Everything you need to know about Samhuinn Fire Festival

With Samhuinn Fire Festival just around the corner, we’ve put together this handy breakdown of all the practical information you’ll need to come and celebrate Winter with us atop Calton Hill.

What is it?

Samhuinn Fire Festival is a modern interpretation of the Celtic New Year that takes place on the night of Hallowe’en each year in Edinburgh. This year, for the first time, we will celebrate our Winter festival at the top of Calton Hill, where we will present a spectacular show of fire, acrobatics, immersive theatre, song, and dance that brings to life the annual battle between the Summer King and Winter King.

Is there still a parade along the Royal Mile?

Not this year. Our festival begins and ends on Calton Hill, so please don’t head to the Royal Mile or you’ll miss all the action.

Can I still buy tickets?

Tickets for Samhuinn Fire Festival have now sold out. There will be no tickets sold at the gate tomorrow – all tickets have now gone.

If you bought yours online, be sure to collect yours from Tickets Scotland’s shop at 127 Rose Street in Edinburgh before the event tomorrow night. Tickets Scotland is open until 7pm on the day of the event. You will not be able to collect your ticket from the box office on Calton Hill.

Where is the entrance?

We actually have two! Both of our entrances are at the bottom of Calton Hill on Regent Road. Tickets holders can choose to enter by Waverley Steps or by Carriage Drive (the slope by the roundabout across the road from St Andrews House). All other entrances to the Hill will be closed for the evening of the festival.

What time should I arrive?

Gates open at 7pm and the event officially starts at roughly 7.45pm. There will be heavy queues as we anticipate the event selling out, so please arrive as early as possible so you can be inside the festival in time for it to start.

Can I bring food or drink?

Yes, just please don’t bring anything with glass. Nobody will be allowed into the festival with glass containers, so stick to plastic and metal only. There will also be some food stalls available to buy refreshments on the Hill.

Can I take pictures?

Please do! We’d love to see your photographs of the festival. Share them with us on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #samhuinn2018, or post them here in our Facebook event. We do ask that you not obstruct our performers while getting your perfect shot, and that you listen to our stewards if they instruct you to move.

Where is everything happening on the Hill?

This year’s Samhuinn Fire Festival is uniquely immersive, with Winter and Summer forces waking up and battling it out all over Calton Hill. This blog post helps you get to know Summer’s story at the start of the festival, while this one tells you all about Winter’s awakening on the North side of the Hill.

We’ve also included a handy map below to help you navigate your way around the festival.

Is it family-friendly?

Families with children are welcome at parents’ discretion. Please see our Accessibility section below for a fuller description of the performance to help you decide whether Samhuinn will be suitable for your wee ones.

Is it accessible?

Calton Hill involves a sloping ascent and the festival takes place in darkness with some areas becoming very crowded, so you may want to consider attending with a friend and arriving early to ensure your comfort. Care should be taken moving around the Hill, as the ground away from the paths is uneven and can get a bit slippery if it rains.

Witnesses with mobility considerations often prefer to head straight to the stage area at the beginning to find a great place to watch from. Our friendly stewards will be on hand to help you get situated and give you any information you might need. Look out for the painted people in orange hi-vis jackets.

There will be loud noises, mostly in the form of drumming, and some flashing lights in the form of pyrotechnics and flash photography.

Some costumed performers will be mingling, in character, with our witnesses throughout the evening. There will be some partial nudity.

The festival is stewarded and complies with all relevant health and safety requirements but please be aware that it takes place in the dark with a mobile audience of thousands.

BFS cannot advise on parking or accommodation in, or travel to or within, Edinburgh.

For accessibility-related questions, please email access[at]beltane[dot]org in advance.

Featured image by Scott Miller for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.

Samhuinn Fire Festival takes place on Wednesday 31st October on Calton Hill from 7pm. Tickets are available from Tickets Scotland.

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