The modern Beltane Fire Festival is inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane which began on the evening before 1 May and marked the beginning of summer. The modern festival was started in 1988 by a small group of enthusiasts including the musical collective Test Dept, with academic support from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

DSC_0364 Beltane Fire Festival 2009 - Calton Hill, Edinburgh - Flaming Gate

DSC_0439 Beltane Fire Festival 2009 - Calton Hill, Edinburgh - Half Naked Red Men

Special symbols set afire

ring of fire


Edinburgh - Beltane Fire Festival


DSC_0529 Beltane Fire Festival 2009 - Calton Hill, Edinburgh - May Queen Portrait

DSC_0367 Beltane Fire Festival 2009 - Calton Hill, Edinburgh - White Women

Fire! Drums! Acrobatics! Fire! Storytelling! Torchlit Procession! Fire! Music! Dance! MORE FIRE!

Since then the festival has grown, and now involves over 300 voluntary collaborators and performers with the available tickets often selling out. While the festival draws on a variety of historical, mythological and literary influences, the organisers do not claim it to be anything other than a modern celebration of Beltane, evolving with its participants.

Join the May Queen, Green Man and a cast of colourful costumed and painted characters as they welcome Summer with an exciting modern take on Celtic traditions in this unique investigative theatre experience created by hundreds of volunteers in Edinburgh.

Map and running order:

inlingua Edinburgh - Beltane Fire Fesitval 2015 - map and running order

Thursday 30th April 2015 at 8pm (4hrs) – Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
The entrance is £10.50 on the door.
Tickets and details: The Hub 0131 473 2000