Help shape Samhuinn as a Group Organiser

This is a shout-out to our community – to all our storytellers, performers, musicians,  and mischief-makers – to help create our next festival as a volunteer group organiser (GO). We want you to share with us your time, ideas, and visions, to help us tell the story of Samhuinn.

If you’re ready 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 at festival[at]beltane[dot]org.

The deadline for Group Organiser applications is 10pm on Friday 10th August.

If your ideas are still a bit loose, or you’d like to find out more about the role and expectations of a Group Organiser before handing in your form, there will be a pre-application meeting from 7-9pm on Thursday 19th July at Kilderkin on Cannongate. This will be a working meeting with structured discussion, to help nurture the seeds of your ideas with a solid earthly foundation, allowing them to flow like river water to the sea; so, air your thoughts and fire up your imagination by attending this meeting. The meeting “proper” is for prospective GOs only, but all are welcome to come along afterwards for a social.

You can find more information at the bottom of this post and are welcome to register your attendance on the Facebook Event for it which is now live. If you’re thinking of applying to run a group but you can’t make it along to the meeting on the 19th, 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 and discuss ways we can make them happen.

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 crone (Cailleach) form will reveal herself and tip the balance into the dark half of the year, enabling Winter to advance but ensuring that the spirit of Summer is protected so that it may be born anew. The precise way this story is portrayed changes each year, and is built around the ideas that come up from the community, so there is lots of room for interpretation, creativity and fire!

A New Venue

A major re-interpretation this year will be adapting the performance to a new space. We’ve outgrown the Old Town, and we’re exploring potential changes to the staging of the Samhuinn festival, potentially with more happening in procession form in a larger space – possibly Calton Hill. As we’re waiting to confirm our new location, we’d ask prospective GOs to build some flexibility into their ideas, and be willing to work with us to adapt the performance to fit our space.

Want to organise a performance group?

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

Traditionally, most groups align themselves to the Summer or Winter court, or mark the transition in some way. There are many different forms that can take, from quiet acceptance, to rowdy resistance. Some groups may themselves transition over the course of the night. However, the openness of our Samhuinn story means that there are also
opportunities to have performance groups that diverge from the main story.

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. These have included:

  • Stewards, who ensure that our spaces are safe and easily managed. They stand firm when others may fall, and if you fall, they will make sure help reaches you.
  • Bucketeers/Contact Point, who gather donations and offer information and guidance to witnesses. While ticketing/donations plans are still TBC, we are still looking for outgoing people who can help our witnesses understand our story and our the ritual.
  • Tech, the wonderful people who help turn ideas into reality by creating the structures showcase our ideas and give life to dreams. They are responsible for the logistics, structures and fire art that form the backbone of our event. When all our performances are complete and we heading off, they are the ones left to make sure that all it removed and safely packed away for next time.
  • Photopoint, the fabulous folk who capture us in all our splendour, immortalising the night in visual memories of photos and video.
  • We’re also on the hunt for GOs to run a small group of volunteers organising the afterparty too. It’s our private shindig after the main event ends, where those who have taken part in the festival and their friends can relax and celebrate in style.

These groups offer a different experience of the festival, providing an opportunity to participate in creating the event, 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 will consider all applications and together they will make a decision. In the case of more than one application to run specific groups, we will look at each individually and consider the needs of the festival to see if both can be viable. Some applicants may 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 – aiming to notify everyone by email, on the same day as others are informed. Above all, we want the process to be open and transparent as we value all our volunteers in every capacity, and want everyone to feel supported throughout the process.

Full information on how the selection process works is set out here, in our GO Selection Process Samhuinn 2018 document.

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!

  • Samhuinn 2018 Group Organiser Application Form PDF / ODT / DOCX
  • Samhuinn 2018 Group Organiser Example Application Form PDF / ODT / DOCX
  • Samhuinn 2018 Group Organiser Guidance PDF / ODT / DOCX

Remember to get your application in by 10 August, and 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 2018 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 also the 10th August – email them to festival [at] beltane [dot] org.
Proposals will be granted at the discretion of the Board, we may invite you for a short chat to discuss your idea to assist us in deciding how your proposal will link into the festival.

Good luck all – we’re excited to hear your ideas!

Photo by Vince Graham for Beltane Fire Society.

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