Beltane Fire Festival

A modern interpretation of the ancient fertility festival of Beltane in the spectacular setting of Calton Hill. Beltane Fire Society performs the story of the death of winter and the birth of summer via dance, drumming, debauched acrobatics, giant-puppetry and fire.

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Beltane Fire Festival

Photo: MacDor Photography

Performance times

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5AB

Wed 30 Apr

£7; £10 after 24 April (Children under 12 free)

Gates open at 8pm Part of TradFest.

Reviews & features

The ancient tradition behind the Beltane Fire Festival

24 Apr 2012

The annual ceremony takes place on Edinburgh's Calton Hill

Fire, processions and rituals – all sounds a bit Wicker Man, right? Beltane Fire Festival, however, is not remotely cult-related and Christopher Lee (nor Nicolas Cage, ahem) will not be anywhere in sight at this annual celebration of changing seasons…

Edinburgh's Beltane Fire Festival marks 25th anniversary

5 Apr 2012

Carnival of fire and light with roots in mythology

2012 marks the 25th anniversary of Edinburgh’s Beltane festival. Over 12,000 revellers are expected to attend the event on Calton Hill as the Beltane Fire Society marks the passage from Spring into Summer. This Carnival of Fire and Light takes place on…

Comments & ratings

1. Jon1978Shery1 May 2011, 7:00pm Report

It is a nice idea and I like the pagan atmosphere, but the whole event is realized pretty poorly and definitely does not deserve to be paid so much.

I expected something definitely more organized than the parade they do on the Halloween night on the Royal Mile, instead it was just more messy and overcrowded and the whole choreography was making much less sense.

There was no clear structure, nor any artistic performance beside some standard drumming, masquerade group dancing, very little fire juggling, and absolutely no "plot" behind it.

I mean, they could have worked much more on theatrical aspect of it, build up some narrative, play with new medias, e.g., projections, background music (beside the drumming), engage more the crowd...none of this was done, just an overpopulated poorly lighted space, with painted people dancing randomly around you.

Then, the "after party"...asking at the Hub (where i bought the festival tickets), nobody really knew how to get these other after-party tickets, I have intensively surfed the entire web-sphere but there was no way to get it. I went at the Caves, before 1am (around 00.30) and the bouncer told me that they (the Beltane Organizers) would have sold other tickets for it, but i should have come around 1am. I did so, and the same bouncer now told me that there were no more tickets. Are we jocking, or what? Just state clearly that this after party is mainly for the people involved in the organization (and possibly their friends), and don't cheat blatantly about it just to get more interest around the whole event.

Be honest with what you give...at the end, it is surely a brilliant idea to celebrate rites of nature and I loved that, but please...either ask less money for it or at least try to organize it better...

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