Just starting

By Simon Barrow
August 4, 2013

St John's Church in Edinburgh was packed last night (3 August 2013) for 'Just Starting', the opening event for Just Festival 2013, which attracted several hundred people.

Just director Katherine Newbigging and chair of board Raymond Baudon introduced and narrated the evening, with Raymond officially declaring the Festival, which has already been running for two full days, well-and-truly open.

There was inspiring music from award-winning a capella outfit Africa Entsha, North East Japan Spirit, Sing Caledonia (the play challenging sectarianism), Kantara and the Voice of Hope Choir (introduced by Karen Docwra).

Messages were delivered or read out from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (highlighting Soweto Melodic Voices particularly), James Temple-Smithson from the European Parliament, Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh John Armes, and Scotland's Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Roseanna Cunningham.

A dramatic contribution came from Tejas Verdes, marking the 40th anniversary in September of the bloody 1973 coup in Chile.

The community angle was represented both by the huge range of civic dignitaries present for the occasion, and also by Sikh Sanjog, who will be providing culinary classes during Just.

The Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church (Princes Street and Lothian Road) and some 27 other venues, and combines artistic and performance style events with conversations, talks, films exhibits and other ways of exploring how to live together creatively in a mixed-belief society.

* For more information on Just Festival, visit http://www.justjust.org and http://justfestivalnews.blogspot.com

* Ekklesia is a sponsor of Just Festival. Our news, reporting and comment is aggregated at: www.ekklesia.co.uk/justfestival


© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia and a media adviser for the 2013 Just Festival.

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