‘Beyond our wildest dreams!’ Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Last updated: Sep 28th, 2023

The phenomenal Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir recently travelled to the iconic Edinburgh Fringe and their tour was, quite simply, beyond top tier!

And after the dust had settled, we had the chance to chat with Choir Founder Ruth Bowe to talk about the WCGC’s tour as a whole and why going with Rayburn meant they could fully focus on and embrace festival fever.

This is what she said!


‘We had 80 people performing between the ages of 20 and 82, and I can say that every single person felt they got the most out of their experience – the memories will last a lifetime!’

Ruth Bowe, Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir


Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir outside of Canongate Kirk, pointing towards their promotional banner during the Fringe Festival


But first, who are the Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir?

If you haven’t seen or heard the WCGC yet (we recommend seeing and hearing them at the same time!) you’re in for a life-changing experience! Packed with fun, energy, soul, talent and an undeniable pull to get you up on your feet singing and dancing they are, quite simply, a brilliant community choir.

But how did it all start and who are they?

As Ruth told us, they’ve been going for 11 years and have performed extensively around Northamptonshire. They are inclusive, varied, engaging, positive, upbeat and include over 100 members from all walks and ages of life – you don’t need to have sung before, you just need to be willing to sing!

And one of our favourite traits about the choir is they perform magic in music form too, with soloists backed by the main body of the choir whilst the choristers click, clap, sway or all of the above – giving you a real visual and audio treat!

Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir performing at The Mound in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival


WCGC’s first EVER tour to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

For a first tour, WCGC certainly picked an absolute standout and buzzing space in the largest performance arts festival in the world!

The Scottish capital is utterly alive during the month of August and there’ll be quite a few Fringe goers who will remember their experience even more fondly because they witnessed the incredible Wellingborough Choir!


‘One of my friends had gone with her choir to Edinburgh with Rayburn Tours and she told me it was the most magical experience!’

Ruth Bowe, Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir



They packed out performance venues across the city and really left their mark on a stunned Edinburgh. And it all started with a good old chinwag with our super Tour Consultant, Leigh Rafferty!

Hailing from Scotland herself (she’s proudly Glaswegian), Leigh is Rayburn’s Scottish hit you never knew you needed more of!

Incredibly passionate about all things Fringe, concert and getting the perfect tour set up for you and your ensemble, she’s got an unbelievable wealth of experience knowing what makes your music tour the absolute best it can be!

Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir performing inside Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival


Fantastic Venues, Standout Performances & Knock-out Memories!

Let’s talk performance venues and Wellingborough’s unforgettable moments singing it loud and proud because they certainly delivered on every last note!

Just imagine the nervous energy before a performance and only expecting a smaller audience of 30 or so close family and friends, to then be told 5 minutes before you perform that the place is packed out with 400 people! That’s exactly what happened with the WGC.


‘I cried – and I think a few others did as well. That was just a moment none of us will ever forget.’

Ruth Bowe, Wellingborough Gospel Choir



Greyfriars Kirk had a HUGE queue around the church and were completely sold out! But it didn’t end there for the singers from Northamptonshire as they performed at The Mound and Canongate Kirk too!

Trust that in the future, each performance will be a source of energy and feel-good vibes for the choir and all of the audience lucky enough to be there!

The Mound – ‘People kept coming and coming. It was incredible!’

What’s special about the Mound is that it’s outside and considered a prestigious festival slot, with WCGC having to arrange that performance with the Fringe committee themselves!

And if there had been a roof, it would have been well and truly blown off during the choirs outstanding performance. Full of energy, electricity, positivity, and most importantly, people singing and dancing and packing out the square, it was a performance to last a lifetime!

The sun was out, there were blue skies, and the sound of a joyous Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir lifted every single person who was fortunate enough to attend.

A happy parent and child getting involved with a performance from Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival

Canongate Kirk – ‘the last time that street was closed was for Queen Elizabeth!’

Audience enjoying a performance from Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival

Get ready for something extra special and truly brilliant with WCGC’s Canongate Kirk performance. Just typing this gives me goosebumps at the thought of what happened on an incredibly standout moment – not just for WCGC or the audience – but for Edinburgh too!

Canongate was chosen by the choir for its great acoustics, and it definitely delivers in that regard. It’s full of colour, it’s vibrant and essential to this anecdote – it has an outside speaker system!

So whilst Wellingborough brought their enviable charm and music to the historic church, their singing was broadcast through those speakers into the street outside and because there were soooo many festival goers singing and dancing to them – the street had to be temporarily shut down!

Simply unforgettable.

Tour Manager Arianna with Ruth of Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir


Coach drivers, accommodation, free time & an unbeatable Tour Manager!

Performances are often the STANDOUT moments for most tours, but there’s so much more that makes a trip go from good to absolutely brilliant!

With the WCGC there were an abundance of ticks in their logistical planning. Coach drivers who did everything in their power to help and were ‘Like two great friends’; to ‘absolutely great accommodation’; to free time where ‘the choir just soaked up the atmosphere’ – the foundation blocks to a successful tour were all in place and neatly aligned.


‘Leigh and Arianna came to visit us in October to get a feel of the choir, so we already had that personal contact. Arianna understood us and she felt like part of the team. It was really lovely to have her!’

Ruth Bowe, Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir



And then we get to the brilliant relationship WGC had with their Tour Manager, Arianna Laing, who was there to make sure the choir’s Fringe experience went super smoothly!

What made Arianna’s presence even more valued was that she planned the itinerary too – so she’d built a trust with Ruth and the choir so they felt completely at ease.


Brought up on all things Edinburgh and Fringe Festival, Arianna’s family hails from the Scottish capital and she knows both like the back of her hand!

Our super Concert Tour Coordinator, Tour Manager and now Marketing Executive – we often ask ourselves is there anything she can’t do? (Answer? We don’t think there is!).

You can see Arianna & Ruth after THAT Canongate performance in the image above too!

Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir perform to a packed out Greyfriars Kirk at the Edinburgh Fringe


And there’s even more to Wellingborough’s Fringe Adventure!

Yes, there’s even more depth and flavour to the choir’s time in Edinburgh. When Ruth was asked about some of the best moments across the tour from her perspective, her brilliant flashbacks said it all:

✔ a full house at Greyfriars
✔ a standing ovation half-way through their set!
✔ the reaction of the audience – people laughing and singing and dancing!
✔ the camaraderie the choir had together as they made new, real friends with unforgettable memories!

Describing the tour in a nutshell as ‘Beyond our wildest dreams’, it was clear to see that Ruth and the Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir absolutely embraced and enjoyed every single second of their Edinburgh Fringe Festival experience.


‘What a lot of people really enjoyed was getting to know everyone and making new friends with people they’ve probably known for 10 years – now they’re real friends with unforgettable memories.’

Ruth Bowe, Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir



Get ready to create lifetime memories at the Edinburgh Fringe…

You won’t be surprised to know that Ruth and WCGC are looking to go back to the largest performance arts festival in the world in 2025 too! And as we witnessed pretty much all of their experience – we’re not surprised either.

We thrived on every single moment of planning their itinerary from top to bottom to help Wellingborough fully soak in every last drop of their sensational festival experience.

And if you and your music group are looking for a good old chinwag about all things Edinburgh Fringe Festival, then we can’t wait to start talking and getting the ball rolling.


 ‘Every single person felt they got the most out of their experience – the memories will last a lifetime!’

Ruth Bowe, Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir


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