Where the idea of the ACE Ceilidh originated by Johnny peisker.
As with most great ideas, the brain child ‘ACE Ceilidh’ was conceived by chin wagging raft guides, around a midge infested fire, slurping on an adulterated version of Cullen Skink, whilst enjoying a stiff cup of tea.
This conversation was sparked out of the necessity to organise an end of summer season party for the staff and friends of ACE Adventures. I flippantly mentioned the word Ceilidh, and Old Man River’s, a.k.a Jim, eyes widened, ears pricked, and head nodded forward and backwards slowly. The rest of the ACE guiding team looked baffled, having to learn a new word. As most of the raft guide team this year heralded from a forgotten land, Tasmania, the Gaelic word ‘Ceilidh’ was full of wonder, and mystery. Jim provided a brief explanation of the general happenings and ‘good craic’ had at a Ceilidh. The team were eager to be part of such a shindig. I was immediately volunteered by the group to organise the event. Jim motioned the delegation of task and I was given a budget. It dawned upon me that I had only previously attended one small Ceilidh in Tasmania, 15 years ago, on my Ceilidh Organiser CV. I gulped with nervousness.
The following day, I frantically brainstormed what I thought was necessary to host a successful Ceilidh and broke it down into some simple steps, these being; good food, a local venue, a Ceilidh band (guidance in dancing would be a necessity), people to attend, and, of course, some form of liquid to get shy people dancing.
Tracey, the ACE mum and Jim added another charitable element to the ceilidh, the raising of funds for MFR Cash for Kids. Accompanying this, they thought it important to invite all the locals who have been instrumental in ACE’s success over the past years. The blue print of the ceilidh was sketched, and slowly the cogs of the Ceilidh machine started grinding.
After searching far and wide in this foreign land the local folk call Morayshire, I bandied together the ‘Dandy Ceilidh Band’. They appeared to fit the stringent criteria we needed to accommodate multiple Tasmanian raft guides and their buddies, these being extreme patience and a robust sense of humour. Following the successful booking of the band, local artist Joost Oust got wind of the Ceilidh and volunteered his time to the event.Joost having such an exotic name, I felt this guaranteed a quality performance. Bloody bonza!
Having accomplishing step ceilidh band, and my Ceilidh organiser ego rapidly growing, I moved onto the other elements of the Ceilidh.Gratefully, the booking of Edinkillie Hall and contacting Cash for Kids was without fuss, and honestly a bit of a bargain.After some unsuccessful shopping about for a hog roast, it seemed to me like the thing to eat at a Ceilidh, we landed a solid deal with Kev from Moray Hog Roast Co. In regards to sourcing the dancing juice, Speyside Brewery donated a generous quantity for the evening.
With the foundations of the Ceilidh laid, it came to the invites, gaining local support, and the collection of donations for our cause. Lynda, the ACE aunty, and TrACEy kindly drove me through the widespread countryside to complete these tasks, whilst I kindly drove them bonkers.
After much anticipation, C-Day, the 7th of September finally arrived. I awoke with startle, threw on my fanciest flannel shirt, quickly brewed a strong cuppa, and darted through the hedges to TrACEy’s kitchen to start preparing food. After ordering Sophie, TrACEy, and Lynda about the place, and quality tasting of the food completed by yours truly, the catering was prepared in Gordon Ramsey like fashion. We crammed everything into Lynda’s wee white car and darted off to Edinkillie Hall. Soon upon arrival, some form of White Sorcery, and with a flick of the wrists, Lynda and Tracey turned the empty and dusty space into a warm, flower and candle clad, cosy hall ready for a ceilidh. All that was now required were some folk to attend. With Jim’s estimation of ‘ten attendees, and maybe a goat, appearing’ ringing in my ears (due to my lack of publicising the event, pretty true), I was nervous about the successfulness of this Ceilidh.
Six O’clock rolled round and slowly people clad in tartan trickled into the hall.By 7.30 there was the humming of conversation, stomping of kids feet, bursting of balloons, slurping of Speyside I.P.A, and the gentle crunching of Hog Roast Co. Crackling. Adding to this hive of activity were the soothing tunes provided by Joost, creating a calm before the storm kind of vibe. Many folk went back to the Hog Roast for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th helpings. The raft guides got their moneys worth of the donated Speyside I.P.A.
After being snapped out of a relaxed food coma by the squawk’s and squeals of my bagpipes, Head Guide Jordie orchestrated the Auction and Raffle.Items ranged from vegan friendly deers heads to wee dances with wee raft guides.Peer pressure and pride resulted in aggressive and staunch bidding that provided much amusement.I, myself, was auctioned off for £40, which I am still unsure about.The auction and raffle, combined with generous donations, raised a total of £680 to MFR Cash for Kids.
Promptly following the auction, the Dandy Ceilidh band kicked off with an ambitious Strip the Willow. During this swirling chaos locals Jude and Steve, from Hellygog, demonstrated a brutish example of the strength and coordination required to survive the dance.Jude sent many a burly and self-confident lad skidding across the floor of Edinkillie Hall during the course of the evening.
After many hours of awkward and enthusiastic dancing, full bellies, laughter, and a great feeling of community spirit, the Ceilidh slowly drew to a natural close.
ACE would like to thank all those who took the time and effort to attend, support, promote, and contribute towards the Ceilidh.Given the success of the evening and the demand for more community based events, we hope to again hold an ACE Ceilidh next year, but even bigger and better.
Pencil it into your diaries folks!
A special thanks go to our suppliers of the evening for the raffle and auction items. Gratitude to all donations given at the door also.
- The Moray Hog Roast Company
- The Dandy Ceilidh Band
- Joost Oust
- MacBeth’s Butcher
- Speyside Brewery
- Lynda and Family
- Logie Whisky & Wine
- Mills Cottage Preserves