Welcome to Beltane.org

Beltane 2010 by Neil Hodgins

Want to take part in Samhuinn 2015?
Come to our Open Meeting on 30th August!

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.

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

BFS now on Instagram!

Samhuinn 2014 Procession

BFS is celebrating the official launch of our Instagram account with a Samhuinn retrospective, happening over the next few weeks. Get ready for memories, nostalgia, inspiration and a sudden desire to take part in a fire festival, or at least come to Edinburgh to watch one!

You can follow us at instagram.com/BeltaneFireSociety for lots of beautiful pictures from our own talented volunteer photographers.

Experienced Group Organisers, can you offer support?

Photo of Beltane 2015 by Gyorgy Papp

If you’re an experienced BFS Group Organiser and you aren’t going to be GO-ing at Samhuinn 2015 but would like to help and support this festival’s crop of organisers, our Festival Secretary, David, would love to hear from you for the new GO Support Network.

GO Support Network volunteers can offer their time to mentor or advise new GOs in a range of ways from being a sounding board for ideas to providing practical support and assisting with group activities during the run-up to Samhuinn 2015.

To apply, please contact David at festival[at]beltane[dot]org with the following information…

What is your Group Organising experience within BFS?
i.e. which groups have you run and when

What are you areas of experience and expertise?
e.g. character creation, acro, fire performance, costume making, running large groups

What level and type of support are you able to offer?
e.g. mentoring, running workshops, happy to chat on the phone but can’t come to meetings

All applications will be reviewed for suitability by Trustees and Blues.

Please get in touch by Sunday 23rd August at the latest.

Photo of Beltane 2015 by Gyorgy Papp

Samhuinn 2015 Open Meeting

Photo of Samhuinn 2014 by Bleu Hope

The Open Meeting for Samhuinn Fire Festival 2015

2pm on Sunday 30th August 2015

Room G25 (ground floor) of St Margaret’s House, 151 London Road, Edinburgh, EH7 6AE


Calling all drummers, dancers, clowns, musicians, acrobats, fire spinners, puppet makers, techies, artists, crafters, costumers, photographers, film-makers, event stewards and all-round epic people with a desire to be part of a world-famous festival event, bringing an exciting and fiery modern twist to Celtic traditions…

Yes, it’s Samhuinn time again and we’d like to invite YOU to come along and get involved in creating our amazing public ritual celebration of the turning of seasons from Summer to Winter in the atmospheric and beautiful centre of Edinburgh. Whether you’re a long-time BFS member, a seasoned performer or you want to come along for the first time and take part, Samhuinn Fire Festival offers an awesome opportunity to learn new skills, make fabulous friends and be part of a truly unique experience. Everyone is welcome!

The Open Meeting provides an opportunity for you to hear about the performance and production groups you can join, talk to the organisers, find out more about the festival and sign up to take part. The venue for the meeting is a dance studio with a sprung floor, so please avoid wearing heavy boots or spike heeled shoes. The main street entrance from London Road is on the ground floor and involves a few steps outside, but there is also a car park at basement level with lifts up to the ground floor, so the meeting is completely accessible to wheelchair users and anyone who may have difficulty with stairs.

You are welcome to register your attendance on our Facebook event page.

Photograph of Samhuinn 2014 by Bleu Hope

BFS at the Carnival, in pictures

Last Sunday over 100 BFS members took part in the Edinburgh Festival Carnival, along with hundreds of performers from all around the world. The event was truly spectacular and a crowd of 20,000 danced and celebrated with us through the centre of Edinburgh and into Princes Street Gardens, not put off at all by the summer rain showers that joined us later in the afternoon!

Our own volunteer photographers were there to capture a rarely witnessed sight – Beltaners performing in daylight! You can see lots more photos this this album on our Facebook page and the live photo and video coverage here on Storify.

Edinburgh Festival Carnival, 19th July 2015

Edinburgh Festival Carnival, 19th July 2015

Edinburgh Festival Carnival, 19th July 2015

Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz and Blues Festival

Jazz and Blues Festival

Photos (from top) by Bleu Hope x3, Gyorgy Papp x3 and James Illing x3

Two weeks to submit your Samhuinn 2015 Group Organiser application!

Samhuinn 2014 by Michelle Linnane

If you’re thinking about applying to be a Group Organiser at Samhuinn 2015, now is the time to get stuck into writing your application! Completed applications should be sent to festival[at]beltane[dot]org before 10pm on Sunday 2nd August. You can find all the details about submitting your application, along with the form itself and some guidance documents, HERE.

If you’d like to talk through your ideas with people who have experience running groups, are still looking for a co-GO, or simply want to come along and chat with other people who are also planning to apply, you are welcome at the pre-application session at the White Horse on Monday 20th July. Full details of the session can be found HERE and the event page on Facebook is HERE.

Photo of Samhuinn 2014 by Michelle Linnane

One month left to create your Samhuinn 2015 poster design

If you’re thinking of designing a poster and flyer for the Samhuinn 2015 artwork contest, now is the time to get creating! There’s only one month left to go until the deadline on 15th August and you can find all the technical requirements, submission instructions, downloadable design pack (all the info and elements that your designs MUST contain) and past poster designs here.

See you at the Edinburgh Carnival this Sunday!

Carnival 2014 by Winpenny Media

Beltane is over and Samhuinn has yet to begin but our performers, stewards and techies can still be found bringing our own special brand of celebration to the streets of Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival Carnival on this Sunday, 19th July!

With the parade getting off to a fiery, musical start at 2pm on the Mound and processing to the West end of Princes Street, then even more drumming, dancing and street theatre performances in Princes Street Gardens until 5pm, there are plenty of opportunities to party with us and hundreds of other spectacular performers from around the world at this exciting festival event.

If you can’t make it along on the day, keep an eye on our Twitter feed where we’ll be posting video clips and photos from the Carnival as it happens. We’ll also be sharing beautiful pictures by our own Photo Point photographers here and on Facebook next week.

Photo of BFS members performing at the Edinburgh Festival Carnival 2014 by Winpenny Media