The right stuff: Just Festival
Niki Boyle finds the Just Festival hosting big names and tackling large themes
Despite recent findings that roughly half the population of Great Britain now describes itself as ‘not religious’, questions of faith – and how it intersects with science, society and the arts – are still very much a talking point. Digging deep into these issues is Just Festival (as in ‘morally right and fair’ not ‘oh, it’s just a festival’), a three-week programme of talks, events and conversations exploring headline-generating topics from around the world.
Among this year’s notable attendees is LGBT activist Peter Tatchell, who’ll deliver a talk on sex education in schools and join a panel discussing human rights and censorship. Author Sara Maitland will be part of a debate on elderly isolation, while renowned Romanian-German musician Michael Cretu will perform both as a soloist and with the Manchester International Roots Orchestra. Elsewhere in the programme, subjects such as feminism, fathers’ rights, FGM, climate change and the migration crisis are all up for examination, with input from artists, activists, politicians, and journalists.
The message at Just Festival’s core is that progress is made by engaging with a variety of viewpoints. It might not change your mind on religion – nor should it – but starting a discussion seems a fair enough place to begin.
Just Festival, St John’s Church and Quaker Meeting House, 5–28 Aug.