Songlines – Edinburgh International Festival

With Edinburgh International Festival in full swing, and Deep Time etched into our minds, it’s time to look forward to the next big event.

Edinburgh International Festival – Songlines

Songlines is a city-wide event taking place on Sunday 21st August, everyone is inviting to take part in a unique celebration of singing. It is inspired by the indigenous Australian ancestral tradition of passing on ancient sacred stories as large song cycles that preserve the living link between land and people.

Singing connects peoples across the globe and there is no human culture, no matter how remote or isolated, that does not sing to celebrate or express what it is to be alive. The human voice seeks expression and whether it be on a rowdy football terrace, in a serene concert hall or simply warbling in the shower, singing has guided, soothed and filled our lives for centuries.

A City-wide Event

Throughout the day and across the city opportunities to participate in singing and listening will be available in unexpected venues, spaces and places. So come along and join in!

Songlines, a free participatory event celebrating the joy of singing. Songlines follows the success of the 2015 International Festival community event for brass bands, Fanfare

Featuring choirs including…

Songworks, Rudsambee, Edinburgh Police Choir, Edinburgh City Singers, Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus, Love Music Community Choir, Vocal Edge Choir, North Berwick Sings, Dunbar Sings, Loud & Proud and Consort of Voices.

In Locations Across Edinburgh

The  city-wide event is inviting communities across Edinburgh and the Lothians to take part in a unique celebration of singing. From 2pm to 4pm, 12 choirs – featuring both trained and community voices – perform in 9 venues across Edinburgh and its surrounds, stretching from Dalmeny across to Haddington. Venues include gardens, churches, museums and castles, with 9 soloists and 8 pianists also joining choirs at some locations, with renowned Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill confirmed to perform as one of the soloists.

Songlines is lead by performances from the choirs, with song-sheets also available so audiences can join in with some of the pieces. The end of the second session at 4.50pm offers a moment for the choirs and audiences across all respective locations to join together to sing the Scots-Irish traditional Wild Mountain Thyme, making for a city-wide singalong of this much-loved ballad. The full repertoire of songs ranges from classical to rock, featuring works including Strauss’ Morgen and Elbow’s modern torch-song One day like this, alongside folk and Scots traditional songs.

This is the second year that the International Festival includes performances from local community groups. In 2015 the community brass band project Fanfare drew an audience of 6000 to locations along the Water of Leith in a celebration of popular music and amateur performance.

Events like these enable the International Festival to move beyond its city centre home into areas and communities across and around Edinburgh. The International Festival’s community engagement and creative learning programmes operate both during August and around the year, building audiences and partnerships for the future and expanding its reach into local communities.

Edinburgh International Festival runs to 29th August, for more information please visit



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