Invitation to submit poster and flyer artwork for Beltane 2016

Beltane 2015 by Martin McCarthy 02

With preparations for the Beltane Fire Festival 2016 beginning (already!), it’s time to invite you to submit your beautiful artwork for consideration for the Beltane 2016 promotional material. The chosen submission will be on posters and flyers all over Edinburgh and will also be used in our online promotion and press advertising in the run-up to the festival. Anyone is welcome to enter, so if you have arty friends please feel free to pass this on to them!


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 May.

As darkness falls on 30th April, the epic drum beats begin and a magical procession around Calton Hill sets off, led by the May Queen, who encounters many strange and wonderful characters in the form of painted and costumed performers and acrobats. The Green Man is then ‘killed’ by the May Queen, stripped of his Winter guise and resurrected for the rebirth of Summer in a dramatic ritual performance before the lighting of the traditional Beltane bonfire.

Beltane is a time for celebration, fertility, new beginnings and, of course, fire! Think along the themes of brightness, freshness, emergence, new life and growth. Our poster and flyer should appeal to the wider community in Edinburgh and beyond. It should reflect the story and characters highlighted above to draw in those who know the Beltane story, but also to attract newcomers to our festival.

Before you commence work on a design or consider submitting your creations, please thoroughly read ALL technical requirements and information below explaining the terms of the competition. By submitting your work, you are agreeing to these terms. You MUST be 18 years old or above to enter.


– You MUST submit one design for the poster (A2 size) AND both a front and back side for the flyer (A6 size), at the same time and using the same artwork and colour scheme to keep a uniform look.

– The size for A6 flyers is 105mm x 148mm

– The size for A2 posters is 594mm x 420mm

– Remember to leave any text or important visual elements at least a couple of mm from the edges for printing.

– You should save your full-resolution files at 300dpi.

– Please ensure that all files are in CMYK colour format, NOT RGB!

– Make sure that you save a copy of your work WITH LAYERS, preferably in .psd format, for easier editing.

– Alternatively, if creating a completely digitally illustrated image, saving the file as a vector graphic is helpful as it will scale better and be easier to work with if changes are needed before sending to print.

– Please download THIS ZIP FILE for all the text and other elements that must be included in designs. Minor changes to text may be required before going to print (for example, ticket prices and times), but it is absolutely essential that all text etc is in place when submitting your design.

– Everything in your submission (apart from the downloadable elements provided) absolutely must be your own work or created with elements that you have permission to use. If you use any stock imagery, free or purchased, you must be able to provide evidence of legitimate sources if asked. Please check the relevant licensing for any fonts that you use and be able to provide this information if asked. Although BFS is a charity, it is also a registered company and we sell tickets to the Beltane Fire Festival, so please only use fonts that are licensed for commercial use to be on the safe side!

– We will accept submissions from pairs of artists/designers. For example, if you’re an amazing illustrator and you have a friend who is great at layouts, feel free to work together and submit under both your names.

– Don’t forget to sign your artwork! We appreciate that you’re offering your creations on a voluntary basis, so we’d like you to have your signature(s) on there somewhere.


– Your submission should include THREE separate files: A2 poster, A6 flyer front and A6 flyer back.

– When sending your designs for consideration, please make them 1000px on the longest side and send in jpeg format. You do not need to send larger versions or files with layers at this stage. In fact, absolutely DO NOT submit larger versions or files with layers at this stage. Really. Thanks.

– You can submit more than one entry if you like, but please submit each only once! There is no need to send a draft or sketch first, and there’s no advantage to submitting early. If it takes you right up until the deadline to complete your work, then please take that time. All submissions will be posted for voting at the same time in January.

– Because of time constraints and the need for printing and promotional activity to begin as early as possible in the run-up to the festival, we will only accept FINISHED DESIGNS. This means that all the text and additional elements absolutely must be included. Please do not send image-only submissions.

– EMAIL your submission to festival[at]beltane[dot]org



– As the creator of your artwork, YOU own it and by submitting it for the competition are granting BFS license to keep it in digital and physical archives, display it for public voting and use it in promotional activities, online and offline, globally and in perpetuity.

– You are welcome to sell prints and products featuring your artwork, WITHOUT any of the provided text, BFS branding or elements included in the downloadable design pack, should you wish to do so.


– Once all submissions have been received, the BFS Board of Trustees will create a shortlist of entries which are appropriate to promote the event. Entrants will be informed by email as to whether or not their work has been shortlisted.

– The winning design set will then be chosen by public online vote in January 2016, with voting by poll on our website,, where the shortlisted submissions will be visible on the same page as each other and the poll itself. Just as anyone from anywhere in the world can enter, anyone from anywhere in the world can vote.

Here are some of our past Beltane posters to help kick your muse into gear!

Beltane 2015 poster by Natasa Ilinic

Beltane Fire Festival 2013



Beltane 2011 2 600px

Beltane 2009 600px

Beltane 2005 600px

Beltane Flyer 600px

Beltane Flyer 3 600px

Beltane Flyer 2 600px

Photo of Beltane 2015 by Martin McCarthy

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