Beltane Fire Festival move celebrations online due to coronavirus

The world-famous Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh will move online for the first time amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 5:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 5:29 pm

Up to 8000 revellers had been expected to gather on top of Calton Hill for the annual celebration of the arrival of summer in the city at the end of this month - but the event was called off on 17 March in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Now, Beltane Fire Society have announced that an ambitious new project, titled Beltane Online Fire Festival (BOnFire), will take the place of this year's cancelled event.

The new event takes place on Beltane night, Thursday 30 April, and will be broadcast across all of Beltane Fire Society's digital platforms at the same time from 7pm–10.30pm.

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The Beltane Fire Festival is moving online in a new format.

Content that highlights themes from the Celtic holiday will be available to view on Beltane Fire Society's website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and SoundCloud pages.

The volunteers who would ordinarily throw Edinburgh’s world-famous fire festival have been invited to submit ideas that can tell the Beltane story online through video, art, photography, poetry, and song. These pieces of artwork will be shared as part of a series of chapters, which each evoke a certain point in the festival’s traditional journey around Calton Hill.

Brad Mcarthur, chair of Beltane Fire Society’s board, said: “Although it was a disappointing decision to cancel our physical Beltane Fire Festival due to the current pandemic affecting the world, it is thanks to the resilience shown by our volunteer community in wishing to still mark the changing of the seasons that we are taking this new approach to celebrating Beltane.

"We hope this approach brings our creativity and joy to people's homes all around the world who still wish to celebrate Beltane. Although it is not our traditional format, we feel people will still be able to get that traditional Beltane Fire Festival feeling from what we have planned for the day.”

Online attendees do not need a ticket to take part in the festival, however they do have the option to purchase a “pay what you can” ticket as a donation to the festival. Donations can be made on Citizen Ticket's website, where a suggested gift of £5.50 has been set, but the price can be amended to what participants feel they can afford.

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