Barn dance venues

Village and community halls are great barn dance venues as they are usually a good size for dancing. Additionally, they have all of the facilities you need in one space.

Choose your barn dance venue wisely

Village and Community Halls

Scallywag barn dance and disco in action
Village and community halls are great spaces for barn dances

Local halls are great venues as they are usually a good size for dancing and have all of the facilities you need in one space.

Some have particular rules about types of entertainment, volume, food, drink, rubbish disposal, etc. so it is best to check out their terms and conditions. Also, find out about finishing and locking up times as I have seen over-zealous caretakers and wardens put an unpleasant end on a good evening?

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Wedding venues and hotels

Usually food and drink is all part of the package and provided by the venue. However, space is usually an issue. Check out this Blog post for more information on Space at barn dance venues.

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Food and drink at venues

This is usually pre-determined at hotels but, if you are organising your own venue for your reception such as a village hall, you need to check your user agreement.

Please check that you can do what you plan to do under the venue’s Term and Conditions, e.g. Wells Town Hall has its own bar and you are tied to using the pub next door for your food. Both are great but you can’t do your own thing.

If you haven’t decided how you are going to do your food yet have a look at our food section on the right.
Remember, the more food you organise, the longer it will take to eat and the longer it will take to clear away.

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Marquees

The main things to watch out for with marquees are space, flooring and power.

Space

You may be able to see a marquee in action or from a brochure. Either way, try to work out the how the band are going to access their playing area. I.e. do the side flaps lift up. Or are they going to have to carry PA through a packed eating area

Also, will the band have to wait until some of the chairs and tables have been moved before they can unload and set up. You need to be aware that it will take an hour at most for the band to unload and set up however quickly the chairs are cleared.

When the staff clear the tables will they leave enough room for the dance floor AND the band. Many catering staff cannot envisage how much space is needed for each. They often clear a space sufficient to dance in but give no thought as to where a band with amplification will stand. Have ever seen a band squeezed into a pub venue. That will give you some idea of the minimum space we will need.

Floor covering

Make sure Hessian matting and carpets are properly fixed down and large enough. If they are not properly fixed down they will start to move around causing waves to appear. Another trip hazard, is the edge of the matting. If you have a small carpeted area, the dance will spill out over the edge and people will trip. Usually when they are coming on to the dance floor.

Power

Please make sure the band have some. We have had to unplug some of the lighting in order to play in the past. You ask the venue “Has the marquee got power?” and they say “yes”, will it be reserved for the band or pinched by the caterers?

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Barns

Barns are fine as long as the pigs moved out a while ago.

The main problem we have had with barns is dust. If the floor is untreated you may find yourself in a fog of concrete dust. Not very pleasant on a number of levels. The same problems occurs if the barn has previously been used for storing dry materials such as hay.

Other issues arise from trying to pile the band on top of a rickety and combustible pile of hay bales. Usually against the weather wall of the barn (loose description) with suspect power supply.

Please remember that we are amplified and dry electrics are always a bonus.

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Power Supplies

We only really need a domestic supply (230/240v) as the amplification does not have a large demand.

Please make sure the supply is sound and dry and it is worth making sure that no-one can unplug it accidentally. We once played in a marquee on a marshy flood plane powered by a series of daisy-chained home extension cables. They stretched back to a house on a hill 1/4 of a mile away. The owner (the bride’s father) turned off the supply at 9:30! He had had enough of the celebrations plunging the entire marquee in to complete darkness.

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Scallywag Terms and Conditions (Extract)

Below are the points of our terms and conditions that relate specifically to the venue. It will help you think about some of the issues involved.

SCALLYWAG RESERVES THE RIGHT NOT PLAY IN CONDITIONS THAT MAY BE HAZZARDOUS TO EITHER BAND MEMBERS OR THE PUBLIC. EXAMPLES OF SUCH CONDITIONS MAY BE UNSTABLE STAGING OR SURROUNDING SUPERSTRUCTURE, INADEQUATE AND/OR INAPPROPRIATE POWER SUPPLY, POOR PROTECTION FROM RAIN AND SIMILAR WEATHER CONDITIONS WHILST USING ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT, AND INHALATION OF CONCRETE DUST FROM UNTREATED BARN FLOORS.

Specific clauses

1. VENUE – If the venue is potentially difficult to find please send us a map or clear written instructions. If we cannot find the venue we will not he able to start on time (if we get there at all)!

2. ENTRY TIME – To be ready at the contracted start time the band will require unrestricted access to the venue one hour immediately prior to that time in order to set up and prepare.

3. POWER SUPPLY – The band will provide its own amplification but will require a 230/240 volt (domestic) power supply within 2 metres approx. 6 feet) of the stage area.

6. DELAYS – Once the band has arrived at the venue, it is deemed the responsibility of the hirer to ensure that the band has unrestricted access as detailed above.

8. THE END It normally takes a little over thirty minutes for the band to dismantle it’s equipment at the end of the evening and therefore it is advisable to inform any caretaker or key holder of this fact in advance.