Pop-up choirs to play central role in Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh International Festival 2015 opens with The Harmonium Project, a free outdoor event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus

The Edinburgh International Festival 2015 opens with The Harmonium Project, a free outdoor event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus

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Pop-up choirs will take over churches, gardens, museums and castles for the biggest ever celebration of singing at the Edinburgh Festival this summer.

Classical, rock, indie and folk numbers will be performed at historic venues across Edinburgh and the Lothians during the middle Sunday of the 70th annual festival.

It is hoped more than 5000 people will take part in the “Songlines” event, the latest initiative aimed at taking the Edinburgh International Festival out of the city centre, which will see solo singers and pianists perform with specially-invited choirs.

The creation of the event for the 70th Festival has been inspired by the indigenous Australian tradition of passing on sacred stories as song cycles.

Venues lined up include the Royal Botanic Garden, Craigmillar Castle, Rosslyn Chapel and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Among those performing will be the Edinburgh City Singers, Rudsambee, the Calton Consort and the Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus.

The finale of Songlines is planned to see audiences unite to sing the traditional Scots-Irish ballad Wild Mountain Thyme.

Edinburgh International Festival director Fergus Linehan said: “The Edinburgh International Festival has been entertaining audiences in our city centre for many years, taking over Edinburgh’s established venues, but events like Songlines give us a great opportunity to reach communities which are further away and to share the festival experience with a wider audience.”