Apply to be a Group Organiser for Samhuinn 2017

It’s time to apply to be a Group Organiser or run a project for Samhuinn 2017!

Dear community, creatives, visionaries, revellers and mischief makers! It’s getting close to that time again when we start to collaboratively form the basis of our Samhuinn Fire Festival. To get the ball rolling, we are looking once more for a band of intrepid volunteer Group Organisers (GOs) to help tell the story and form the key components of our event.

Thinking of applying?

To apply, please read through the following information carefully, and then download the Application Form, Example Application Form and Guidance Information, linked at the end of this post. Complete the form and send it to us: the deadline for Group Organiser applications is 10pm on Friday 4th August.

If you’d like to find out more before handing in your form, there will be a pre-application meeting for prospective GOs from 2pm-5pm on Sunday 16th July at Kilderkin in the back room. This will be a working meeting with structured discussion. If you would like to come and hang out socially, please feel free to come along afterwards, but we ask that only prospective Group Organisers attend the meeting itself.

You can find more information in this post and are welcome to register your attendance on the Facebook Event page. If you’re thinking of applying to run a group but you can’t make it along to the meeting, please get in touch with the Blues at blues[at]beltane[dot]org and/or the Board of Trustees via festival[at]beltane[dot]org to share your ideas, as they’re happy to hear from you before applications start arriving.

First: What is Samhuinn?

Samhuinn is when we celebrate and recognise the transition of Summer into Winter; our festival is a modern reimagining of an ancient Celtic celebration of the turning seasons. The goddess in her hag (Cailleach) form will reveal herself and fit the final pieces in the jigsaw of the Samhuinn story, enabling Winter to advance but ensuring that the spirit of Summer is protected so that it may be born anew in Spring. The precise way this story is shaped and portrayed changes each year, so there is always lots of room for imagination, creativity and fire!

And heads up: There may be changes ahead…

As well as keeping our usual scope for changes in how our story is shaped, this year we’re also exploring potential changes to the practical format and staging of the Samhuinn festival (potentially with much more happening in procession form), so please start building in some flexibility into your ideas and be willing to work with us to create a spectacular festival.

Want to organise a performance group?

Drummers, dancers, acrobats, fire spinners, musicians, elemental spirits, torchbearers, hunters, wild beasts, roaming faeries, crones and mythical creatures and all the rest! 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.

The forces of Summer and Winter must prepare themselves for the oncoming transition. There are many different forms that can take, from quiet acceptance, to rowdy jostling – some may transition from one to another and some may have their beginnings and ends in the Festival itself.  

The looseness of the Samhuinn story means that there are opportunities to have performance groups that are disparate from the main story, however most groups align themselves to the Summer or Winter court, or celebrate the transition in some way.

As the organiser of a performance group, your role will involve organising and training volunteers, developing a story 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 to support you in learning new skills, meeting new people, and making a difference to others by helping them on their journey to welcome the onset of Winter and the passing of Summer.

Want to organise a production group?

Our unique festival couldn’t happen without the wonderful production groups that are an essential presence, in order for the event to take place.  These include:

  • Stewards who facilitate the movement of performers around the route and dedicate their energy to the safety and happiness of all;
  • Bucketeers/Contact Point who gather donations and offer information and guidance;
  • Tech, responsible for the logistics, structures and safe but dramatic fire art that form the background and backbone of the event; and
  • Photopoint, who capture our creations and memories in beautiful pictures and video.

We are looking for Group Organisers to bring a strong personal energy and dedication, as well as practical knowledge and experience, to build these important foundations, on which the rest of the event rests.

These groups offer a different experience of the festival, providing an opportunity to participate in creating the event from a non-performance perspective, as well as learning and honing a range of professional skills. If you’re considering applying to run one of these groups, we encourage you to include amongst your GO team someone with relevant experience and/or skills, gained either inside or out with BFS. Think about how you can run and develop a team of volunteers to work together with the Event Coordinator to create the well-oiled machine that powers the festival!

What happens after you apply?

Once the deadline passes, the Board and Blues for this festival will consider all applications and together they will make a decision. Some applicants will be invited in for a chat to talk about their application to help us reach a decision. We will then notify everyone who applied of the decision about their application – and we will aim to notify everyone by email, on the same day as others are informed.

GO for it!

So, do you fancy applying? Here are the documents you’ll need. Take inspiration from the over-arching narrative of Samhuinn, the demise of Summer and the rise of cold, dark Winter. Let’s make our Samhuinn a night to be remembered!

(Please do read the guidance – it contains information on dates you need to be available, how the festival will be run, deadlines and where to go for support or advice alongside guidance on what we’re looking for in a group application.)

Lastly – Got an idea that’s a bit different?

Our community is bursting with creativity and imagination. If you are an experienced BFS festival participant, and have an idea that you would like to make a reality as part of the 2017 festival – but feel it doesn’t fit with a group structure, or necessarily require recruitment of additional volunteers, please email festival[at]Beltane[dot]org to request more information on how to submit a proposal.  The deadline for submissions of proposals is 4th August too – email them to festival [at] Beltane [dot] org. Proposals will be granted at the discretion of the Board, and we may invite you for a short chat to discuss your idea.

We look forward to hearing about your ideas!

Featured image of a wild GO in their native habitat copyright Neil Barton for Beltane Fire Society. 

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