Beltane Fire Festival

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Description Beltane Fire Festival is an annual participatory arts event and ritual drama, held on 30 April on Calton Hill in Edinburgh.Historical backgroundThe 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. Since then the festival has grown, and as of 2006 involved over 300 voluntary collaborators and performers with the 11,500 available tickets 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.Modern festivalThe current Beltane was started in 1988 by a small group of enthusiasts including Angus Farquhar of the musical collective Test Dept., choreographer Lindsay John, and dancers from Laban, as well as academics from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. The event was intended as a celebration of traditional rituals as a local manifestation of an international spirit. Originally intended to take place on Arthur's Seat, the home of earlier Edinburgh Beltane celebrations, for practical reasons the location was moved to Calton Hill. Choreography, iconography and performance were moulded by the originators' research into historical accounts of Beltane and their own influences (e.g. Test Department's drumming, Trinidadian carnival, and ritual dance and performance).
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