BOnFire 2021 – this year’s projects and how to get involved

We’re so proud to announce the projects that our society will be collaborating on as part of BOnFire 2021.

Once again, we are finding ways to celebrate alone, but together in 2021. This festival, we’ve challenged the community to think both about projects with a digital artistic output; and about projects that celebrate the change of the seasons in the lead up to the festival.

This means there’s a variety of ways you can engage with the community and the Beltane celebration this year. We hope you find a project that excites you and we look forward to celebrating together—whether that be as a participant or a witness—come April 30th. If you have any questions you can email or reach out to us online.




Organisers: Yvonne Armour, Martin McCarthy, Erin McElhinney

Project description:
Acropolis 7s is the first rhythm played on the Hill every Beltane: it simultaneously belongs to
us all…and a restricted few – until now!

Acropalytic invite you to take Acropolis 7 and explode it, whatever that means to you. Turn
it into an opera; put a rap over the top; create some animation to accompany it – or simply
(finally) learn and play it.

We’re weekly tutorials + online resources: all to help you create your own version of A7.
Submitted videos will form an online gallery and be shared on Facebook, with potential for
snippets to be used on Beltane night.

How many hours a week would people need to give:
You can drop in and out as you please: every week we’ll repeat the same A7 lessons
(rotating between snare/tom/bass) in the first hour and use the second for finessing/other
rhythms/muted-mutual-practicing. There’s a couple of simple visual rules for any video
submissions, but you don’t have to share something: you can just enjoy learning without
worrying you sound shit; film yourself drumming on a shoe with chopsticks; build an
elaborate set with multiple camera angles… it’s up to you.

How can people sign up or ask questions:
Email us at and we’ll send you invites to the Drive (full of resources) and the Zoom link for our weekly meetings. The first one will be the ‘ok, here’s more info on how this works’ session, your
chance to ask questions and maybe snag a drum.



Organisers: Sara Thomas

Project description:
This is a project for the Beltane run-up, where we pair up once a week and go for an adventure in nature, getting some outdoor time and making art with the things that we find….
Summer doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time, and moves slowly, and pokes its wee head out from under the ground as it gets warmer and lighter and there’s great joy and comfort that comes from noticing that.  By marking time, aligning ourselves with nature’s calendar, and paying close attention to how things are changing we are reminded that the world still turns. And that we are part of that world, and this too shall pass.   

Making art that doesn’t stay reminds us that nothing is permanent.  Taking time over this art gives us time to pause, and notice, and connect.  Leaving something beautiful in nature makes other people smile. We are all part of something bigger than ourselves.

This is low commitment, good for those who’d like some social contact and to spend time in nature, and because you’re making AN ART you already have something to talk about if you’re a bit anxious about meeting people. 

How many hours a week do partipiants need to give:
Estimate 2-4 hours per week for 4 weeks, depending on how long your art adventure is.

How can they get in touch to ask questions / sign up:
More information on the project is available here, the Google Form signup is here (sign ups open till Saturday 27th March @ 12 noon or until we reach capacity) and you can email me at



Organisers: Sarah Barr

Project description:
The world rages outside, but here in the Bower, our nest, our harbour, our home, we are together.

Let us create a Bower together, a shelter in our hearts and on our hearths. We’ll explore rituals and meditations of sharing food, of crafting, and invitation; welcoming the elements, nature, and all creatures of Beltane Night. We’ll share what we learn with our community, so whoever wishes can create our space wherever they are, and join us there. We’ll also film a short ritual for the night, inviting everyone to not just watch, but to take part in our festival.

How can you get involved:
Our meetings will all be online, every Friday (7-10pm) from the 26th of March, as well as 7-9pm on Wednesday 21st and 28th of April. You MUST be able to commit to attending all the meetings. If more than 12 people come to our first meeting, I’ll need to make a cut.
Please email for more information, to ask any questions, and to sign up!



Organisers: Lu Kocaurek, Charlie Farley, Niki Slavov

Project description:
 If you’ve been longingly thinking of Calton Hill these weeks and months, gotten bogged down in the monotony of days, been missing physical connection – defy that funk with the magic of letter writing! Sign up to receive two blank postcards with a map of Calton Hill. On one, mark a spot on the map with a symbol of a fond memory, a story or an association, and write that down on the back. Send this postcard back to me and we’ll collate them all into one big map, with symbols on the front and stories on the back, with a digital version on the BFS website. Send the other postcard to someone else to spread the joy of taking time to do something for a friend (or stranger), and the physical manifestation of that connection.

How can you get involved:
Sign up via our google form.
Or email us with email above with any questions.
We’re planning to have an info evening on Thursday 25th March via google meets, for more details about that please email.

Echoes Along the World’s Tree


Organisers: Hannah Smith & Nico Marrone

Project description:
We need any Beltaner – past, present…. future? If you’re outside of Edinburgh and feeling like you can’t take part in our Beltane festival, no fear! Come join our group! You may remember us from such previous video projects as “Pass the Rune” during last year’s initial lockdown, and the Global Sojourn from Samhuinn’s Hearthfire event.
We realise lockdown fatigue might be hitting, so we want a short 20-30second video clip that makes you feel connected to summer and Beltane. Could be a short performance, dance or spoken word or acro or music that makes you feel summery. We are happy to accept multiple clips and integrate them in as well. We will edit your clips into a short compilation to show the Beltane diaspora outside of the Edinburgh heart. We do want to geotag your location (could be as general as country or as specific as state/county) so you have to be willing to share at least the rough part of the world you’re in!
We are not doing rehearsals, just receiving and editing your clip, so we will need as little or as much time as you’d like to put in.

How you can get involved:
You can approach Nico and Hannah with any questions or to sign up, by emailing and we will be producing a quick guide with details for submission (length, video format, audio tips) very soon. Oh, and anyone who knows someone who might be interested but maybe won’t see this post, please feel free to share this out to them 😊

Animation by Martha Smith (@marthaclaire_illustrates) and music is “Springtime Adventure” by Teknoaxe (royalty free).

Nathair Còir (Kind Snake)


Organisers: Donald Dalziel and Robert Ball

Project description:
nathair còir are the sacred snakes of earth. We’re making a video of two  characters emerging from an underworld hibernation to warm up with fire and the sun, overlaid with footage of actual snakes. 

How can you get involved:
We’re looking for people who have pet snakes to send us footage of them crawling along their arms, shoulders, or hands. If you’re interested, please email your footage to We’re excited to meet your noodles! 



Organisers: Sam Haddow

Project description:
Do you have a story to tell? Do you have a memory to share? Do you have wisdom to impart? If so, let’s hear your lovely voices. 

In the run-up to Beltane 2021 I am going to put together a few podcast episodes in which I invite members of the community to share stories, memories and perspectives relating to our festivals. Contributions could take the form of a recorded group conversation on Zoom, a one-to-one over the phone or a socially distanced blether outside. The invitation is open to anyone from BFS with a story they’d like to share. 

Episodes will be broadcast publicly and made available to members of the society. We will ensure that no society secrets are spilled and that people’s privacies are respected. 

Participation will be a one-off instance, arranged according to peoples’ schedules. We will discuss your contribution beforehand and all participants (as well as Board members and Blues) will be able to listen (and request changes if needed) to the episodes before they are released.

How can you get involved:
If you would like to take part, please contact with the following information:
1. Your name (obviously).
2. What you would like to discuss. This could include:

  • The history of our festival and the traditions on which it draws.
  • Your experiences as a volunteer.
  • A story or poem (pre-written or original) that speaks to your experience of Beltane.
  • Your plans or hopes for Beltane in the future.
  • Anything else related to the subject of Beltane.

Your prefered method of participation:

  • A recorded one-to-one remote conversation. 
  • A recorded group conversation. 
  • A socially distanced conversation. 
  • Any of the above. 


Gaia Filiale 

Organisers: Sophia Halamoda & Jemma Pilcher

Project description:
Gaia Filiale return to the festival as a tribal fusion duet. We will perform a dance ritual to celebrate Mother Earth, and the awakening of new life sprouting from the soil.

We are the extensions of our Mother Earth; she provides us with power, strength, and wisdom. And with our bodies, we will manifest magic.

Na Cait Fiadhaich (the wildcats)

Organisers: Eleanor Buffam and Joe Lotito

Project description:
We are a group of wildcats from the Scottish Highlands who sing in Gaelic. We would like to make a video of a song to be released on the night of Beltane. If there is space available we would also be interested in making a video for the run-up as well. We would also be available to provide music for other people’s videos or for the court if this is something that they would be interested in.


Organisers: Raymond Jardine and Feòrag Forsyth

Project description:
A fire festival needs fire! The Neidfire is ritually created using ancient methods. The festival will be virtual this year, but rest-assured the Neidfire will be done the same way as it’s always done.

The Wheel Turns

Organisers: Matt Scott

Project description:
This project is exploring the changing of the seasons through music and short animations. Matt is keen for people to use these elements for other projects and up for informal collaboration with other projects.

Reflections in the Water

Organisers: Bradley McCarthur

Project description:
A written piece reflecting on the changing of the seasons in the context of what our community has been going through in the last year. It will be focused with the element of water and might also be provided in audio form for accessibility.


Organisers: Nate Kelso and Danielle Christie

Project description:
The indoor spaces we’ve hibernated in have been a warm but cloying necessity. It’s time to step back into the world and tap into the living earth as it stirs. We will reconnect with the outside – our city, our community, our spaces and the green places that call to us. We will channel it through ourselves and let the rhythm of the city, of transformation and of awakening out in the way we are most accustomed to: percussion.


Organisers:  Katherine Anne Bradley and Jacob Forsyth Davies

Project description:
We plan to make a film exploring the earliest of rituals around menstrual bleeding, and the significance of this blood in the cycle of renewal that sees the maiden transition into the mother, and enter into union with the green man.  We plan to focus on the ritual power of the blood and the sexuality of connecting deeply with ones’ own cycle, be that menstrual or moon or the wider cycles of the seasons, tides and stages of life. 

Image by Katrin Blackwater


Organisers: Nicky Saunders

Project description:
We will look at traditional storytelling and song, and how the old Celtic and Northern European folk tales connect to the Beltane story. The group will do a mixture of individual storytelling, Gaelic song and
a collaborative play – performed either in person or over Zoom depending on how the restrictions are going at the time.

Bean Leighis / Women of Healing

Organisers: Katy Swift & Luz Lopez

Project description:
We are using dance, poetry and ritual to delve into how women might reclaim the power and knowledge that wise women in Celtic society held, connecting with the Gaelic tradition of the bean feasa – women of knowledge. With bare feet in the Earth and hands in the soil we will explore this hidden world of magic, medicine, folklore and foraged food, hoping that along the way many plant-strangers will become friends and we will discover a connection to the cosmos.

Flames of Transference

Organsiers: Miriam Wolanski

Project description: to come.

Featured image by Sean Bluestone for Beltane Fire Society. All rights reserved.