City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Beltane Fire Festival


By edg - Posted on 18 April 2016

Beltane Fire Festival procession
Event details
Time: 
Sunday, April 30, 2017 - 8:00pm - Monday, May 1, 2017 - 1:30am
Venue: 
Calton Hill

On the last night of April and first day of May up to 12,000 people take to Calton Hill for a ritualised and theatrical pantheistic celebration to mark the arrival of Summer.

Gates open at 8pm.
Performance begins around sundown. Entrance to Calton Hill is by Waterloo place.

This revival of the ancient Celtic fertility festival of Beltane started as a free event in 1988 and continues to be very popular, in spite of increasing crowd-control measures and a rising ticket price.

Traditionally, Beltane was the start of the pastoral summer where animals were taken from their winter shelter to the fields. In Edinburgh's revivalist celebration, three hundred or so voluntary performers from the Beltane Fire Society celebrate the ending of the dreich Scottish winter and the (hoped-for) season of warmth and new growth with drumming, fire performance, revelry, and a ritualised procession around the hill.

The fire festival, which features a May Queen, a Green Man, Red Men, and Beastie Drummers, includes some nudity and "uninhibited behaviour."

Beltane Tickets (2017)

This is a popular event - organisers recommend buying tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

Beltane tickets can be bought online at Tickets Scotland.
£8 (plus booking fee) until 30th April
£10 (no booking fee) on the gate

Entrance to Calton Hill by Waterloo Place. Gates open at 8pm. Show starts at sundown.