The Just Festival has launched its ambitious 2013 programme in Edinburgh, with a challenge to build bridges and break down barriers between communities, globally and locally.
The festival, which will run from 2 - 26 August this year, will feature some 129 events in 450 performances across 28 venues, and will attract tens of thousands of visitors and participants.
It is reckoned to be the largest intercultural event of its kind in Britain, with backing from civic, religious, secular, educational and charitable partners.
It is supported and sponsored by the Scottish Government, St John's Church Edinburgh, the European Parliament, the University of Edinburgh, the Scottish Episcopal Church, Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together, Edinburgh Inter Faith Association, and the beliefs and values think-tank Ekklesia.
Previously known as the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, the Just Festival will involve a rich mix of cultural events and performances, conversations and dialogue on social and political issues and advocacy for peacemaking
Faith Today, Ethics Over Profit, Scottish Independence Referendum, Changing World, and Behind Closed Doors are the five intertwining strands of this year's festival.
In each area there is an issue about the practical meaning of peace and justice for communities, cultures and governments.
'We're not saying peacemaking is an easy process. Indeed, many of our events this year are about facing the reality of violence. But to make peace, it is important to know where you are starting," explained Just Festival director Katherine Newbigging.
African, Asian and Middle Eastern music swirled around St John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh as the Just Festival and concept was introduced.
Mary's Meals and Waverley Care are the nominated charities for the 2013 Just Festival, receiving a proportion of all proceeds.
Their presentations reflected the connections between local and global community concern at the heart of the whole enterprise.
The evening ended with a shared blessing involving both faith and non-faith representatives before a civic reception.
People were invited to face inwards, to face each other and to face outwards as they welcomed Just Festival into existence.
A new website and social media for Just Festival will be available from tomorrow (19 June 2013).
* There is a visual summary of what's coming up at Just Festival on Vimeo here: http://vimeo.com/68659080
* Full booking and ticketing information here: http://www.hubtickets.co.uk/default.asp?cgCode=154&cgName=Just%20Festival
* More information will be available on the new Just Festival website (due to be relaunched on 19 June 2013): old site - http://www.festivalofspirituality.org.uk/ and new site - http://www.justjust.org/