Just Festival... Not quite finished
Those of us who live permanently in Edinburgh will be looking forward to getting our city back in the near future... though the friendly festival invasion undoubtedly brings life, colour, enjoyment, variety and friendship to the streets - and we very much hope that spirit is here to stay, both in the Athens of the North (as we like to style ourselves) and in the hearts and lives of all who have taken part.
For Ekklesia, it is our third year as co-sponsors of what is now Just Festival, and which for the previous twelve years has been known as the Festival of Spirituality and Peace.
Tonight we celebrate what has been another extraordinary and record-breaking set of events, conversations and performances with a 'wrap event' at St John's Church at 8pm.
Scots pipers will welcome us in and see us out. There will be a swansong or two for Just from the amazing Africa Entsha - of course - along with dance from Ragmala, Polish music, a cameo from Creepie Stool (the play about the historic roots of sectarianism), a reflection from Rabbi Rosen, the Just Festival volunteers bursting into song, and more...
We also look forward to hearing from festival director Katherine Newbigging and chair of the hard-working board, Raymond Baudon. There will be refreshments in the church hall afterwards.
But don't get the idea that this is quite the end of Just for 2013!
We still have a full day left, Monday 26th August. That will be your last chance to see the moving Tejas Verdes (the human dimension of the Chilean coup in 1973 - the 'other 9/11'), to reflect on Living Our Values, to meet Young Peacemakers, to hear the Canto del Paradiso, to be moved by Sacred Earth (an amazing Indian tableau of arts), to hear Africa Entsha, to see Creepie Stool again... and last but not least to answer the question (in a multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-belief society), "More Tea Imam?"
Also, of course, you can have a final peak at the remarkable ,em>In Sight of Peace photo-exhibition: Ian Berry of Magnum offers a unique view of South Africa, past and present, in its quest to leave apartheid behind - without forgetting the torment, and while learning the lessons. The spirit of Tutu and Mandela journeys on.
Meantime, Just Together, the official closing event - tonight, 8pm, St John's Church Edinburgh (corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road, venue 127).
It's free, but donations to our charities, Mary's Meals and Waverley Care, and to the ongoing work of Just, will be welcome.
Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church, Edinburgh, and some 27 other occasional 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.
* 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 Just Festival. He is a theologian, writer and consultant.
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