Venues

Having confidently predicted that you will attract enough dancers to your event, what facilities will you need for them? This depends on many things not least whether you will be dancing inside or outside. You should think about:-

  • Space – For a small dance of between 30-60 people the recommended floor space required equates to about half to one whole tennis court sized area. It is possible to dance in smaller areas but remember seating areas will take up some room whilst people will need access routes to get to toilets etc.
  • Dancing outside
    • Rain – do you need shelter or a wet-weather contingency?
    • Light – even in the height of summer, lack of light may become an issue for dancers and the band as early as 9pm. Do you need lighting?
    • Uneven ground – the dancing surface should be as flat and level as possible to avoid the risk of injury. It is difficult to dance on anything other than short grass of a solid surface.
      Noise – will this be an issue with the local neighbourhood? With a prevailing wind, sound can carry a surprisingly long way.
    • Gate crashers – will these be a problem? Do you need a means of prevention i.e. arena fencing?
  • Dancing Inside
    • Flooring – this should be flat and level and ideally unpolished (avoid French Chalk also). Larger venues will often assemble interlinking wooden dance floors over carpets and these usually have a bevelled edge. If possible, these floors should be avoided unless they cover the entire area since the change in height over the bevel edges are a trip hazard and frequently lead to dancers twisting ankles.
    • Noise – will this be a problem with the local neighbourhood? Are there local byelaws limiting the use of loud music after a certain time? Does the venue use a sound limiter/monitor? (if this is the case I will be happy to discuss the implications of this with you).
    • Stage – these are not necessary but are useful as they allow the caller to see the dancers and the dancers to see the band.
  • General Requirements
    • Parking – is there adequate parking for the predicted number of attendees? Remember the band will greatly appreciate allocated parking nearest to the venue, making the job of manhandling heavy equipment as easy as possible.
    • Power – the band/caller will require at least 2 x 240v 13 amp mains outlets as close to the ‘stage’ as possible. These must be weather proof for outdoor events and protected across walkways.
    • Facilities – Access to lavatories will be required. Something to sit down on in between dances is also welcome.
    • Refreshments – Dancers will need to be able to quench their thirst, even if it’s just a jug of cold water! Many people adopt the ‘BYO’ (bring your own) approach to alcohol. Arrangements for catering may be required. Avoid heavy meals at ceilidhs.
    • Fire – There may be limits on numbers attending that must comply with fire regulations.
    • Licensing – The venue may require an entertainments licence to host music and dance – ask your Local Authority for more details about this. (Licensing Act 2003)

Now lets look at the music…