I first heard about this festival a year or so ago when a programme came my way by chance but too late. I was sorry to have missed it. It looked like good fun in a great cause.
This year I am going – to give the ‘keynote address’ at the Launch Event. (I wish they had called it the Opening Ceremony – that has become such a good phrase this last week.) The next day I will chair the first of 24 Conversations: ‘Forgiveness: Optional or Mandatory?’
The Conversations are the backbone of the festival. The subjects range from conflict to finance, from women in leadership to contemporary masculinity, from Scottish identity to Afghanistan and Syria, from Islamophobia to the spirituality of death. Charles Handy is leading one on entitled ‘Alone, Together’.
Alongside the conversations are all sorts of arts events and participatory activities. The music programme is stunning and there is plenty of space for poetry too. I wish I could get along to ‘The Craic Where The Light gets In’ with Richard Merrington and Elspeth Murray, just because I like the title so much. There are also a couple of mouth-watering cake-based sessions. In fact, there is really enticing programme for children and families.
FoSP kicked off yesterday evening and if the tweets are anything to go by the group Soweto Entsha, who performed at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in 2010, are on cracking form. They seem to be on just about every day. Here is a video made for their recent tour of France http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CCTvar45LE
They are performing at the Launch Event, So too is a group called ‘Devi Satari Tribal Fusion Belly Dance’ as well as the choir of St John’s Church. I was told that it will be a bit like Evensong. Maybe it will also be a bit unlike Evensong. My input follows on from Daniel Carner whose act is called ‘Jewish Chronicles’. I will think of that as the first lesson and the belly dancing as the anthem.
The launch event is tomorrow, Sunday 5th August, St John’s Church, Princess Street, Edinburgh 6.00pm. Free.
The forgiveness conversation is on Monday 6th at 6.00pm at the same place.