In an ancient ceremonial bora ring on remote Cape York, the dust is rising as feet pound the earth in what must be one of Australia’s most colourful festivals. And the beauty of it – apart from being witness to a cultural spectacle that I’ve never seen before – is that it is still relatively undiscovered.
About 5000 people camped at the site of the biennial Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival this year (there’s nowhere else much to stay), but still the festival had an intimate feel. I felt really privileged to be there, watching 17 diverse indigenous communities come together to share their song, dance, language and stories.
It was also clear that what we were seeing was a passing of traditions; the youngest of the 500 or so performers were about four years old, the oldest may not even know when they were born. But throughout the generations the pride in their culture was evident.
This week is NAIDOC Week in Australia. NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee, and the annual NAIDOC Week, in the first week of July, is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.
There’s no better week, I reckon, to share my images of the Laura Dance Festival. They say far more about it than I could in words.
The next Laura Dance Festival will be held in June 2015. Put it on your bucket list now.
A Glass Half Full travelled to Laura as a guest of Tourism & Events Queensland.