As the days get a little lighter and the air a little warmer, the changing of the seasons is upon us and while we wish we could all be together on the hill celebrating, let us think of how we can celebrate together, apart. Beltane 2021 will play out in the digital space on the 30th of April and in the weeks before hand and we’re calling on our storytellers, performers, musicians, devisers, animators, artists and mischief-makers to help us tell the story and create our next celebration.
This festival, we’re simplifying the idea of what a submission can be and we’ve suggested a few different ways that your projects could come together. We’d love to hear your visions on how you’d like to celebrate, whether that be a digital submission to be presented on the night, or a project in the lead up (public or private alike). Let us know if you have a thought, idea, flicker or tiny inkling of something you’d like to bring to this year’s festival. Submissions can be from individuals or groups.
Are you inspired by nature in general, or by one of the elements? Do you want to perform and film a story, film or song? Do you want to create a group that meets online weekly to draw together around a theme? Or maybe an idea that gets people outdoors like a photo project that can be shared online in the lead up to the festival? Anything is possible as long as it’s inspired by our celebrations. The focus doesn’t need to be on a final piece to broadcast; projects that don’t have a digital output and are activities that focus on community, merriment and preparing for the new seasons are encouraged.
We encourage you to consider if your idea fits into one of the following formats:
- Projects that conclude with a video submission (up to 5 minutes) for presentation on the night at our usual festival time(this could be filmed in an afternoon!)
- Projects that include digital output to be featured on our website or social platforms in the lead up to the festival and on the night (but not a ‘live’ streamed presentation)
- Projects that don’t have a public output, but are based around community, creativity, workshops, etc. – this could be in the run up to Betlane or something close to Beltane with some specific activity related to the day (e.g. craft your own Beltane headdress)
We’ll ask you in our application what your preference of the above is (can be a combination!), but as we’re working with a much simpler and more inclusive concept of our celebration this year, we can’t guarantee a set platform (we may just have too much delicious content for the night for example!) – but we will work it out together with Court, Blues and contractors as our celebration develops.
We will not be calling for traditional group organisers to create in-person groups and recruit members, like we did for Samhuinn 2020, as we do not expect COVID restrictions to change substantially before the festival. Instead, we invite people to form remote groups or work individually to create submissions. We won’t be holding a traditional Open Meeting, but we will help you communicate to the Society through the website and social media if you’d like to share your ideas and recruit others to your project.
CHECK INS AND SUPPORT
After an initial meeting of all co-creators, check in meetings will be held fortnightly on a Tuesday night at 6pm on a drop in basis (these won’t be compulsory for some groups depending on the complexity of the idea) and the Event and Comms Coordinators will be on hand to assist you along the way. This year, we are asking for each co-creator to think about the story of Beltane as well as the theme of Nature and the elements to produce their content. Ideas will not need follow the courts themes, however our May Queen and Green Man will be around to tell you of their concepts and ideas.
WHERE DO I START?
Our stripped down application form can be found here.
The deadline for the form is 5pm Friday 12th March.
Have an idea but still need a nudge? Why not come to our pre application session?
We will be hosting an informal pre-application session on Google Meets for anyone who has an idea and would like to brainstorm, discuss or maybe find a co-conspirator. This is equivalent to a Pre-GO meeting and gives prospective collaborators a chance to discuss and develop ideas, find co-conspirators, help us identify and anticipate what facilitatory support and/or other opportunities might arise. Please note this session is for people who would like to run their own project, not those who would like to participate in Beltane Festival in general. Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
This will be held Friday 5th March 7.30-9pm on Google Meets.
The link for the event is available here (we’ll post a reminder closer to the date). Automatic captioning is available on Google Meets for those that require.
You might choose to film some fire spinning, puppetry, an animation, storytelling, or a song – anything we can share which communicates our Beltane traditions. But don’t let these suggestions limit your imagination! Just keep in mind that we have a tighter turnaround than usual, so your ideas will need to be achievable within that time frame and need to be formed with a digital expression in mind if you plan to record to share.
COVID guidelines currently do not permit group gatherings and we do not expect restrictions to change substantially before the festival. Projects are expected to adhere to local COVID guidelines in their creation. This will ultimately be the responsibility of the volunteers to manage. BFS will not use any content deemed to have been created illegally.
HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
We do have some long established procedures for ensuring that participants take part in a safe and best practice manner. With remote and distant participation this can be more difficult, but we will support contributors to comply with these procedures. The safety of participants is of paramount importance and we will not use any content deemed to have exposed participants to unmanaged risks.
DO I HAVE TO BE LOCAL TO EDINBURGH TO TAKE PART?
The range of locations and venues for your contribution is endless, so as long as you stay within the Government’s official guidelines for where you are (and are mindful of fire restrictions!).
As with Samhuinn 2020, we will be welcoming contributions from around the world.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I APPLY?
The Event Coordinator and Communication Coordinator will collate all applications, after the deadline these will be put forward to the Selection Panel (made up of Board and Blues).
The panel will consider all applications once the deadline has passed and will make a decision together; we are hoping to approve as many applications as possible. In the case of more than one application to run a specific group, or a style of presentations, we will look at each individually and consider the needs of the festival to see if both can be viable.
In order to process the application we may need to speak to you to clarify something, if we do we will invite you to attend a video or telephone discussion.
Some of the panel’s considerations:
- Is the idea feasible?
- Does the Idea celebrate an aspect of Beltane or the community?
- Does the idea require leadership of or input from other volunteers?
- If so do you have the skills, experience and plans to do that safely and successfully?
- Is the applicant currently subjected to an ongoing BFS disciplinary procedure? (if so it will not be approved)
- Will the idea risk bringing the society into more disrepute than we are accustomed to? (if so it will not be approved)
- See our Selection Process here. * Please note there may be some temporary selection process adjustments to accommodate pandemic social distancing requirements as well as the move to an online festival.
A NOTE ABOUT TECHNOLOGY
When you are formulating your ideas, please try as much as you can to involve someone with filming, video editing, or audio expertise (if you are sending us something to include online). If you don’t know anyone with those particular skills, let us know in your application and we can help you find a digital minded person to collaborate with.
Image: Martin McCarthy