Yoko Ono has opened the Manchester International Festival by leading members of the public in ringing bells for world peace.
Festival organisers said thousands of people gathered in the city’s Cathedral Gardens to hear an address by the artist and peace activist, waving bells and singing on Thursday evening.
The 86-year-old, who lives in New York, appeared in a pre-recorded film played on a big screen and said: “Together we will change the whole vibration of the planet just with the sound of these bells. Now hold up your bells and ring for peace.”
People held up their hands and shook their bells as words appeared on the screen encouraging them to: “Think peace, act peace, spread peace, imagine peace.”
Before the opening, special workshops were held across Manchester to give people the chance to design and create their own handcrafted ceramic bells to take along on the day.
It forms part of Ono’s Bells For Peace project for the festival, the first major work the widow of Beatle John Lennon has created for the area.
The festival runs from July 4-21, with artists from across the globe premiering new work in spaces across the city.