With Beltane 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 Summer’s return with us atop Calton Hill.
For more tips on how to enjoy your night, read our list of pointers in this blog post.
WHERE CAN I BUY TICKETS?
Tickets cost £11 (including booking fee and can bought online from Citizen Tickets.
Tickets are selling more quickly than usual, and previous festivals have sold out in the past. We recommend buying yours before the festival to avoid disappointment. Please note, if we sell out before the night there will NOT be tickets available on the gate.
WHAT TIME SHOULD I ARRIVE?
Gates open at 8PM and we anticipate heavy queues to get into the festival. There will be bag searches, so to speed things up please don’t bring glass onto the festival site. Our lovely security staff and box office team will be working hard to get everyone in as quickly as possible, but it does take time to check tickets for thousands of people. We recommend that you arrive early to give yourself enough time to find a good spot for the start.
WHERE IS THE ENTRANCE?
We actually have two! Both of our entrances are at the bottom of Calton Hill on Regent Road. Advanced ticket holders can enter by Waterloo Place – please do not use this entrance if you need to buy a ticket on the gate. Those looking to buy can use the entrance by Carriage Drive (the slope by the roundabout across the road from St Andrews House).
The accessible entrance is by Carriage Drive.
All other entrances to the Hill will be closed for the evening of the festival.
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.
ARE THERE FOOD VENDORS?
There are a small selection of stalls where you can buy food and drink in the festival. Please note that these vendors will not sell alcohol.
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 #beltane2019, 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?
There are performances taking place all over the Hill throughout the night, but the procession’s journey begins at sundown at the Acropolis (the National Monument). From there it will make its way to the Fire Arch and then to the stage, orbiting the Hill much like the wheel that turns the seasons.
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 Beltane 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 Vince Graham for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.