In keeping with Celtic tradition the history of the Festival is maintained mainly through storytelling. Beltane lore is held by the Blues, a respected group of the society’s ‘old hands’ who build the stories through their considerable experience in participation and involvement in the Beltane Fire Society.
Our Blues are long-standing and active members of our community with lots of experience participating and performing in festivals, and a deep connection to our rituals and traditions. For more information around the role, please see the links below, or head further down to see who our current Blues are and read the words they shared with us.
- What Blues do.
- The current Blues for any festival form part of the GO Selection Group for that festival: they therefore now cast their votes, along with the Board, on an equal footing. You can find the full GO selection process here.
- The Blues and Board also work together to select court members. The full court process selection for this year is here.
- Processes around becoming and stepping down as a Blue.
If you have queries about these process or changes, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or members of the board will have a table at the Open Meeting where you can drop by and chat with us.
Alun E. (Joined Feb 2020)
I had watched Samhuinns passing by on the Royal Mile.
I had attended Beltanes up on the hill.
I thought I knew what they were.
I went to an open meeting and before I knew what was happening I was flapping the wings of a giant phoenix and grinning like a maniac whilst squawking in front of thousands of people. The next 10 years (dear sweet Green Man, has it really been that long?!) are a caliedascope of fire, love, drums, singing, dancing and utterly joyful screaming.
Performing, learning, teaching and loving this community has changed and supported me in ways that I could not have imagined.
I thought I knew what Beltane was.
I was utterly, beautifully, hilariously wrong and one day maybe I’ll work it out.
Caroline H. (JOINED Feb 2019)
Caroline is deeply Blue. For me this means stability, truth, strength; a connection with the ground, fire, the seasons, the ritual, the air, mountains and the sea.
Ella h. (JOINED FEB 2019)
I walked into an open meeting around 2010, and since then I’ve danced, sung, walked purposefully, drummed, set things alight, and created more costumes at the last minute than I should admit to. Through each festival I’ve found friends, learnt skills. Who knows how to describe – so many different ways of feeling joy, doing some of the maddest and most magical things.
Being asked to blue was humbling and through the time I’ve done it I have a greater love and respect for the BFS community and all its components. Being a part of ritual performance is something I do not take for granted.
As blues before me have done, I offer being here. I will endeavour to be as helpful as I can.
If I haven’t got an answer I’ll find someone. And if in doubt I’ll suggest tea.
Gav K. (JOINED FEB 2019)
There was an old Beastie and red
Who span fire and hit drums till he bled
But one day, he knew
It was time to be Blue
And was so happy he stood on his head.
JAMIE M. (JOINED FEB 2019)
Blurb to be added.
John W. (JOINED JAN 2020)
Blurb to be added.
LINDSEY B. (JOINED JAN 2020)
We are the friends that we make and the stories that we share.
Come take a seat and let’s spin yarns together.
Sara t. (JOINED Jan 2020)
I joined Beltane at Samhuinn 2014 as Event Coordinator, after me mam sent me a link to a job advert saying “Hey, this has fire, you’d like this.” (She was correct.) Four festivals later I decided that this performance lark looked worth a shot, which is how I ended up stilt walking down the Royal Mile. I thought I knew the festivals inside out, I was wrong. I didn’t think I’d ever join a drum group, but then Beasties happened. I was Cailleachan, I was a puppet-builder and part of the Cailleach’s entourage, I drummed some more. I told stories.
I didn’t think I’d ever GO (I live in Glasgow, ScotRail & Citylink get enough out of me as it is) but then Beasties happened. (Again). I didn’t ever think that I’d be asked to Blue, but… well, here we are.
STEVE G. (JOINED AUG 2019)
Gosh, can it really be nearly thirty years since I first took the train from Leeds up to Edinburgh for the 1992 Beltane? That year, though, and the two years after it, we didn’t really know anything about the actual event, barring the occasional glimpse of a procession or the sound of drums in the distance. I moved back to Edinburgh in autumn 1994 and saw in the next three Beltanes with folk who knew a bit more about it – but I still didn’t realise just anyone could join.
That was before Samhuinn 1997, which I went to watch with my family – who pushed me forward from the crowd when the throne that one of the kings was about to be carried down the Mile on turned out to be too heavy. Well, I still didn’t know what the heck was going on, but I’d a far better view than I usually got. When it all ended, I asked one of the folk who seemed to be in charge if just anyone could take part, and got told about the open meeting that would be happening some time in spring for next year’s Beltane.
That spring, I signed up for Torchies and liked it so much I kept coming back. Until 2003 when for various reasons Beltane took place out of town the weekend after its usual date. There had been a club on the 30th, though, and after that closed some of us ended up on the Hill watching those who’d had the forethought to bring fire and drums with them.
After that, sixteen years of being a Torchie at Beltane, sometimes GOing, sometimes not, with Samhuinns split between torchbearing, stewarding or not being around.
That brings me to the summer of 2019, when I had a phone call from Blues. My first reaction was “OMG! What’ve I gone and done….” I was totally gobsmacked to discover it was an invitation to join them. Imposter syndrome cut in immediately, of course, as I’d never ever considered such a thing was possible, but I decided that if they thought I could do it, then how could I not at least try?
I’m really glad I did – Samhuinn 2019 was (barring the weather, which could’ve been worse, tbh) an absolute blast! Then there was the brief period of looking forward to Beltane 2020, before the whole world changed under us. The three digital festivals were fun, not to mention educational, in all sorts of unexpected ways, but it was glorious to be back to the real world for Samhuinn 2021. And now I really can’t wait for a Beltane on the Hill!