A traditional Filipino dance, the Karatong, which is performed to attract good luck and drive away evil spirits, today (March 29) served as a fitting introduction to launch the 2021 Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival.
The Toowoomba Region’s signature multicultural festival returns after a covid-enforced pause in 2020, with the 15th edition of the festival to be held at Toowoomba’s Queens Park on Sunday, May 30.
Toowoomba International Multicultural Society (TIMS) President and Festival co-founder/organising committee chair Mrs Gitie House OAM said The Philippines had been chosen as this year’s feature country.
Mrs House said the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival was a fantastic day that rejoiced in the community’s diversity.
“One World – Many Faces is the theme of the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival that continues to showcase our amazing array of talent from across the world,” Mrs House said.
“Crowds will be treated to the colour and spectacle of our Filipino performers as our feature culture, with many other cultural performances scheduled across the day.
“There will be live music by award-winning bands Peter Campbell and the Backline, plus the Hokumotion Jazz Trio, a circus act, llamas, 24 languages on display, a language London phone booth, a VW beetle that can translate poetry among many other interesting activities.
“We have people from all corners of the globe living in the Toowoomba Region, so it is important that these people are seen and heard through their unique dances and songs. Visitors also will enjoy many specialty foods.”
Mrs House said the vision of the festival was to celebrate the diversity of languages and cultures that exist across the Region.
“We have a very exciting program for everyone to enjoy,” Mrs House said.
“Our Festival organising committee includes representatives from Toowoomba Regional Council, TIMS, Multicultural Australia, the Modern Language Teachers’ Association Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland. We are supported by many cultural and community groups and wonderful sponsors,” she said.
“Together with these groups, the Festival unites more than 100 community groups, service organisations, businesses and partners to support and encourage a sense of belonging and community harmony.
“We invite all residents to join the festivities and support all the performers, try the delicious food and drinks and visit the stalls that will be on show. Additional work has been done this year to ensure we comply with all covid-19 health and safety regulations.
“One notable change for 2021 is the requirement for all tickets to be pre-purchased via the festival website: www.TLCFestival.com.au No tickets will be on sale at the festival gate.”
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the festival was one of the highlights on the Region’s events calendar.
“I’m especially proud of the way the Toowoomba Languages and Cultures Festival highlights our Region’s welcoming face and celebrates the many different cultures that now call Toowoomba home,” Mayor Antonio said.
“I encourage long-term residents and new citizens to share the joyous entertainment, food, art, displays, sporting and children’s activities that are planned for the day.
“The festival will pay tribute to the Filipino community’s contribution to our Region. I acknowledge the efforts of the Philippine Cultural Society of the Darling Downs and look forward to their feature performances on May 30.”
Filipino Australia Business and Industry Council of Queensland president Roberto Garcia said the festival honour was doubly significant as 2021 marked the 75th anniversary of Filipino-Australian diplomatic relations.
“The Filipino community is extremely proud to showcase the love and passion we have for our culture, which will feature prominently at the May 30 festival. We’re also most grateful to be living and contributing in so many ways in the Toowoomba Region,” Mr Garcia said.
“People from The Philippines can be found right across the country working in the hospitality and education sectors and as skilled tradespeople.
“Our caring and compassionate nature also serves us well in the medical field, with many Filipinos working as nurses and doctors.”
Gates open from 10am with the program running to 3pm. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for concession card holders and children and school students free (must bring identification).
Anyone wishing to be a part of this year’s festival can contact The Event Group Toowoomba 0422 867 929.