Creating the building blocks of magic

Tom Watton, BFS Festival Producer extraordinaire and loyal supporter of MORE FIRE ALL THE TIME, took a break from welding to write a blog entry…

alan and tom
Alan, Tom and the new fire-arch-in-progress.

With much of the licensing and event safety planning work in the hands of the powers that be, myself and the wonderful Mr Alan Howse were eager not to twiddle our thumbs a second longer. So we packed some snap (a snack), donned our matching orange fire-proof boiler suits, safety shoes and goggles and headed on down to the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (in Leith) to play with metal.

Over the next 5 weeks me and Alan will be creating series of hill decorations and large props that some of the groups and characters will be interacting with. Our aim is to assist in setting the scene and developing a magical and mysterious atmosphere for the audience as they enter as observers into our spiritual domain.

Q. What does all of this mean?
A: Well in short our work will result in more things to look at, more things to ignite and essentially more fire at the festival! We are continuing the work that we started last year (with how we use fire cans and chimneys) and we are working on new things that we haven’t done before.

Our biggest project at the moment is building of the new fire arch, which, [touch wood] is all going swimmingly. The design for the arch has taken a few months but we now have a solid plan. This last week we were really happy to get started along the process of cutting metal into hundreds of similar looking shapes, drilling particular bits and welding them all together in the right order.

Q What is a fire arch?
A fire arch is a gateway or archway which is on fire, at Beltane the arch represents the flame-girt gates of the other-world, through which the radiant May Queen will lead her retinue as they venture for the turning of the year’s cycle toward summer.

The design for the new arch design is a closely guarded secret, if you want to see it you will have to come to its inaugural on the 30th April on Calton Hill. It is a really big adventure for both us and we are learning things as we go! Anyway too much talking and not enough metal work; if you want to get involved in some of the more hands-on tech aspects of the Beltane Fire Festival email tech@beltane.org (no experience necessary).

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