The advantage of having a ceilidh is that everyone is able to join in the dancing; my grandmother was on the dance floor as often as my friends. Some of the teenagers were quite sceptical as they had never been to a ceilidh before, but they also had a great time and seemed surprised at how enjoyable the dances were. Licence to Ceilidh are all excellent musicians with a clear, professional caller. I would not hesitate in recommending them.”
Kate Butler

“Having Licence to Ceilidh at our wedding was a wonderful experience. Right from the outset the calm, unfussy way in which the band rigged and set up made us confident we were working with professionals. Their relaxed manner and experience in judging when was the right time to start the dances was invaluable – guests don’t like to be rushed! In the meantime I was amazed and delighted to see the band allowing the children to touch and try the instruments – we had a veritable education workshop going! It’s not often you see that kind of genuine, enthusiastic rapport, but all the performers were absolute stars with the young ‘uns. The instructions and calling were top rate – not patronising, not too fast, not too complex but not too easy. There was a real sense of satisfaction (with the exception perhaps of the drunk old ladies who had fallen flat on their arses) at the end of each dance. The music was energetic yet refined, and there were plenty of recognisable tunes ‘dropped in’ to the catches and reels to entertain the more classically oriented. All in all everyone had a great evening. Thank you Licence to Ceilidh for an unforgettable experience!”
Alex Osiatynski

“I am writing to thank you for Licence to Ceilidh’s wonderful performance in this year’s Windsor Festival.
I was such a pity that I was unable to hear you all perform but I have heard wonderful reports of the concert from my colleagues and we have had much positive feedback. Please pass on my thanks to the other members of the group.”
Fiona Murphy, Events Director, Windsor Festival

“Thank you very much to you and to the band for a fantastic party to celebrate our wedding on Saturday in Sudeley Castle. I hope that you enjoyed the evening as much as we did! The choice of dances was excellent, and the calling done with good humour and enthusiasm. Everyone I have spoken to enjoyed the dancing, from old Scottish country dancing hands to newbie sassenachs. Hope to catch License to Ceilidh again soon!”
Mark : Wedding, Sudeley Castle, July 2011

“Thank you for the fantastic ceilidh at our wedding on Saturday night, we had so many great comments from our guests and everyone loved it!”
Louise & Craig : Wedding, Wasing Park, August 2011

“I just wanted to say thanks very much for playing at our wedding, you guys were great. We’ve had many comments back from our guests on how good you guys were – especially from the 1st time ceilidh go-ers.  We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your Ceilidh band for hire

Many thanks”
Iain & Anna : Wedding, Northbrook Park, August 2011

“Just a quick note to say thank you to you and to the guys who performed on Friday night with professionalism, gusto and fun.
You were easy and efficient to deal with and the band were excellent on Friday night… we loved them as did our guests.
There were always people dancing with huge smiles on their faces and sweat on their brows, right until the end of the evening.
(PS The staff at the Lensbury told us that the band was great because they were young and energetic..not like other ceilidh bands they had experienced !!!)
Definitely highly recommended and I am racking my brains for another excuse to party!”
Lyn & Glen : Wedding, Lensbury, Teddington, September 2011

“We had a wonderful time at our wedding and the guests are still talking about the ceilidh. You managed to get everyone dancing (except the girl with the broken leg!). Thanks so much for incorporating some of our choices – your ‘Hava Nagila’-ceilidh-style-mashup was particularly memorable. Great musicianship and professionalism. Your PA and lights were great too and thanks for helping with the bestman’s video presentation!”
Gareth Malone, ‘The Choir’ BBC2

“You’ve got to smile at that kind of music, haven’t you?”
Verity Sharp, BBC Radio 3

“Just to say a big thanks for playing at our wedding, everyone had a great time and the Ceilidh really made the night!”
Susan Leiper

“Everyone had a great time at the wedding and I thought you all did a brilliant job providing the music. I would definitely recommend you to anyone else looking for a ceilidh band. Many thanks for all your hard work!”
Ian Turner : Wedding : Lains Barn, Oxfordshire

“Also, just wanted to say what an amazing job you guys did on Saturday.
The reputation that lead us to choose you guys is definitely deserved. Everyone had a fantastic time and a lot of people made a point of telling me how impressed they were with you lot, brilliant choice of dances and your caller did an extremely good job.”
Ewan Beck : Wedding : RSA House, London

“The party was a hit from start to finish. The organisation was impeccable and the calling professional and concise.
To have such young and incredibly talented, thoroughly glossy musicians hosting the evening was a real treat!
A party run by such a group couldn’t fail to be a roaring good evening!”
Jeremy Heal, Tax Lawyer Partner Howes Percival and Chairman Eastern Opera

“Although initially we hesitated before booking Licence to Ceilidh as they seemed rather more expensive than other ceilidh bands around, in hindsight, what a fantastic choice we made.
My wife and I (Both Scottish born and bred) have been going to ceilidhs on and off for the past 30 years, the majority in Scotland rather than down south. We’d been going to the various clubs in London that regularly hold public ceilidhs since moving to London in August 2006. We had an idea that for my 50th Birthday that was rapidly approaching, we wanted to find the “perfect” ceilidh band, if such a thing existed; an experienced caller who, could not only deal with friends of mine who have never partaken in a single dance and visibly shudder at the idea, but also the more seasoned ceilidh dancers who like the more complicated longer dances.
We considered quite a few different groups and saw most of them play, some eight bands in total! Licence to Ceilidh won our vote by quite a considerable margin. Not only did they tick my mental boxes of the caller, a well organised outfit etc, the players themselves were really quite something. I had read on the website that they were classically trained at music colleges, but we really hadn’t heard playing of that standard coming from a ceilidh band, where the most important factor is the dancing itself.
Needless to say, our event went with a swing and it still comes up in conversation regularly…and yes, I’ve spoken to the band and booked them again for another do next summer!”
H.B. Peters

“Thank you!! The ceilidh was brilliant, everyone had a fantastic night – someone even told me it was the best night they had ever had at Herbert Smith, which must be a good sign! Will be in touch for next year!”
Louise Ferrell, Associate, Herbert Smith LLP

“Just a quick note to say that the team you sent to do our wedding at the National Liberal Club on 28th June did an excellent job and made the wedding party go with gusto! They were very easy and flexible to work with and we were grateful that they accomodated Frank Hamilton by sharing their equipment.
It was such a great success that we would like to do a family Ceilidh on another occasion – we shall certainly check in with you if we do.
With many thanks to your musicians
best wishes”
Sarah and Fran Galashan

“Phenomenal New ‘Trad’ Band… Licence to Ceilidh features five absolutely phenomenal musicians, all classically trained, but totally dedicated to Irish traditional music. Recently featured on BBC Radio 3, they blasted the airwaves with their fast and furious driving rhythms and invigorating foot stomping tunes.
A great night of musical entertainment is guaranteed!”
Hammersmith Irish Centre

“Just wanted to write you a note to say thanks so much! We’ve had so many positive comments about the band and the dancing was FANTASTIC. Below are some photos which we think really show what a great time everyone had. Facebook went mad the next day! We’ve raised over £13,000 for Kirsten’s charity which is amazing and will make all the difference. We are hoping to do it again next year and I will be in touch when the dust has settled. Kindest regards, Daisy”
Charity Fundraiser, Battersea Arts Centre, February 2012

“…everything went like clock work. Including all things “Licence to Ceilidh”. Thank you very much. The music was just great”
Burns Night Event, Dover College, January 2012

“Thank you very much for your all your help on the 27th making our wedding a very memorable occasion.
I really enjoyed your music and felt that it appealed to more ages than any other tribute band would have done. We all, but perhaps especially the children loved the dancing. Thanks for putting up with us very inexperienced ceilidhers! Please pass on my thanks to everyone in the band who played for us that night. You even managed to get Bill dancing which is very, very unusual!!”
Alex & Bill, Wedding, Poole, December 2011

“Many thanks again for the 23rd – everyone had an absolute blast.”
Jack Cutmore-Scott, Party, Botleys Mansion, December 2011

“Just a quick note to thank the band for the fantastic playing on Thursday. Yet again, we had a large number of compliments about the music: the guys really made the occasion very special. A Ceilidh is such a great way of getting people of all ages onto the dance floor. Our children and their teenage friends were as keen as the more mature members of the party! Now that we have had a couple of Ceilidhs, we seem to have started a tradition and so I am sure we will be back in touch for a third visit before too long. All the best to you for 2012.”
Philip & Rhuann, Party, Oxfordshire, December 2011

“Thank you so much for a great session at the Old Chapel Centre last Saturday. Everyone said how much they enjoyed the music and it couldn’t have been better. The perfect thing for a 60th Birthday. I am sure we will start a new trend for Ceilidh’s in the village…Hope to see you performing again soon…Many Thanks for making it such a memorable day”
Caroline, 60th Birthday, Alfriston, December 2011

“The ceilidh was really excellent – you guys did a great job…..great feedback from all the guests – so thanks again for playing a massive part in making the evening so memorable!”
Rob & Kawitha, London, December 2011

“I would like to thank you and the band for the wonderful music that you provided on Saturday. The Ceilidh was a great success and we had great feedback, particularly from the Scottish contingent!”
Hannah & Stephen, South Farm, December 2011

“Just wanted to say thanks very much for Thursday night – we’ve had a lot of great feedback about the Ceilidh and everyone really enjoyed themselves.”
London Scottish, December 2011

“Hi Ali, Sorry for not being in touch sooner but we have been away from technology. We just wanted to say many thanks to Philippe and Lee and also many thanks for a great ceilidh – everyone seems to have enjoyed it and it certainly made for a good party. Thanks again”
Toby and Becca, Lewes, December 2011

“Licence to Ceilidh were fantastic. They had all our guests of all ages up dancing all evening and everyone commented on how lively and fun the band and music were. Thank you! We will definitely be recommending you to friends and family.”
Sarah and Ian, Wedding, London, November 2011

“Just to say a huge thank you; last night was great. Well done for getting everyone up and dancing – I know you’re old hands at it but it makes such a difference when everyone gets up and has a go. So so many compliments about ‘the band’ – everyone had a great time.
Thanks so much – and hope we’ll see you again sometime, With best wishes to you all.”
Alison: 40th Birthday Party, Lains Barn, November 2011

“Just a note to say thank-you so much for playing at our wedding. We had such a fantastic night and so many people have said how much they enjoyed the music and the dancing. The band were great and the caller was really good fun. We appreciated the correpondance from Ali and all her help answering our questions before the day. Thanks for making our wedding even more special and memorable.”
Laura & Rob, South Farm, Cambridgeshire, October 2011

“Thank you so much for piping, playing the flute and providing the superb music for our ceilidh at our wedding. The music worked perfectly and many of our guests have commented how much they enjoyed the ceilidh. You impressed a delegation of hard core scottish ceilidh dancers – well done!. Please pass on our gratitude to Ali and the others in the band. We are enclosing some photos – a snapshot of our happy memories. Hope to catch up with Licence to Ceilidh in the not too distant future.”
Simon & Rosie, Fabrika, Brighton, September 2011

“The ceilidh really was a real highlight of our wedding – unforgettable! Thank you so much.”
Steven & Allison: Wedding, Oxford, August 2011

“Please could you pass on our thanks to the band and DJs who kept the party going all night. The Ceilidh band were fantastic and we had so many comments from our guests saying how much they enjoyed the music and the dancing (many of them Ceilidh virgins!). Also, a huge thank you to the two DJs – they played a brilliant mix of music and managed to incorporate many of our requests into the setlist. We had an amazing night (as did our guests) so thank you very much!”
Michael & Rebecca: Wedding, RAC Club, August 2011

“I just wanted to write and say a massive massive thank you for performing at our wedding on 5 August. Everyone absolutely loved the evening – it is the talking point of the wedding. The music was phenominal and we had an awesome time. With kind regards and many thanks”
Julia & Jon: Wedding, Cowdray Park, August 2011

“Thank you to License to Ceilidh for such great music at our party.
I had a ball and everybody commented on the fantastic music and Ceilidh.
The bodhran was a great idea and worked very well.
I hope we can host another Ceilidh soon.”
Pauline and Sam : Party, Wimbledon, June 2011

Just to say thank you for an amazing ceilidh and disco last night for our big day! Everybody had a great time! We thoroughly enjoyed it. I was sorry that we lost some time to the start of the ceilidh but I think there speaches were worth the wait in the end! We were thrilled! Everyone commented on how great the ceilidh was, great calling, great fiddle player….it was all absolutely brilliant. Thank you again
Amy and Malcolm : Wedding, Kent

“I just wanted to drop you a line to say how pleased we were with the band that played for us last Saturday. They were absolutely marvellous and we, and our guests, had a fabulous evening. The caller…was professional and friendly and explained everything beautifully. Please pass on our thanks to him.”
Julie Binysh : 50th Birthday Party

“I didn’t hear it myself, but my sister informs me Jim said it was one of the best dressed barn dances he had been to so we are very proud of that accolade!!
I’m sorry I wasn’t a better hostess (too busy enjoying myself) and hope that you guys helped yourselves to food and drinks??! Thanks again – we all really had a fabulous night.”
Josie Judge : Albury Village Hall

“Just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and your band for playing at our Rock and Reel event on 19th February. Our guests had a great time and really enjoyed reeling to your dances!”
Mencap Event: Battersea Arts Centre, Feb 2011

“This is an excellent band of dedicated young musicians. They have great energy and commitment to their music. They provide great atmosphere, direction and music for dancing, or just listening.”
It seemed a natural choice to have a ceilidh for our wedding, as all the best wedding receptions we have been to involve much swirling around the dance floor to the sound of fiddles and flutes. We were keen to find a band who were modern and who could be adaptable to our ‘crowd’, as although a number of guests were Scottish, we didn’t think we could necessarily rely on everyone knowing the dances. We booked Licence to Ceilidh directly after hearing them play at the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall. Their music was fantastic and when some members of the audience spontaneously got to their feet to dance we were convinced.
The band played an enormous part in making our wedding the truly memorable day it was. Thanks to such patient and clear calling the dance floor remained full throughout the evening. In fact, it was so full for the first round of the Gay Gordons that nobody noticed when the bride and groom were forced to abandon the floor and retreat to the bar! Strip the Willow was repeated a couple of times due to popular demand, and although on our video it was hard to tell who exactly was spinning around at 100 mph, it was clear that everybody was grinning a lot! It was also a lovely surprise to have Auld Lang Syne played at the end of the evening, when everyone joined in and then encouraged us to take the floor, causing a few sentimental souls to shed a tear or two.
“We would certainly highly recommend Licence to Ceilidh. In fact, we’re trying to think how we can justify hiring them for another event as we had such fun. Definitely the best ceilidh band we’ve danced with so far.”
Joanna and Gordon Hutchinson

“We just wanted to say a huge thank you for the wonderful ceilidh at our wedding at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst on 6 September. Everyone commented on how good you all were, you motivated everyone onto the dance floor and in all our photographs, everyone is laughing and smiling even if the dancing leaves a lot to be desired. Your caller had a huge amount of patience and her instructions were incredibly good as even the drunkest of people managed to find their way in the right direction eventually.
You really topped our wedding off with a truly happy and memorable night. Thank you once again and we wish you all the best. Please could you pass this message to the other band members.”

We thoroughly recommend Licence to Ceilidh for your wedding reception. After checking them out at the monthly Ceilidh Club at Cecil Sharp House we knew they would be perfect for our wedding and they more than delivered the goods on the day.
The band set up in a professional and unassuming way and also helped us with our post-band disco so that the whole evening went smoothly. Their set was upbeat and inclusive and soon had all guests – both young and old – joining in. The calling was great and more than sympathetic to the fact that most guests (bride and groom included) were not accomplished Ceilidh dancers. It did not take long for everybody to relax and join in. The band were a key part to a memorable wedding day.
Many thanks
– Glenn Palmer & Nina Guy

“Exhilarating. This band of talented and energetic young musicians drove visitors at the Hampton Court Palace FlowerShow to exhaustion. They had toddlers and grandparents cavorting about with a delightful mix of music and expertly called dances. It was impossible to remain seated. Handsome and humorous, they are the best generation gap busters in the country.”
Stephen Bennett, Shows Director, Royal Horticultural Society

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