Thousands flock to Edinburgh pagan ritual

ORGANISERS of the Beltane Fire Festival have declared the 21st anniversary event a success despite torrential rain.

The producer of the outdoor pagan festival said the children's event Family Beltane in particular had been well received in its inaugural year.

More than 8000 people attended the Calton Hill festival, which has become known for its semi-clad dancers, druid spirit guides and massive fire sculptures.

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Children enjoyed face-painting, storytelling and performances at Family Beltane, set up to give youngsters a less racy flavour of the main event.

Festival producer Pete Renwick said: "The rain made things a little tricky but we were amazed that people stayed on the hill given the conditions.

"The family event in particular was a great success. Between 200-300 people were there, which was good because it was something of an experiment this year. We will be looking at taking it further next year."

He added that 40,000 man hours had gone into preparation for the annual event, which saw 300 performers take to the hill.

Police said one arrest had been made for antisocial behaviour. A police spokesman said: "They were a very well behaved bunch."

Organisers said the Red Cross dealt with around ten minor incidents on the hill, mainly involving people who had drunk too much.