We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support that met our announcement about the possible implications of Edinburgh Council’s proposed changes to rules around processions. We’re essentially worried that tighter restrictions around the location, formation and music in processions could result in Samhuinn, with its 20 year history, no longer being able to take place in its current form. To find out more, please read our original article.
Besides the outpouring of appreciation that you showed us on social media (thank you!), it was also picked up by several local news outlets.
STV ran with ‘Fire festival fears future at risk by proposed council rules‘:
Spokeswoman Ms Macdonald said the group felt that the council was moving towards a place where local community groups might feel unable to hold events in the city centre.
She said: “We’re lucky, we’re used to working on big events and have a dedicated team of volunteers, but lots of local community events or protests may not have that, making working through these restrictions more challenging.
“And with these turbulent times, you might not want to give so much notice of a protest march, you’ll want to have the right to take to the streets and have your voice heard as soon as possible.”
The National covered it with ‘Rule change threatens Celtic fire festival, say organisers‘:
Beltane Fire Society (BFS) organises the free Samhuinn event every Halloween.The autumn celebration, a modern reimagining of an ancient Celtic new year festival, sees costumed performers and drummers travel through the city to mark the end of summer and welcome winter.
However, BFS claims this year’s may not be able to go ahead due to an overhaul of the rules on public processions. City of Edinburgh Council says an increase in the number of such events means it needs to come up with a “clear and consistent approach” which considers public safety, potential damage and other circumstances. However, BFS says changes including new restrictions on the use of music and moves to avoid the use of the High Street and Royal Mile, where Samhuinn is normally held, threaten its future. A consultation on proposed changes was launched last month and, while the main Beltane spring festival would not be affected, BFS is urging supporters to object to protect Samhuinn.
Edinburgh Evening News featured ‘Fire festival under threat from ‘strict regulations’‘:
Samhuinn organisers The Beltane Fire Society are now urging people to back their event in feedback to the council before the end of the month. “We fully understand the council needs to do everything it can to make sure local residents and businesses aren’t unduly inconvenienced by activity in the city centre,” said Beltane Fire Society chair Erin MacDonald. “We support that and have a positive relationship with the council but it’s about striking a balance with maintaining our cultural heritage.”
The Edinburgh Reporter went with ‘Beltane urges comment on public processions in Edinburgh’:
Bringing Beltane’s unique brand of street theatre right into the heart of the city, Samhuinn is viewed by audiences of thousands and involves a guiding narrative and a cavalcade of characters in full costume, driven by the beat of drums. Although BFS have stated that many of the changes are reasonable, they also believe there are some elements that needs to be challenged.
The consultation closes on the 31st March, so there’s still time to respond in support of Samhuinn and the freedom to process in Edinburgh. Head to the council consultation website, and answer the questions they ask. You can take a look at our suggested points in Word format or PDF format and either copy and paste our suggested answers or write your own comments.
The proposed changes do not affect Beltane Fire Festival, which is set to take place on April 30th, with tickets on sale now via Tickets Scotland.