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Beltane 2010 by Neil Hodgins

Want to take part in Samhuinn Fire Festival 2015?
Check out the performance and production groups!

Formed in 1988, Beltane Fire Society is a community arts performance charity that hosts the Beltane Fire Festival and Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

For more information about the Society, our world-famous festivals and how you can get involved, navigate using the menu on the left. Scroll down for our latest news.

Beltane Fire Society is a not-for-profit registered charity in Scotland.
Charity Number SC040137. Company Number SC341753.

Photograph by Neil Hodgins, taken at Beltane Fire Festival 2010.

Confessions of a Torchie GO


Marie, one of the Group Organisers for Torchbearers, shares her story of preparing for the Samhuinn 2015 Open Meeting…

It’s Saturday the 29th of August 2015 and tomorrow I’m going to get up at the Samhuinn 2015 Open Meeting and try to convince people to join Torchbearers. Two years ago I was about to attend my first Samhuinn Open Meeting as a volunteer and I remember being nervous as hell as I had no idea what I was walking into. My friend Karl and I had been to see Beltane and we had instantly had the “OMG we need to get involved in this” feeling that a lot of new volunteers experience when they first see the festival, and so we took ourselves along to the Samhuinn Open Meeting, got involved and never looked back!

I can still remember walking into that first Open Meeting and one of the first people to speak to us is now someone that I consider a very good friend. At the time he was joking about Karl and I being too British and queuing to sign in rather than just crowding around the sign in table in true hippy fashion. I still maintain to this day that I am not a hippy – I am hippy adjacent and therefore will continue to queue :-P

I remember how funny and wonderful all the Group Organisers (GOs) presentations were and I signed up to be a Torchbearer (aka Torchie). Little did I realise at the time, but that day I met people that would become my family and would be one of the main reasons that no matter where I go, Edinburgh will always be home.

Now preparing to be a Torchie GO, I realise that as a volunteer sitting watching the Open Meeting I never quite grasped the amount of work that goes into the festival even before the Open Meeting. For many, the Open Meeting represents the start of preparations for the upcoming festival, however in reality many people have been working for months to organise the festival; the Board, the Event Coordinator, even the GOs! So I figured, as a GO, why not share some of the things that we’ve been up to before the Open Meeting even starts!

First you need to understand the basics of the group I am organising. We are the Torchbearers and we provide light for the festival. What that means is that we carry 6-7ft high torches with either light or fire on top of them. At the Open Meeting, it’s my job to convince volunteers to sign up for my group, so how do I do that?

Well, in order to get here I had to apply to run the group, so I had a concept of what I wanted the group to be. In this case, it’s fire and ice Torchies (no, not Game of Thrones inspired, but if that’s what works for you, we can work with that!). I’ve spent a weekend in a room with all the other GOs and I’ve had to explain the group concept to them, but telling a group of 30 people sitting at your feet vs a room of 200 people is a bit different! I know, I’ll use props! Sounds great, until you realise that you need to gather and/or create these! So, off I went to East Linton where the Society has storage containers to get my hands on torch poles and cloaks. As these had been used for the last festival, they still smell of kerosene, aka Torchie’s perfume! Add in some clip art flames and we have a fire torch prop!


One down, but I still needed something for ice. This is where my Co-GO comes to the rescue, and we’re off into a tech lab!

Tech Lab

An ice torch is a new concept for Samhuinn so we had to come up with something from scratch. Lots of hours in the lab, and we managed to go from concept, making do with what we could use when we couldn’t find what we needed (including using an Ikea pencil instead of a dowel), grinding balls and then lots of paint, glue and glitter and we have an ice torch prototype!


Bet you thought I was kidding about the pencil…

Ball Grinding

Ball grinding. Don’t try this at home!

Ice Torch

My flat is going to be covered in glitter for at least 6 months after this festival.

Now we have a fire and an ice torch and we’re ready for the Open Meeting! At this point I can only hope that I can inspire people the same way the GOs two years ago inspired me and that any new members to the society will find something special, just like I did. Here’s to the next two months and spending the journey with all of the wonderful Torchies, hippies, hippy-adjacents and anyone else outside of or in between! Happy Open Meeting :-)

Meet the Samhuinn 2015 groups

If you can’t make it to the Samhuinn 2015 Open Meeting on Sunday 30th August, you can find out about all the performance and production groups that you can join on the Samhuinn 2015 Group Info page.

Introducing our Samhuinn 2015 Summer King and Winter King

Jessica at Beltane 2015 by Bleu Hope Will at Beltane 2015 by Bleu Hope

We are excited to introduce our Samhuinn 2015 Summer King, Will Ferguson (right), and Winter King, Jessica Whiteley (left)!

Photos of Jessica and Will at Beltane 2015 by Bleu Hope

Voting is now open for the Samhuinn 2015 flyer and poster design

These are the submitted designs for the Samhuinn 2015 poster. To vote, please either click on the Facebook link below your favourite image(s) and Like the post on the BFS Facebook page OR email festival[at]beltane[dot]org with the listed letter of your favourite(s).

You can vote for more than one entry if you like, but please don’t vote for all of them as it is the same as not voting for any.

Clicking on an image will give you a slightly larger view.

Remember, you are not just voting for a pretty picture. You are voting for an over-all design to advertise a festival. Please consider how noticeable designs will be on a wall surrounded by other posters, how clearly information is presented and how readable text will be from a distance.

Please note some of the information presented in the designs will be subject to change before printing. For example, the final posters and flyers will not say “Location to be decided” – we are waiting to confirm the venue for this year’s festival, so this information will be updated before printing.


Entry S

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

S Poster

Flyer front
S Flyer Front

Flyer back
S Flyer Back

Entry T

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

T Poster

Flyer front
T Flyer Front

Flyer back
T Flyer Back

Entry U

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

U Poster

Flyer front
U Flyer Front

Flyer back
U Flyer Back

Entry V

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

V Poster

Flyer front
V Flyer Front

Flyer back
V Flyer Back

Entry W

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

W Poster

Flyer front
W Flyer Front

Flyer back
W Flyer Back

Entry X

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

X Poster

Flyer front
X Flyer Front

Flyer back
X Flyer Back

Entry Y

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

Y Poster

Flyer front
Y Flyer Front

Flyer back
Y Flyer Back

Entry Z

To vote on Facebook, click HERE

Z Poster

Flyer front
Z Flyer Front

Flyer back
Z Flyer Back

Samhuinn 2015 Group Organiser weekend

Samhuin 2015 Group Organiser Weekend

The Samhuinn 2015 Group Organiser weekend has happened, with games, performance workshops, trust exercises, ritual and impromptu cuddle puddles, all fuelled by industrial quantities of tea, coffee and home-made flapjacks. In the words of (very) long-time Beltaner and Blue, Tom, “First they stumble and then you see the light of determination in their eyes”.

This is just the beginning…

Photo by Laura Wallace, one of our new Photo Point Group Organisers

Announcing our Samhuinn 2015 Cailleach

Samhuinn 2015 Cailleach Liza Stolton, photographed by Bleu Hope at the Edinburgh Carnival 2015

We’re honoured to announce our Samhuinn 2015 Cailleach, Liza Stolton!

Photo of Liza at the Edinburgh Carnival 2015 by Bleu Hope

Introducing your Samhuinn 2015 Group Organisers

Samhuinn 2014 by Michelle Linnane

Introducing your amazing idea-having, volunteer-supporting, creativity-facilitating Samhuinn 2015 Group Organisers!

The Aerie
Andrew Bell
Dulcea Wind

Tom Caine
Raymond Considine

Danielle Christie

Call of the Winter Moon
Ross Atkinson

Cat Somerville
Tiger Strode

The Faces
Becky Salter
Hannah McIlhinney

The Faerie Porters
Neil Rhind
Nick Toth

No Point
Robin Crane
Stephen Yu

Laura Wallace
Raini Scott

Raffe O’Rorke
Jane Mann

Anthony McKale
Sam Jardine

Helen Bradburn
Greig Douglas
Jonny Crombie

Marie Murphy
Peter Jackson

White Hunt
Dani Jakwerth
Nate Kelso
Lizzie Farnham

Winter Drummers
Andy Walker
Alex De’Athe
Robyn Galliers

Winter Fire
Andrew McSweeney
Esje Stapleton
Nathan Goodfriend

Family Samhuinn
Cat Somerville

Photo of Samhuinn 2014 by Michelle Linnane

One day left for Group Organiser applications, two weeks left for poster submissions!

Samhuinn 2014 by Bleu Hope

Deadlines, deadlines! Prospective Samhuinn 2015 Group Organisers, you have ONE DAY left to send your applications in before the deadline of 10pm on Sunday 2nd August. You can find full information and and paperwork here. If you’re working on a poster and flyer design for the festival, you have TWO WEEKS left to submit your creations before the deadline of Saturday 15th August. Full information and a download pack with all the essential elements that need to be included can be found here.

Photo of Samhuinn 2014 by Bleu Hope

Could you be our news media volunteer for Samhuinn 2015?

Photo of Samhuinn 2014 by Gyorgy Papp

We’re looking for a volunteer to help us get news media talking about our next fire festival, Samhuinn 2015. If you know what makes journalists tick and press photographers smile, we need you!

The Beltane Fire Society is a community of volunteers who stage huge fire festivals in central Edinburgh on the last days of April and October each year. We use them to mark the turning seasons and keep ancient Celtic traditions alive. They’re incredible visual spectacles with audiences of thousands, and we get lots of media attention.

Each year we’re approached by journalists who want to film, write about or photograph our events. We know the best way to make the most of the attention we get (and to tell the stories we want to share) is to have a volunteer or two dedicated to working with them. It’s a huge help for us, and could be a great opportunity for you to work with international, UK, Scottish and local media – in past festivals our volunteers have worked with media including The Times, the BBC, STV and The Scotsman to get the word out.

So, we’re looking for a news media volunteer to lead on all interactions with the press ahead of Samhuinn and on the night itself – 31st October 2015. We can offer you support from past news media volunteers and the chance to be part of one of Edinburgh’s most unusual and exciting events – in return we’re keen to find:

  • Someone who really gets how media works (so ideally someone with relevant experience – whether as a journalist or in PR).
  • Someone interested in (and ideally closely familiar with) the Beltane Fire Society, our principles and our events.
  • Someone willing and able to commit to volunteering for us to lead on responding to media enquiries, writing press releases, conducting interviews and supporting other Society members to do the same, as well as coordinating press access for the night itself and tracking media coverage of the event.
  • Someone with around 4 hours a week of time to spare across September, and around 6-10 hours a week in October (mostly outside office hours, so shouldn’t clash with work or study). Must be free to attend rehearsals and steward meetings on Sunday afternoons in late September and October, and on the afternoon and evening of 31st October for the event itself. Attending the Samhuinn Open meeting on 30th August (2pm, St Margaret’s House) would also be beneficial.
  • Someone based in Edinburgh or within easy travelling distance, and easy access to phone and internet.
  • Someone who is flexible, can interact well with a diverse collection of volunteers and adapt to our culture and ways of working.

If this sounds like you, send your details to us at press[at]beltane[dot]org by Friday 21st August 2015 and let us know how you might fit the bill.

Photo of Samhuinn 2014 by Gyorgy Papp

Group Organisers and Kings, your deadlines are approaching

Photo of Samhuinn 2009 by Daniel Rannoch

Not to alarm you (too much), but prospective Group Organisers for Samhuinn 2015 have one week to submit your applications before the deadline of 10pm on Sunday 2nd August (all application info and documents are here) and prospective Kings have two weeks to submit your applications before the deadline of 7pm on Sunday 9th August (all application info is here).

Scribble, scribble!

Photo of Samhuinn 2009 by Daniel Rannoch