Get to know our Samhuinn 2021 groups, and how to join them

What a beautiful long summer it has been! But the Wheel of the Year turns towards Autumn and Winter, and the wheels of BFS’ creative energy have been spinning into motion.

Below are the groups that will make up the story we tell at Samhuinn, many of which are available for you to join! These include production groups and performance groups; groups who meet and rehearse in-person, in preparation for our parade through the city on Samhuinn night, as well as groups meeting online to work on digital creations for our simultaneous online festival.

Have a read through the descriptions, requirements, and rehearsal times below, to see which group you think you would fit best into. Each of our open groups will have their own instructions below on how best to join in with them.

If you sign up to one of our groups, Group Organisers may collect your name and email address, to keep in touch with updates directly related to your voluntary engagement. We will not use your information for any other purpose without first asking for your consent, and we will not share your email with external organisations.

Text transcriptions of each of the videos can be found on their Youtube page.

COVID-19 Statement

We’re looking to our volunteers to help us create a festival which, at every stage and on every level, takes all reasonable precautions against Covid-19, while also supporting each other to be able to do more of the wonderful things together that we all miss.

Please read our Board’s statement on COVID-19 security for this festival.

(This statement will soon be published again on our social media.)


Solo project:

Our Groups


In-person group
Group Organisers:  Yvonne Armour, Danielle Christie, Erin McIlhinney, Andy Walker

Want to join?
Come to open practices:

Wed 8 Sept, 7-10pm and Sun 12 Sept, 2-5pm, at The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JX
You must register here before coming to a Beatroot open practice:
(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

Closed practices:

Mandatory practices every Sunday, 2-5pm, @ Bongo Club
Optional practices very other Weds (22nd Sept, 6th Oct, 20th Oct), 7-10pm @ Bongo Club
Weekend Away:
non-mandatory staycation in Edinburgh, with indoors and outdoor bits, Fri Oct 01 – Sun Oct 03


In-person group
Group Organisers: Bob Ball, Robin Crane.

We are Beithir. We will make a giant snake puppet. We tried once already, but our first attempt, while lifelike, would not agree to be attached to broom handles. 

We’re going to try again, this time with willow and muslin. We welcome anyone interested in creating and puppeting the great serpent, whether you’re new to puppets and performance or an old hand. 

Beithirs are a sort of giant snake in Scots Gaelic folklore, who recover from all injuries done to them. Allied to the Cailleach, their shed skins are used in her stories for spells – the goddess even appears as one, from time to time.

The snake is a symbol of wisdom, but instead of having fast or complex minds, their wisdom is in their flesh. They are largely creatures of instinct, whose bodies tell them how to survive the deadly changes between seasons. The snake is a guardian, and as we wind around others for warmth, they are safe. Most of all, serpents are healers, and allow all who abide with them to grow.

As we slither towards the underworld, signalled by the late Summer storms, we will bring the comfort and healing of the Earth to any that need it. Then, we sleep through the Winter inside the Earth, and dream the nonsense-knowledge of the spirit world.

Want to Join?
Come to one or more of our open practices:

7PM Friday 3rd September
2PM Sunday 5th September
7PM, Friday 10th September
on the grass opposite the car park on Duke’s Road, Holyrood Park.
(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

Closed Practices: 7PM on Friday nights in Holyrood park; Puppet-making in one of our gardens on Sunday daytimes.
Weekend Away: We’ll have a chill wild-camping trip on Friday 24th September.

The Creatures

In-person group
Group Organisers:
Paul Lazar, Miriam Wolanski

(Note: Weekend away dates have been changed)

Want to join?
Come to our open practices:

Saturday September 4th, Meadows Pavilion, 1pm-4pm.
Sunday September 7th, Meadows Pavilion, 2pm-5pm.
You must pre-register for the open practice here:
(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

Closed practices:
Thursdays and Sundays, 7pm on The Meadows
Weekend Away:
Mandatory wild-camping weekend; dates will be confirmed at closed practices.

Na Cait Fhiadhaich

Online Group
Group Organisers: Eleanor Buffam, Joe Lotito

This is a closed group.

The Ember Guard

In-person group
Group Organisers: Ant Edwards, C’tri Goudie

Warmth,….  Light,…..  Heat…… Fire…

Without fire, Beltane Fire Society is just BS.

With fire, we stand together in defiance. As the Icy winds gather around us. We dedicate ourselves to keeping the fire lit, the Bonfire of summer transitioning to the humble hearth. With us, summer may rise once more from its ashes.

We are a low commitment fire-spinning group, looking for confident fire spinners to stand in rebellion of winter’s chill. Performance and costume experience is not necessary.   

Want to join?
We have two open practices
on the 30th of August and 6th of September on the meadows, from 6:30pm.
You must pre-register to attend an open practice:
(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

Regular practices:
Mondays on the Meadows, 6:30pm
Weekend Away:
Once the group has been formed there will be a group beach day on the 12th to celebrate the last whims of summer.

Photo Point

In-person group
Group Organisers: Vince Graham, Gordon Veitch

Want to join?
Come to our open meeting:
Sunday 5th September at 2pm, meeting at 49 Albany Street EH1 3QY, outside if the weather’s good.
(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

Regular practices:
Sundays most weekends, some weeknights by arrangement to photograph the other groups.


In-person group
Group Organisers: Sam Haddow, Lila O’Leary, Barry Neeson

Want to join?
Come to open practices:
Wednesday 1st September 7pm – 9pm, and Sunday 5th September 2 – 4pm, at the Please note your interest in joining the group by filling in our registration form, this will also
allow us to be in touch to give you further important details about the open practices.

(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

Regular practices:
Wednesdays 7–9pm, and Sundays 2–6pm.
Weekend Away:
MANDATORY wild-camping weekend from the 1st-3rd October.


In-person group

We are currently searching for two to three Group Organisers to lead our Stewarding group this festival.

Stewards ensure that our spaces are safe and manageable. Stewards are the public face of the festival on the night, and the primary interface between the performers and the public. They stand firm when others may fall, and if you fall, they will make sure help reaches you. Stewards can also help to welcome our witnesses into our space, and help them to get the most out of their experience. As Tech watch over the material structure of this festival, then Stewards watch over its people.

If you’d be interested in either leading or joining our Stewarding group this festival, contact

Summer’s Fayte

In-person group
Group Organisers: Carolina Krödel, Katharina Wegerer

This will be a closed group focusing mostly on summery character work. The Summer King knows what must be done: we must get our act together, settle down, and prepare for Winter. Be sensible, and all that. And we’re there to support him.


We have lived through and celebrated a hot, sunny, beautiful, and exciting summer. We have soaked up sunshine and warmth and togetherness, and danced as the skies opened with rain. We are joy and revelry, curious and playful, and we come from every corner of Summer – scurrying out of fields and vegetable patches, meadows and woods. We want to share all that summer has been and we bring gifts, bouncing, dancing, running, flailing, grinning…

We are summery whirlwinds, dandelion seeds floating merrily as the winds change and the weather turns, and we are EXCITED. This is our last night of revelry before a Really Good Nap. So we support the Summer King. (HELPING!) But we do it our way. We are helpful to a fault, but perhaps a bit…distractible. We remind Summer and Winter alike to cherish the season just past, to take some of that warmth and nourishment, and to keep it safe for the spring to come. Because we’re sure it will.

This is a closed group.

Tales From The Hearth

Online Group
Group Organiser:
Nicky Harrison

Tales From The Hearth will be producing digital content based on traditional Scottish and Celtic folk tales and myths.

This digital content will be released in the run-up to Samhuinn and/or form part of an online Beltane running at the same time as the main performance.

It could be video, audio, text, pictures or any other mediums.

There is scope for individual and group projects.

We currently have one long term story in progress – filming Maiden, Mother and Crone in different seasons.

This group is low-commitment, and could potentially be combined with membership of another group. It would also suit people who have mobility issues or who don’t live locally.

We’ll have a Facebook group and Discord group for discussions on content, and online meetings approximately once a week to keep up to date.

There’s no requirement to meet in person, although people working on group presentations will need to be physically in the same place for rehearsals, filming, etc.

We are looking for people interested in storytelling, story writing, video editing, sound editing, music, animation, dance, acting etc.

No prior experience of folktales is needed. We have plenty of resources to share.

Drop us an email with your name, any prior experience and if you have ideas already then something about those.



In-person group
Group organisers:
Peter Jackson & Dan Rylatt

The tech team is responsible for props and fire effects, building
stages and assisting other groups with projects they might have.

We’re looking for people who like to build stuff, put things together
and take them apart. No previous experience required: you’ll be shown
and learn new skills. Some tech tasks involve lifting and carrying, but
much of tech’s work doesn’t. We are a flexible group and welcome
volunteers who have limitations on their time commitment. It’s also a
great way to get involved in a festival for the first time, especially
if you don’t see yourself as a performer.

Want to join? Email us for more information and receive details
of our first meeting.

Sunday afternoons in the weeks running up to Samhuinn at the BFS warehouse in Leith. This an open plan warehouse and many of our activities will take place in the open air.


Group organisers: Feórag Forsyth, Raymond Jardine

Want to join?
Fill out a form:

Closed practices:
Sundays 2-4pm, weekly evening practice (day TBC). Meetings will be online where possible, there will be some mandatory in-person rehearsals.


Group Organisers: Sean Hamilton & Iga Sobieraj

Want to join?
Come to open meetings (to chat/try the group)
Tuesday 31st, Wednesday 1st, and Monday 6th, 7pm-10pm in the Meadows at the Pavilion/Jawbone walk.
Sunday 12th, 2pm-5pm in Pilrig Park.
(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

We’re looking for:
4-5 stilt walkers, stilts provided and full training given.
4-5 ground characters
Spotters (people who help stilted characters) who also will be part of parade
No experience required!

Closed practices: Thursdays 7pm-10pm & Sundays 2-5pm

Winter Drummers

Group organisers: Aindrea Bell, Cecil Lane

Want to join?
Come to our open practices:

Saturday 4th, 2-4pm at Blackford Quarry.
Saturday 4th, 7-9pm and Sunday 5th September, 2 – 5pm at The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JX
You must register here before coming to a Winter Drummers open practice:
(You must have a negative lateral flow test result from the last 24hrs to attend an open practice. GOs may ask for proof of testing.)

Closed practices:
Wednesdays 7 – 9 pm, Sundays 2 – 5 pm, at The Bongo Club.
Weekend Away:
mandatory, staycation, 8th – 10th October

The Wyrd

Group Organisers: Ross Atkinson, Tonks Brown, Tamara Piddock

This is a closed group.


And a solo online project:

As well as group activities, we welcome solo creative projects to expand the scope of our story. If you have a solo project you’d like to bring to our online festival, there’s still time to contact to talk about your ideas!

Eternal Equatorial Summer

Creator: Hannah Smith

Living on the equator in Singapore, I am suspended in permanent Summer. The beaming sunshine, warm breeze, and ample rain leads to bountiful rainforest conditions. Plants are lush and verdant, insects thrive. I’m surrounded by the blue sky, the blue sea, the green of the trees. It’s bursting with life and full of joy! Everyone can soak up the glory of an eternal summer.

But is a permanent summer perfect? Without seasonal transitions, the atmosphere can feel static and stifled. It’s stagnant, and stuck, day in and out. There’s no space to stop and reflect, no quiet season for animals to rest or hibernate. The passing of time feels unreal.

This will be a solo video project for the online portion of Samhuinn 2021. It will be a compilation of locations in Singapore and the rainforest / beaches / green spaces with spoken word.

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