Established in 2003, The Denmark Festival of Voice is not your average music festival. Held in the beautiful south coastal town of Denmark, Western Australia, the festival is one of only two dedicated vocal festivals in Australia. The festival explores diversity, celebrating voices from near and far and those from the edge. Music is only one part of the program alongside storytelling, spoken word, poetry and experimental performance. So what ties this seemingly disparate program together? This carefully and lovingly curated festival seeks more than just high quality acts and beautiful singers from all walks of life. It seeks meaning, many meanings. From the ancient and the enduring, to the avant garde and the ‘as yet unknown’, universal and personal. This festival is about inspiration, designed to fill your creative cup with energy and ideas and the weekend offers an immersion experience of active engagement balanced with incredible audience experiences.
What originally started as a festival for community choirs, the Denmark Festival of Voice has grown into a high quality experience that has a strong focus on diversity, authenticity and originality. The festival is now under the cultural guidance of Noongar Elders and includes a Noongar Opening Ceremony on the Friday evening. The festival highlights the hidden voices surrounding us and is more than music, words, language and story and has been called by one guest "a finely woven fabric with the thread bringing it together being an abiding focus on the power and beauty of the human voice".
Noongar community partnership
Sandra Hill is a Noongar Artist who has kindly let us use her artwork for our 2021 festival. "Qaambarn danjoo nginnow" (accompany, to be together). "The Geckos move across the surface of the work, symbolising one of the most historical and significant events for Indigenous people, especially those who are a part of the Stolen Generation. Each Gecko is different and distinctive, they represent the diversity of my people and our culture but, as a people, we are one. On this day Australians, both black and white, gathered together in respect and harmony right across the country to hear Kevin Rudd, our Prime Minister, speak of the painful experiences that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have suffered in the recent past. This incredibly compassionate, and longe overdue gesture, will never ever be forgotten and I will value that moment all of my life. This was the day of the governments formal apology to my people."
"Qaambarn danjoo nginnow" (accompany, to be together)
59cm x 89cm Acrylic and Oil on Plywood Panel
The Denmark Festival of Voice is under the cultural guidance of Noongar Elders Eugene Eades and Eliza Woods. In 2019 the festival had our first Noongar directed Opening Ceremony which will a remain a feature of this year's and future festivals. and The festival has partnered with the Noongar community for a number of years to ensure strong representation from Noongar and other Aboriginal performers and presenters.
Denmark Arts is the peak body for arts within the Shire of Denmark and also offers services throughout the Great Southern region and beyond. Throughout the year we run a wide range of arts programs and projects as well as offering support to artists and community. We also provide art consultation within the region.
Our vision is to:
Be a beacon of excellence in fostering regional community arts practice and providing an environment where creativity can flourish:
To provide a service initiating, encouraging, inspiring, promoting, valuing and supporting the development of a diverse range of arts and cultural activity within Denmark and the Great Southern.
To establish a creative arts hub centred within Denmark, which acts to nurture and inspire artistic exchange within and beyond the community.
To assist people in Denmark and surrounding areas to recognise and move towards their full creative potential as individuals and communities.
For more information about what we do visit our website.
Denmark Arts is funded by the State Government through Country Arts WA; and the Shire of Denmark.