Welcome to Beltane.org

Beltane 2010 by Neil Hodgins

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.

>> Buy Beltane tickets

>> Beltane 2017 info

>> Take part: Open Meeting

For other information about the Society, our world-famous festivals and how you can get involved, navigate using the menu on the left (or press ‘Navigation’ if you’re on your phone). Scroll down for our latest news – we get up to some interesting stuff!

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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.

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Get Involved with Beltane 2017

Reds rehearsing for Samhuinn 2016, by Neil Barton

What: Open Meeting for Beltane Fire Festival 2017
Why: Find out how you can be a part of the festival!
When: 12.30pm – 3pm on Sunday 26 February 2017
Where:  La Belle Angele, 11 Hastie’s Close, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1HJ
Who: Everyone welcome!

In case you haven’t noticed from our excited posts, we’re getting Beltane 2017 preparations well and truly rolling. Our Group Organisers have gone above and beyond for our 30th festival celebrations and we cannot wait to see their visions realised on The Hill on Sunday 30th April.

But to do this, we need your help. Beltane is living, breathing community of several hundred volunteers that come together every year to create something really special. Whether you’re a seasoned Beltaner, a curious audience member or a complete newbie looking to get involved with something spectacular, everyone is welcome.

Getting involved with one of Beltane’s multifarious groups offers a chance to learn new skills, make new friends and become part of Edinburgh’s most welcoming creative community. There are opportunities to become performers, drummers, stewards, photographers or part of the technical crew that make the whole event come together. Whether you’ve got talents you want to share, or skills you want to learn, come along to our Open Meeting to find out more.

This year our Open Meeting will be held on Sunday 26 February from 12:30pm-3:00pm in La Belle Angele, 11 Hastie’s Close, Old Town, Edinburgh EH1 1HJ. It provides an opportunity 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.

If you can’t make it but would still like to be involved, details of all performance and production groups (including contact information for the organisers) will be posted on www.beltane.org  shortly before the Open Meeting so keep checking back to find out more. You can also join our Facebook Event for updates.

Photo of Beltane 2016 rehersals by Neil Barton.

Beltane 2017 GO Weekend


This weekend saw the very first meeting of this year’s lovely bunch of Group Organisers. Sharing a myriad of inspiring plans for our thirtieth anniversary celebrations, the GOs, Blues, Court, Event Coordinator and Communications Coordinator came together in work and play. Building on existing plans, it provided a fantastic opportunity to kickstart this year’s event, as well as an opportunity to get to know one another and share what Beltane means to each and every one of us.

If you’d like to get involved in either a performance or production role, there are a lot of exciting opportunities this year that we can’t wait to share with you. Come along to the Open Meeting on Sunday 26th February from 12:30-3:00pm in La Belle Angèle to find out more.

Celebrating 30 Years of Beltane Fire

This year’s Beltane Fire Festival will be our thirtieth, and – in a feat of mathematics that boggles our hippyish minds – next year will mark 30 years since the first Beltane staged by our community too.

To say we’re excited about these firey milestones is a bit of an understatement: we fully intend to make the whole of the coming 12 months a grand celebration of thirty years of Beltane fire!

We’d love you to join in, so do take a look at what we’re planning…


How are we celebrating?

Back in November we invited our members to share ideas on how we could celebrate. Since then they have bubbled into a lovely collection of plans. We’ll be sharing more on all of these in time, and we’re bound to add more, but for now, here’s a quick glance at what we’ve got cooking!

For Beltane Fire Festival 2017:

  • Making our thirtieth Beltane Fire Festival as stunning and special as ever. Book your ticket now, or join us and make it happen.
  • Building a bigger-than-ever-before fire arch (and we mean *big*).
  • Making Calton Hill even more beautiful on the night, thanks to a dedicated team of Hillusphere volunteers.
  • Trying out a range of new ways to convey the meaning and story behind our event, on the night and in advance – with photo galleries, emails to ticketholders in advance, plus information boards and bigger leaflets for the audience on Calton Hill.

Launching some very pretty things:

  • Our special logo to celebrate 30 years of fire, made for us by BFS member The Liquid Pixel (Jean-Pierre Abrahams), featuring the outline of one of the festival’s founders, Angus Farquhar.
  • A stunning, specially designed poster and flyer for Beltane that you’ll be seeing very soon.
  • An archive of thousands of photos taken by our volunteers at our festivals from across the past ten years – (not just the Facebook-friendly ones!), launching soon.

Telling our story and reaching out to the wider community:

  • Holding a ‘Beltane Community Open Day’ on the afternoon of Saturday 29 April on Calton Hill to make Beltane an all-weekend celebration for everyone.
  • Other events to reach out to the local Edinburgh community, like the ‘Weaving Imbolc’ event we held earlier this month at the Storytelling Centre, and hopefully one or two key talks and discussion events later in the year.

Skill sharing among our members and volunteers:

  • Running workshops for our members across the coming year. We’ve already held a workshop on willow-work and promoted a series of drumming sessions; in the coming month we’re running sessions on fire safety, movement and neid fire skills; and there will be more to come across the summer (including a lovely session with our friends from the Incorporation of Candlemakers of Edinburgh).
  • Exploring other ways to record and share skills, knowledge and our history across BFS members old and new – on and offline.

Events for Beltane Fire Society members and volunteers:

  • Holding celebrations like the lovely wee pot luck feast and club night for BFS members that took place back at the beginning of February, reviving our tradition of Imbolc community events.
  • Holding community fire gatherings across the year, hopefully welcoming some Beltaners from across our 30 year history to share their tales.
How can you get involved?

To get involved, come along to our Open Meeting on Sunday 26 February and find out about all the opportunities there are to help create our beautiful festival for the thirtieth time – or buy a ticket for Beltane Fire Festival 2017 itself, and witness it.

It’s going to be special, we promise.

Introducing our Group Organisers for Beltane 2017…

We’re very excited to introduce our intrepid volunteer Group Organisers for Beltane Fire Festival 2017! These amazing people will be working incredibly hard over the coming months, recruiting and training volunteers for performance and production groups, planning, creating, rehearsing and being generally awesome and dedicated to building an epic festival.

More information about the groups themselves will be appearing here on our website in time for the Open Meeting (which you should totally come to if you want to be part of the festival – Sunday 26 February, 12.30pm)!


  • Tom Watton, Lotte Kravitz and Robin Crane


  • Jay Wiwezar, Sarah Barr and Andrew Bell


  • Lindsay Hunter and Anna Meulepas


  • Bruno Marchand and Nathan Goodfriend


  • Camilla Ginty, Irene Carita Morelli and Moira Morrison


  • Tom Gibson and Rob Thorburn


  • Jackie Burrell and Karen Dickson


  • Eliza Biscotti and Hanna Lappalainen


  • Mark Taylor and Neil Barton


  • Thomas Caine and Gavin Kennerly


  • William Fergusson and Sam Haddow


  • To be confirmed very soon!


  • Helen Bradburn, Greig Douglas and Jonathan Crombie


  • Bradley Mcarthur and Dulcea Wind


  • Seth Ewin and Katie Craig


  • Hannah McIlhinney and Steffi Taylor


Contact chair [at] beltane [dot] org or festival [at] beltane [dot] org or chat to us at the Open Meeting.

Beltane 2014 Stewards by Stephen Yu

Could you run Bower or Stewards this Beltane?

Stewards at Beltane 2015 by Martin McCarthy

Do you feel a call to welcome our community to the Bower as their journey about Calton Hill ends? Or do you have the skills to coordinate our team of volunteer stewards for the festival? We’re looking for folk who do!

Though the deadline for applications to run groups for Beltane has passed (and we’re VERY excited about the ideas that have been put forward), we’d like to add a couple of key components: Bower and Stewards.

So, we are reopening the application process briefly to specifically call for applications from those who may want to be volunteer group organisers for either of those two groups.

Apply by this Sunday

If you are interested in running either group (no others please – we have plenty already!), complete an application form and send it by 12 noon on Sunday 12 February, to festival [at] beltane [dot] org. You can find the forms and all the guidance about applications from the original shoutout; and if you want to chat with us before submitting a form, go ahead and email with your questions, we’re happy to help.

Here’s a little more information about the two groups we’re looking to find organisers for…


The home of our Hill, our community and the May Queen, the Bower is the space where the final ritual between Red and White is played out, a place of nourishment, safety, rest and joy. We’re calling for your vision to create this Sacred Hearth on the Hill, through creation of a magical space, and facilitation of this final aspect of our ritual, ending with a warm welcome extended to all – performers and witnesses alike.

As well as any creative and ritual joy you’d like to bring, we are very keen to make sure we have fire and warmth for all our performers in the space (as we did last year with lovely fire pits).

Bower is a key component of our festival, and we’d love you to step forward and make a home on the Hill for everyone!


Our unique festival couldn’t happen without the wonderful production groups like stewards – they are an essential presence for the event to take place.

The stewards facilitate the movement of performers around the Hill and dedicate their energy to the safety and happiness of all. We are looking for organisers to bring their dynamic personalities, as well as practical knowledge and experience – to help the event run smoothly and to make sure stewards and witnesses all have a great experience of our event.

Organising stewards is a great opportunity to be part of our festival and to develop and hone your own skills, personally and professionally. If you’re thinking of applying we encourage you to include amongst your GO team someone with relevant experience and/or skills, gained either inside or outwith BFS. We need you to help create the well-oiled machine that’s at the heart of our festival.

If you fancy running either group, we’d really love you to apply! The power to make these things happen lies with you…

Photo by Martin McCarthy

Imbolc: the wheel is turning…


Imbolc (or Imolg) is a festival of returning light and the beginning of Spring, celebrated on or around 1st February. It’s one of the four Celtic lunar calendar festivals (Samhuinn, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh) that are dear to Beltane Fire Society hearts.

While we don’t mark Imbolc with big public events like we do Beltane and Samhuinn, many of our members mark it each year in their own ways – and will have yesterday. In the past Beltane Fire Society has marked it with smaller community events around the beginning of February too. So this year, as part of our thinkings on how we can celebrate the year of our thirtieth Beltane, we decided to revive that tradition.

For the wider Edinburgh community, we are holding an event tonight (now fully booked!) at the Storytelling Centre: ‘Weaving Imbolc: willow and words’. Some of our volunteers will be telling stories of the turning seasons and teaching how to make lanterns and decorations from willow, so they can be used to decorate Calton Hill for our Beltane festival in April. If you missed the chance to book a spot on this Imbolc event but want to learn more, we like the look of this other event at the Storytelling Centre, which we aren’t involved in but covers similar themes and stories.

For people who are already members of the Beltane Fire Society, we’re holding a low-key Imbolc pot luck feast and club night this weekend too – details have been circulated, but email us if you’re a member and haven’t heard about it!

Lastly, as Imbolc takes us a step closer to the beginning of Summer, we decided to make 1 February the date we opened ticket bookings for our big event of the year: the 2017 Beltane Fire Festival. So if you feel the first stirrings of Spring and want to join us on 30 April to celebrate the coming Summer, now’s a great time to get your ticket.

However you are celebrating, firey love and hugs from all of us at the Beltane Fire Society!

Photo by Sara Ferreira



Beltane 2017 tickets now on sale!

Beltane 2014

Tickets for the 2017 Beltane Fire Festival at Calton Hill, Edinburgh are now on sale, exclusively from Tickets Scotland!

On the 30th April as the sun sets, we’ll be reimagining the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane for the thirtieth time. We’ll mark the changing seasons with a wild mix of drums, fire and physical theatre – on a scale not seen anywhere else in the world.

So book now and don’t miss it: order your tickets here, find out more about the festival here and share the official Facebook event here.

It’s going to be a good ‘un.

Photo of Beltane bonfire by Felix Hartsuiker

Two days left to apply to be a Beltane group organiser: DO IT!


If you’re planning to apply to run a group or submit a project proposal for Beltane 2017, you have TWO DAYS to put the finishing touches on your application and get it submitted!

The deadline’s 10pm on Thursday 2 February 2017. There are heaps of guidance notes, and all the forms you may need, over here.

We’re also open to project proposals, from those who have an idea for the festival that they feel doesn’t necessarily fit within a group structure, or require volunteer recruitment. Drop us an email at festival [at] beltane [dot] org for more information, also by 2 February.

Get it done!

Photo of Fire Point rehearsal for Beltane 2016 by Bartlomiej Pyrz

Get involved: come to our Open Meeting for Beltane 2017!

Beltane 2016

  • What: Open Meeting for Beltane Fire Festival 2017
  • Why: Find out how you can be a part of our festival!
  • When: 12.30pm – 3pm on Sunday 26 February 2017
  • Where:  La Belle Angele, 11 Hastie’s Close, Old Town, Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH1 1HJ
  • Who: YOU!

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, bringing an exciting and fiery modern twist to Celtic traditions!

Yes, it’s time for our thirtieth Beltane Fire Festival preparation to begin, and we’d like to invite YOU to come along and get involved. Every year we kick off preparations for our fire festival by holding an open meeting: anyone with an interest in helping to create the festival is invited to come along and find out more.

Help create our amazing public ritual celebration of the beginning of summer, alongside hundreds of other volunteers and an audience of thousands, overlooking the stunning city 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, Beltane Fire Festival offers a opportunity to learn new skills, meet new friends and be part of a truly unique collaborative experience with a warm and welcoming community.

Why come to this Open Meeting?

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. If you can’t make it but would still like to be involved, details of all performance and production groups (including contact information for the organisers) will be posted here at beltane.org shortly before the Open Meeting.

You’re welcome to register your attendance through Facebook if you’d like. And if you have questions about accessibility of the venue, feel free to email access [at] beltane [dot] org.

[For those who’ve been to Open Meetings before: yes, we’re holding it a bit earlier in the afternoon than we have in previous years, kicking off at 12.30pm and finishing at 3pm. We recommend coffee beforehand!]

Photo of Beltane Fire Festival 2016 by Pascal van der Meiden.

Want to organise a group, or be our comms coordinator? Apply now!

Beltane 2016

Time’s a-ticking, so if you’re thinking about applying to be a group organiser (GO), Green Man, or our Comms Coordinator for this year’s Beltane Fire Festival, do it now!

If you fancy being Green Man, apply *right* now, as the deadline’s tonight (Thursday 26 January) at 7pm. You can find all the information you need over here.

If you’re considering being a GO, you’ve a week left, so get that application form filled in soon.  All GO applications are due in by 10pm on Thursday 2 February 2017. There are heaps of guidance notes, and all the forms you may need, over here. We’re also open to project proposals, from those who have an idea for the festival that they feel doesn’t necessarily fit within a group structure, or require volunteer recruitment. Drop us an email at festival [at] beltane [dot] org for more information, also by 2 February.

And if you’d like to be our communications coordinator, apply by 9am on Monday (30 January) – only a few days left. We’ve popped full details of the contract and how to apply over here.

We’re very excited to hear from you!

Photo by Pascal van der Meiden for Beltane Fire Society

[And don’t worry, the thing that was on fire in the photo was supposed to be. We promise.]