Contact our specialist consultants for FREE impartial advice on a massive range of events and entertainment options. In addition to the artists listed we can also provide other options such as harp, folk string trio, singers, clog dancers, rapper sword dancers, poets etc, all in the North East traditions.
Just fill in the on-line enquiry form for a no-obligation quote, or just to chat through some ideas for your event or special day.
Which areas do you cover?
Magnetic North East generally covers the North East of England and surrounding areas but if your event is somewhere more distant, please contact us and we will do everything we can to accommodate your needs.
We have excellent contacts with musicians and bands throughout the UK. There may be a price implication if your artist(s) has to travel an unusually large distance however.
What are the Northumbrian pipes?
The Northumbrian Smallpipes (otherwise known as the Northumbrian pipes) are the traditional instrument of the North East of England. They are a melodious, bellows-blown bagpipe, with a pure, sweet sound. They are rather quiet by comparison with other bagpipes and are normally played indoors. The chanter has a closed end and is played with closed fingering, giving a unique staccato character. Three drones are normally used as accompaniment – a bass and tenor tuned an octave apart, and a baritone tuned a fifth above the bass. The sound of the chanter has been likened to the singing of a lark over the drones sounding like the buzzing of bees!
What is a Ceilidh Band?
Nothing gets people up dancing like a ceilidh band! A ceilidh (pronounced “kay-lee”) is a night of traditional dancing where everyone can join in, regardless of age or ability. No previous experience is necessary as the band will bring a ‘caller’ who will explain how to do each dance before it starts. Ceilidhs are a great way to meet lots of people in a fun and informal way. A professional ceilidh band is the driving force behind all the fun, interaction and merriment. All our ceilidh bands here at Magnetic North East have decades of experience of playing for dancing and know exactly how to make your ceilidh go with a swing. Ceilidh bands usually feature traditional folk instruments like accordion, fiddle, melodeon or flute but can also include other instruments such as guitar, keyboards, drums and bass. As well as the traditional ceilidh band Magnetic North East can also provide more modern funky bands who take the traditional tunes and dances and mix things up for an irresistible party sound.
How much does it cost?
It depends what/who you want to book.
For Northumbrian pipers our prices start at £200 inclusive for two hours. For a wedding this should comfortably cover the time required for guests arriving, arrival of the bride, and piping after the ceremony. If you require your piper beyond that time, to pipe you into the wedding breakfast for instance, there is usually a small additional charge of £40/£50. These are indicative prices and can sometimes be a little higher depending on location/time of year/day of the week/time required/choice of piper etc. After you make your enquiry, the price we quote you for your piper or pipers will include all travel costs. There are no additional or hidden costs.
For ceilidh bands our prices depend on the band/date/distance but start at £500 and range up to £1200 per night.
We recommend that you send us an email, or fill in our online enquiry form for a no-obligation quotation.
Will my piper wear traditional costume?
Some of our pipers wear the black and white Northumbrian plaid and hat, please look at the individual profiles to check whether your preferred piper performs in traditional dress. If you want a piper to wear traditional costume, please be sure to specify this at the time of booking.
Can I request a particular tune/tunes?
Of course you can. We are always happy to discuss repertoire with you. If a specific tune is essential, please make sure that this is mentioned at the time of booking, so we can select an artist for you who is happy to play it.
How about a specially commissioned tune to mark the occasion? Ideal as a unique and bespoke wedding gift or that special something to mark your day for ever. Have one of our pipers or ceilidh bands play a tune written specifically for you. Have it played as you take your seat for dinner, as the first dance, or at any other appropriate time of the day. Our composers will tailor the tune to your needs (so if you want a tune for walking up the aisle they will make sure that it is just the right speed!). Commission a tune.
Please be aware that the Northumbrian pipes have a limited range of notes, so if you want your piper to play something from outside the Northumbrian piping repertoire it will need to be musically possible! (We can advise on this, and one of our pipers may be able to arrange your chosen tune in a way that would work on the instrument.)
Do I get a discount if I book more than one artist for my event?
If you are looking for more than one artist it may be easier for you to take advantage of our event management service, where we sort everything out for you. Just ask!
Alternatively, you may find that your ceilidh band might be able to provide everything you need: many bands offer flexible options such as an acoustic duo, or solo Northumbrian piper to play during the wedding ceremony, your drinks reception or as background music during the meal. They are then joined by the rest of the band later in the day to entertain during your party. This would obviously save you money – just let us know what you’d like and we’ll find the best possible option for you. We want you to be absolutely delighted with the service we provide.
How do I know I’m getting a good piper/band?
Simple – all our artists are good! As musicians ourselves, we would not allow our reputation to be tarnished by supplying anything less than the best. Also, Magnetic North East is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which was set up with the express intention of promoting the music and culture of the North East of England/Northumbria and we pride ourselves on showcasing our unique traditions to their best advantage. We have some internationally renowned musicians on our books!
How does the booking/payment procedure work?
Once you have received your quote and told us that you would like to go ahead, we will send you details of your booking, which also includes payment details. We ask for a deposit in advance, to be paid to Magnetic North East and once this is received your booking is fully confirmed. You will normally pay the balance of the booking fee directly to the performer(s) on the day (or before if you would prefer). For established clients and recognised corporate bodies, payment can be made after the event subject to prior agreement.
The finer details can be agreed in the weeks/months/days leading up to your event. The important thing, particularly for weekend weddings, is to get that early booking in, as some of our artists get booked up over a year in advance.
What happens if I want to cancel?
If you need to cancel after you have confirmed your booking and paid your deposit, you will forfeit your deposit. If cancellation is within 30 days of the event, the balance of the fee will remain payable in full. We recommend that you take out appropriate insurance cover for events that might lead to cancellation.