The Drums of Beltane


Beltane Fire Society

Beltane may be known as a fire festival, but it may as well be considered to be a drum festival too. Drums are the beating heart of Beltane that create the rhythm of the festival, drive the procession forward, and soundtrack the changing seasons. They have been an integral part of Beltane since our tradition was first re-imagined on Calton Hill in 1988. Founder, Angus Farquhar, was a member of pioneering industrial musical collective Test Dept, who, alongside the London School of Samba provided the drums in the very first year. (Read his memories from that year here) Some of the key pieces that you’ll hear at Beltane (such as Stage 5s) were developed by Test Dept and each year certain rhythms are passed down from one group to the next, while new ones are written as Beltane continues to evolve.

This year we are lucky to have three…

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