19th June 2015

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival

Where: 15km South of Laura, at the Ang-Gnarra Festival Grounds, Cape York. Laura is 330 km north of Cairns.

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is the celebration of Aboriginal culture in Cape York. The Festival is a biennial event celebrating & showcasing the culture of the Aboriginal people of Cape York Peninsula through song, dance ceremony and performance.

The performance and practice of Aboriginal dance & culture at the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is a very important element in the preservation & continuance of the unique culture of the region.

The Dance Festival Ground at Laura is the site of a very old traditional Bora ground and is a respected and sacred site to Aboriginal people. It is nestled amongst some of the oldest and most spectator rock art in the world. Recently the rock art of the area was awarded Queensland Icon status by the National Trust in recognition of its significance to the environmental and cultural landscape.

Known as a meeting ground for the communities of Cape York, the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is highly regarded by many Aboriginal people as a place where families meet new and old family members, make new acquaintances and exchange and pass on family histories.

In addition, many descendants of Aboriginal people whose people were removed from the area return every festival to learn of their culture and of their ancestry. Consequently the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is seen as a very important event in cultural retention.

The Festival enables the wider community to witness and gain insight into the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture. Festival spectators witness the story telling of Aboriginal culture through dance, language and art.

History of the Festival
The Cape York Dance Festival as it was known in the early 1980s was a festival of dance and culture to be rotated every two years within the communities of Cape York. The first two Dance Festivals were held at Cooktown and Hopevale. For the last 25 years, the Dance Festival has been staged at Laura, and has come to be known nationally and internationally as the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival.

The 2007 Festival was highly significant, as the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival marked its 30th anniversary in Cape York.  The Festival is widely believed to be the longest continual running Aboriginal cultural festival in Australia.

The Festival has an international audience as witnessed by the large number of European websites pertaining to Aboriginal cultural content and the number of tourists who attended in 2009 from overseas.

General information about the Festival
Gates open officially to the public from 8am Friday. The gates will be closed at 8pm each night. Limited access will be available after hours and will be considered on a case by case basis. Performers are encouraged to arrive Thursday morning. Stall holders are encouraged to arrive Thursday afternoon.

No public access will be permitted prior to 4pm on Thursday. Any campers on the site before the official opening to the public on Thursday 4pm will be asked to leave and re-enter with their tickets at 4pm on Thursday.

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival is a drug and alcohol free family-friendly event. There will be random car searches and security on site at all times. We encourage healthy eating options, no smoking and environmental awareness.

Further information will be posted leading up to the Festival.

The LADF sees  a new team consisting of Traditional owners and hosts of Laura managing and coordinating the process biannually.

2013 Coordinators: Uncle Terry O’Shane/Marilyn Miller
2013 Artistic Director: Raymond D. Blanco
2013 Site Manager: Chris Axelsen

Please make contact with us to talk about any aspect of the Festival that is of interest to you: Email:  coord.ladf@gmail.com or call the Cairns office: (07) 4041 2107

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *