From 1-4pm on Saturday 29th April – the day before Beltane – the Beltane Community are opening up the Hill with our family-friendly event. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been to festival before or you’re a long-time Beltaner, or even one of our performers; this day is for everyone. Drop in at any point or stay for the duration!
It’s a chance to celebrate the birth of Summer and find out more about the famous Beltane Fire Festival, which takes place the following day. Explore the changing seasons and the meaning of the festival, with storytelling from key Beltane characters and walking tours of Calton Hill to help you make the most of the big night. There will be music, a chance to try out traditional skills (from fire-making to crafts), and Beltane fun for children (5+, accompanied by their adults) too.
What to bring: your wishes for the year ahead, donations for our buckets, paper or small bits of wood for the following night’s Beltane bonfire (if you like), a picnic, and a flask of tea to keep you toasty!
Activity and Performance Times
All of the following will be held either in marquees, bell tents or on hay bales, close to the National Monument on Calton Hill.
1pm – 3:30pm – every 15 minutes Storytelling – hear the stories of a maiden for the May Queen, a Guard to the Green Man and John Commonwheel – as part of The People’s Heritage series in conjunction with Tradfest
1pm – 3:30pm – every 30 minutes Walking tours of Calton Hill – a chance to find out more about the Beltane story and route of the procession on the night.
1:00pm Neid Fire Workshop – demonstration by our torchbearers and a chance to learn how to start a fire using the traditional method
1:30-2:00pm History of Beltane Talk – by Matt Richardson, on the origins of the festival
2:00-2:45pm Drumming Workshop – this will be a djembe workshop hosted by Drum On – drums provided!
3:15pm Kids Drumming Workshop – hosted by Stuart and Daisy (for children aged 5-10)
3:30-4:00pm Kids Parade – after the drumming workshop, we’ll go on a mini parade around Carlton Hill!
3:30-4:00pm Castle Chorus (choir) perform
All Afternoon (1-4pm), There Will Also Be…
A Kids Activity Hut – come and make a headband or a wand and wear it in our kids parade around the Hill
A Wishing Tree – come and write down your wish and then hang it on our wish tree. The wishes will be burnt in the bonfire the next night.
A Soap Box – we will have a good old fashioned style soap box set up. If you’ve got something to share, come say it!
A Place to Leave Bonfire Contributions – if people would like to donate something to burn on the bonfire they can drop it off. It must be wood or paper (and nothing that would burn toxic) – no bigger than 30x30cm
Woodland Trust – will be there with marquee, giving out info on the charity and facilitating kids’ activities
Join the Facebook Event for updates.
Featured photo by Martin McCarthy for Beltane Fire Festival.