Heart and Soul Festival 2016 lines up exciting mix of all-ages entertainment

Two stages of music and entertainment, 65 booths and just a few surprises promise to make for an exciting Heart and Soul Festival 2016.

Heart and Soul Swing band The Heart and Soul Swing band.

The event, held annually during the General Assembly, will be at the Ross Bandstand in Princes St Gardens, Edinburgh on Sunday 22 May. Gates open at 1 pm and the onstage entertainment starts at 2pm and closes with open air worship from 5 - 5:45 pm.

As well as an outstanding lineup of musical entertainment the festival will offer a chance to engage with 65 different exhibitors that include national and international faith groups, congregations and youth groups.

The event will also include an update on the Tomorrow's Calling campaign, launched at the festival last year –4:45 pm on the Main stage— and showcase the Church's new Take a Pew campaign.

Rev Dr Derek Browning

Rev Dr Derek Browning, Convener of the Assembly Arrangements Committee said:

"With the stunning setting of West Princes Street Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh, and with Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop, Heart and Soul 2016 is ready to open on Sunday 22nd May, from 1pm to 6pm. The theme this year is 'People of the Way'.

"We'll be joined, live, from church groups in Lochaber this year, and after the event we're hoping to make the Heart and Soul experience available to interested church groups across the country, using the 'People of the Way theme.

"There's plenty going on throughout the day, with 65 exhibitors, live music at the Ross bandstand, a resident artist at St Cuthbert's parish church, events for children, and a special venue for young people.

"As a shop window for the work and witness of the Church of Scotland, and churches across the world, Heart and Soul is unsurpassed."

Refreshments, music, entertainment

Attractions at the event include an inflatable igloo that will host a youth zone and a wee pilgrims' passport to keep children busy as they have fun.

In nearby St Cuthbert's Church you can watch General Assembly artist-in-residence Iain Campbell in action, find refreshments and enjoy music from the Aberdeen Quartet and Soul Space .

Heart and Soul Festival favourites, the Heart and Soul Swing band will perform at 4pm. Led by Rev Robin Hill of Longniddry Parish Church, the band features 16 musicians playing a lineup that ranges from gospel, spirituals and hymns, to original numbers.

Fischy Music is another popular returning act, which offers music that the whole family can enjoy. The African Children's Choir, made up of children who have lost one or both parents will also make an appearance at around 2:30pm. The choir is currently touring the UK to raise money for projects in Africa.

You can see the whole programme on the Heart and Soul festival website.