Hints and tips for those organising a Barn Dance
These notes came out of several difficult events, when I realised that I'd been to more band dances than many of my clients!
If you're planning to run a Barn Dance, and have not done this before, here are a few tips to help you:-
- Give yourself plenty of time to organise it. There's quite a lot to do, and good bands and callers get booked up months in advance.
- Ensure that those coming know what they are letting themselves in for! Slippery shoes or high heels may not be a good idea. In addition, you might want to advise the women coming that skirts are probably more comfortable and generally nicer to dance in than jeans, especially if it's a warm evening.
- It's helpful if there's a stage, to give the caller a better view of what's going on, and to prevent over-enthusiastic dancers from crashing into the band.
- We will usually aim to arrive about an hour before the start of the of the dance, to allow time for setting up. Please ensure that we can get into the hall!
- We will need a standard 13amp socket for our amplification.
- Lighting for barn dancing needs to be a lot brighter that used for the average disco, for several reasons:-
So, if you're unfamiliar with the hall, please ensure that you know where the light switches are - for both the hall and the stage!
- Firstly, the dancers may be moving amongst each other fairly quickly, and it's a lot safer for all concerned if they can see each other clearly.
- Secondly, we have to set up our equipment, which involves plugging a variety of cables into various sockets, and we can't do this in the dark.
- Thirdly, we have too many tunes to be able to remember them all, so we have written music, which we need to be able to see.
- Avoid the situation where the dancing is in one room and the seats, drinks etc. are in another. It's very difficult for the caller if everyone disappears between dances.
- Be aware the Barn Dancing takes up more floor space than disco dancing. Also, a very slippery floor can be dangerous. However, carpet can be rather tiring for the dancers: the shorter the pile, the better.
- We try to please; if there's anything that you would particularly like us to play, let us know. But it helps if you can tell us beforehand, so we have time to prepare it.
- We want to arrive at the right place. It will help us greatly if you can send us a map showing the location of the venue, about two weeks before the event. If it has a postcode, that will be useful for drivers with satellite navigation - and do warn us if the postcode is misleading!
- Playing for dancing can be thirsty work, particularly for woodwind players. If it's a "bring your own drinks" event, we would appreciate being warned.
- Barn Dances are usually fairly informal events, and we dress accordingly. If, however, your event is likely to be formal (e.g. a wedding), please let us know, and we'll come out smartly dressed.