The year 2012 marks a momentous milestone for the Beltane Fire Festival. Now a stalwart in Edinburgh’s festival calendar, this year’s event is set to mark its 25th anniversary in spectacular style with a fire display that is sure to light the skies over Edinburgh’s iconic Calton Hill on Monday 30th April from 8pm – 1am.
Starting in 1988 as a word-of-mouth event, Beltane has grown into a major Scottish festival and now attracts over 12,000 warmly dressed late-night revellers each year to a hill in the centre of the Scottish capital. This truly dramatic carnival of fire and light will once again celebrate with a mix of traditions and rituals of both ancient Celtic and modern day culture.
Over 300 performers and members of the Beltane Fire Society lead the crowd in rejoicing in our connections to nature and the seasons, performing their narrative as the energies and viewers of this spectacle swarm around the hill.
As darkness falls, fire performers from all around the world join in a magical procession around Calton Hill led by the May Queen. Using ancient techniques, the Neid fire is then light on the Parthenon, which is then used to light all other fires on the hill. As the procession continues around the hill, many strange and wonderful characters pop up and roam amongst the onlookers as the court is ambushed by the Red Men and their Beastie Drummers. The Green Man is then ritually killed by the May Queen, stripped of his winter guise and resurrected in his spring guise. The spectacle reaches a crescendo as the fire performers and Red Men come together in a second awe-inspiring fire performance.
The concept of The Beltane Fire Festival originates from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic pre-Christian festival of the same name, while the title ‘Beltane’ is derived from a Gaelic Celtic word meaning ‘bright/sacred fire’. Originally, the Beltane festival was held to mark and celebrate the blossoming of summer and was thought to have been held on the first full moon after the 1st of May.
Chair of Beltane Fire Society, Matthew Richardson, said: “Beltane has grown from strength to strength year upon year, and this year we’ve really exceeded all expectations in realising the Festival’s true potential. We can’t wait to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this magical event with the people of Edinburgh and beyond.”
Beltane Fire Festival will also mark the 25th anniversary of the late-night Grand May Day Ceilidh. The Caves will play host to this legendary afterparty, and in addition to the world renowned ceilidh taking place in the
Main Vault, the night will feature reggae, dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass, house and techno from Riddim Tuffa, Bass Alliance, Anonymi (live set), Covalent, Nisha Pannu, C.H.I.L.L.Y & P.J and more, as well as a dazzling display of drumming.
Tickets for the main event are £6.00 plus booking fee. Tickets can be purchased online from The Hub, Ripping Records and Ticket Scotland or alternatively, a limited number of tickets will be available on the night – these tickets will cost at £8.00 and will only be available from Calton Hill’s Carriage Drive entrance, on Regent Road.
Register your attendance on Facebook.