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Everything You Need To Know About The Beltane Fire Festival 2024

Everything You Need To Know About The Beltane Fire Festival 2024

The Beltane Fire Festival is where ancient traditions meet modern celebrations in a fiery spectacle like no other.

As we gear up for the Beltane Fire Festival 2024, set for the 30th of April, we've got everything you need to know to enjoy this annual event steeped in history and tradition, which promises an unforgettable experience for everyone who attends.

The History of the Beltane Fire Festival

The origins of Beltane trace back centuries, rooted in the ancient Celtic festival marking the beginning of summer.

Held on the eve of May Day, Beltane was a time of transition, heralding the end of the dark winter months and welcoming the warmth and fertility of spring. The festival was celebrated with bonfires, feasting, and rituals to honour nature's cycles and encourage growth and abundance.

Over time, Beltane evolved into a vibrant and colourful celebration, with each community adding its own unique customs and traditions. In Scotland, the Beltane Fire Festival has become a modern interpretation of this ancient rite, blending elements of folklore, mythology, and performance art.

Today, the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh continues to honour the spirit of its Celtic roots while embracing contemporary creativity and expression. It serves as a reminder of our connection to the natural world and the importance of community, culture, and celebration.

What To Expect

One of the biggest highlights of the festival are the ancient rituals and traditions that honour the cycles of nature and the changing seasons. The key fire rituals and traditions that you can expect to see are:

The Lighting of the Sacred Fire
As darkness falls, witness the ceremonial lighting of the sacred fire, symbolising the return of light and warmth after the long winter months.

The May Queen's Procession
Watch as The May Queen, a symbol of fertility and abundance, leads a procession through the festival, accompanied by her group of dancers and musicians. Feel the energy and vitality of spring come alive as she passes by.

The Death and Rebirth of The Green Man
Experience the ancient myth of The Green Man, a symbol of nature's cycles of death and rebirth. Through ritualistic performances and symbolic gestures, watch the eternal dance of life and death played out before your eyes.

Fire Blessings and Offerings
Participate in fire blessings and offerings as a way to honour the elements and connect with the natural world. Feel the power of the flames as you make your own offerings and intentions for the coming season.

Community Drum Circles
Join in community drum circles to celebrate the rhythm of life and the beat of the earth. Feel the rhythm of the drums and let the music carry you away as talented musicians and drummers provide the soundtrack to the festivities.

Costumed Characters
Meet a cast of curious and larger-than-life characters roaming the festival grounds. From witches and wizards to mythical creatures and spirits of the forest, every corner holds a new surprise.

As you can see, there's lots to see and do at the festival.

As well as the entertainment, food and drink will be sold by local businesses meaning you won't be going hungry or thirsty. The organisers have also confirmed that there will be vegan options available.

Tickets & Getting There

Venue & Timings
The festival will be held at Calton Hill, St. Andrews House, 2 Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG Scotland. 

The festivities will kick off at 8pm and run until 1am.

Limited parking may be available near Calton Hill, but spaces fill up quickly, especially on event days so plan to arrive early or park outside the city/further away from the event and using public transport to avoid traffic congestion and parking headaches.

Calton Hill is easily accessible by public transportation, with nearby bus stops and tram stations providing convenient access to the venue.

Secure your spot at the Beltane Fire Festival by purchasing tickets in advance from Citizen Ticket. Standard tickets are priced at £14 each, with discounted rates for children under 16 at £8.

Accessibility & Facilities
The festival organisers strive to ensure that the event is accessible to all attendees, including those with mobility issues or disabilities. For details of special access arrangements (including free carer/companion tickets and booking prearranged vehicle/taxi drop off to the top of the hill) please contact

There's no seating provided by the organisers but visitors are welcome to bring camping chairs and picnic blankets. However there are some areas which chairs/picnic blankets won't be allowed so make sure you listen to the stewards to ensure you're not in the way.

As mentioned above, food and drink will be available at the event, and with that goes the need for toilets. There will be portaloos and urinals at the event in a number of locations.

Insider Tips

Make the most of your experience at the Beltane Fire Festival with these insider tips:

  • Arrive Early: Beat the crowds and secure a prime viewing spot by arriving early at the festival grounds. Gates typically open well before the main festivities begin, allowing you to explore the venue and soak up the atmosphere before the excitement kicks off.

  • Dress for the Occasion: Embrace the spirit of the festival by dressing up in elaborate costumes inspired by the themes of fire, nature, and ancient mythology. Don't forget to layer up to stay warm during the evening as temperatures can drop after dark.

  • Respect the Environment: Help preserve the natural beauty of the festival venue by disposing of litter responsibly and respecting the local environment. If you brought it with you, take it home.

  • Beware of the Terrain: Calton HIll is a craggy volcanic hill. It can be slippery when it's been raining and the ground is uneven so make sure you wear sensible shoes and watch where you're putting your feet.

  • Protect Little Ears: The festival can be very loud so it's a good idea to bring hearing protection for little ones, and even for yourself.
  • Consider Little Eyes: While we're talking children, the event does include semi-nudity and uninhibited behaviour. It also includes strange body painted characters and fire so it may not be suitable for every little person in your life.

Getting Involved

The Beltane Fire Festival isn't a charity event, as such, it relies on generous donations and volunteers to make it happen. Here's how you can get involved and help make the festival a fantastic night:

  • Become a Beltane Steward: Joining the ranks of the Beltane Stewards is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the festival's community and play an active role in its success. Stewards help with various aspects of event organisation and management, ensuring that everything runs smoothly on the night. To express your interest in becoming a steward, simply send a message to and be part of the magic behind the scenes.

  • Support the Beltane Fire Society: As a registered charity, the Beltane Fire Society relies on the support of its community to continue organising and hosting events like the Beltane Fire Festival. By purchasing tickets to the festival you're helping, but any additional donations you can afford above the ticket price are warmly welcomed by the Beltane Fire Society.

By actively engaging with the Beltane Fire Society and embracing the spirit of community involvement, you can play a vital role in preserving and perpetuating the traditions of the festival for years to come.

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