Samhuinn 2016 Court, Group Organiser and Project Applications Now Being Accepted

Samhuinn 2015 by Martin McCarthy

With Midsummer past, our thoughts turn to the celebration of Autumn and the festival of Samhuinn on 31st October. Beltane Fire Society is looking for our crone goddess the Cailleach, and Kings of Summer and Winter, as well as performance and production group organisers and creative projects to help us tell this festival’s tale: one of the turning of the seasons, the coming of cold and dark which presses for leadership and guidance for the coming Winter months.

To make it easier to find and share information, everything relating to court applications, performance and production group organiser applications, and project proposals can be found right here (in that order, if you want to scroll to get to the bit that’s relevant to you).

There will be a pre-application session at Kilderkin (67 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8BT) from 2-5pm on Saturday 16 July where you can chat with other prospective crones, kings, GOs and project proposers as well as Trustees, Blues and experienced GOs and festival participants. Come along if you’d like to know more (the official Facebook event page is HERE), and contact with any questions.


Court (Cailleach, Summer King, Winter King)

Samhuinn 2016 Court Application Form
Samhuinn 2016 Court Selection Process

Our Cailleach
The Crone facet of the Goddess, ancient and powerful; the Cailleach brings forth the cold and dark of Winter in her wisdom. An arbiter of the struggle between that of Summer and Winter forces embodied in the Kings’ feud- she is the tipping point and the one whose decision spreads through the land on icy winds, covering them in a blanket of white with her gift of Winter.

Our Summer King
Bounteous provider, giver of life, nourishment and fertility, and celebrant. They remind us of hot, lazy, Summer days, ripe fruits on the trees, and endless nights of feasting and merriment. Waning since Lughnasadh…

Our Winter King
A being of the cold, dark nights of winter; the decisive frosts, gales and snow. Their instinct is to clear away the weak and overripe, to cleanse the land much as the ice does and to challenge. This would be their reign in the coming season. Theirs is the waxing power…
How do you see these characters? Their stories and motivations and their relationships to one another and the wider community? Which do you feel a great affinity to? How will you fend off or welcome in the Winter?

If you are a BFS member with an interest in any of the three roles, we invite you to apply. We welcome a coordinated storyline between Summer and Winter and would therefore encourage prospective Kings (with or without your Cailleach) to apply in sets, but we are also happy to meet individuals who are willing to work with others. We encourage this just to help in a cohesive story as Kings especially work closely in developing their interaction on the night.

We are also welcoming input from our members to nominate anyone that you strongly feel would do justice to these key roles in Samhuinn’s festivities. This would simply highlight this person as a vote of confidence, potentially leading to them being invited to put forward an application if they have not yet done so. Sometimes it takes others to highlight our potential for us to go forward to manifest it.


How the process will work
Take a look at the full court selection process document for detail. The short version is that performers for each of the three court roles for Samhuinn will be selected from those who apply. Selection will be made by two members of the Board of Trustees and current Blues, using specific criteria, set out in the selection process document. Any BFS member who feels they fit the criteria may apply – just complete the short application form and send it to by 10pm on Sunday 7 August. All applications will be kept fully confidential by the Blues and two Board members involved.

BFS members are encouraged to nominate anyone they feel should be encouraged or ‘nudged’ to apply. Nominations for a nudge to apply must be submitted by email to by 10pm on Monday 25th July. There is no form to complete and no need to tell us why you are nominating – simply email the name of the member(s) you are nominating and the role(s) you are nominating them to be encouraged to apply for. Only Blues will see and act on nominations. Again, detail on this is set out in the court selection process document – but please note: those interested in applying for court roles do not need to be contacted in this way in order to apply – applications are welcome and will be considered equally from all.

  • Nominations deadline: 10pm on Monday 25th July 2016
  • Applications deadline: 10pm on Sunday 7th August 2016
  • Interviews: Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th August 2016


Performance Groups

Samhuinn 2016 GO Application Form
Samhuinn 2016 Group Organiser Guidance

Calling drummers, dancers, acrobats, fire spinners, musicians, elemental spirits, torchbearers, hunters, wild beasts, roaming faeries and mythical creatures! It’s time for you to make your creative vision a reality with a group of volunteers who will work together to make this Samhuinn an unforgettable celebration.

As the GO of a performance group, your role will involve organising volunteers, developing your story and key moments with the rest of the Society, making props and costumes, choreography, music or rhythms, and giving a body and voice to our event. In return, we can offer you an amazing experience, learning new skills, meeting new people, and making a difference to others by helping them on their journey to welcome the onset of Winter.

Please send your application form to by 10pm on Friday 29th July 2016.


Production Groups

No application form is required for production groups. Please email before 10pm on Friday 29th July 2016 with the name(s) and contact details of proposed organisers and a note about relevant experience and plans for the group.

Unlike performance groups, which are open to interpretation and reinterpretation or which may or may not appear every year, our production groups have very specific missions and we absolutely need all of you! We’ve explained a bit about each production group below to help you formulate your application.


Our Bucketeers are a vital part of the festival as it’s not a ticketed event so we rely on donations from our witnesses rather than an income from ticket sales. Moving through the usually large and often tightly-packed crowd on the night, the outgoing, friendly Bucketeers share information about the BFS and the festival, and actively engage with the audience to encourage and collect those much-needed donations.

Although Bucketeers don’t usually have as demanding a preparation schedule as many other groups, it is essential that the GOs are confident to recruit and fully train a team of up to 20 volunteers.


The role of the Steward GOs is to actively recruit and comprehensively train a team of at least 30 volunteer Event Stewards. BFS Stewards are courtesy stewards, helping inform and guide the audience, protecting the performers and witnesses, holding space and being a visible source of assistance. Their aim is to help everyone have the best experience of our festival. Our Stewards are friendly, approachable, informative, assertive and, most importantly, a cohesive team.

Please bear in mind, this is not a security role. Professional SIA-licensed stewards and police will be on hand.


Coordinating the Tech team at one of our fire festivals is no mean feat! The task itself is rewarding and should be undertaken by a team of at least two.

The Tech Coordinators work as part of our production and safety groups within the festivals. They liaise with GOs and collate tech requests, then they make a plan to do as many of the fun fiery things as possible in a safe and controlled manner. It is recommended that the Tech Coordinators have been involved in Tech with BFS previously or have other relevant experience to demonstrate suitability.

Your coordination team needs to include the following strengths:

  • Good planning and logistics skills (essential for moving things around)
  • Friendly communication skills (because we are all volunteers in it for the fun, the thrill of the flame and the beat of the earth)
  • Great interpersonal skills to recruit your team of people at the Open Meeting and to work with our dedicated and hard working tech team (who will support you!)
  • Knowledge and experience of the some technical elements of our productions


Photopoint is a team of volunteer photographers, often with a range a skill and experience levels, who photograph group rehearsals, walkthroughs, busks and the festival. The photos are primarily for use on social media to promote the Society and event during the run-up, and also for press, media and our digital archive. Operating an efficient workflow and fast turnaround, they work closely with Videopoint, Group Organisers, the Online Communications Coordinator and anyone else involved with media, communications and promotion.

Photopoint coordinators should be experienced photographers who are able and prepared to coach volunteers where necessary. Coordinators and members must have access to the necessary equipment to photograph a fast-paced, crowded event at night.


Videopoint skilfully and creatively shoot and edit footage of the festival, but in particular of various events during the preceding weeks. The short finished videos they submit creatively capture BFS activities primarily for use on social media to promote the Society and event during the run-up, and also for press, media and our digital archive. Operating an efficient workflow and fast turnaround, they work closely with Photopoint, Group Organisers, the Online Communications Coordinator and anyone else involved with media, communications and promotion.

Videopoint must have the appropriate equipment to capture both high quality moving images and sound at a loud, fast-paced event at night, and must also have the appropriate level of experience to use it!

Videopoint is more of a project than a group and would suit 1-3 people. Depending on the experience and inclination of applicants, this could be included under the Photopoint umbrella or operated separately.


Project Proposals

If you are an experienced BFS festival participant and have an idea that you would like to make a reality as part of the festival but that doesn’t fit with a group structure or require recruitment of additional volunteers, please submit this as a proposal, rather than a GO application, to by 10pm on Friday 29th July 2016. A small number of proposals will be granted at the discretion of the Board and you may be invited for a short interview to discuss your idea.

Please note that proposals are ideal for creative projects fully conceived and completed by individuals or small numbers of volunteers, not a mechanism by which to run a closed group, recruit a group in advance or avoid recruiting from the wider community at the Open Meeting.

Examples of proposals include, but are not limited to: Puppets; Non-group performance roles, like Call Horn; Structures, props and scenery, like stage decoration.

Please include the following information in your email:

  • Names and contact details (email address, phone number) of ALL people involved.
  • Experience within BFS of ALL people involved.
  • A description of your project, including how you see it fitting into the festival.
  • A list of the materials and costs involved, including any contribution made by volunteers and any budgetary requests.
  • Anything else you would like to add.

Photo of Samhuinn 2015 by Martin McCarthy

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