A glance behind the scenes of Samhuinn

When you think about preparations for a fire festival, chances are you imagine performers spending long hours rehearsing the fantastic dance, acrobatics, drumming and stage fighting that you’ll see at the event. You might think of costumes being designed and created, puppets and props being built and pyrotechnics being planned. Chances are, unless you’ve been involved in an event like this, it won’t even cross your mind that hours upon hours are spent behind the scenes negotiating with the council, ensuring that every single aspect of the event complies with detailed health and safety legislation, completing the necessary paperwork and documentation involved in running a charity and a company, booking rehearsal spaces, fielding emails at all hours of the day and night, communicating with press and media outlets both locally and further afield, handling the often huge administrative tasks involved with organising groups of volunteers and planning planning planning.

Group Organisers meeting
Volunteer Group Organisers, Court, Blues and our Event Coordinator finalising processional and stage cues at one of our weekly planning meetings. Photo by James Illing.

The community of people who dedicate hundreds of hours every year to creating the shows that you enjoy embrace this labour of love and we know that the outside world will rarely be aware of the late nights, early mornings, long days and incredible amount of work that we pour into making breathtaking public ritual celebrations happen. We do what we do because we’re passionate about it and we get to share it with each other and, of course, with you.

Lanterns made from recycled materials
Lanterns being made from recycled materials by Alan Howse, our resident creator of beautiful and interesting props. Photo by Jackie Burrell.

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