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World-famous Llangollen Eisteddfod strikes new note for 2021

International music and dance festival returns with specially commissioned new online cultural programme plus transformation of bridge into giant artwork

Online programme – Friday 9 – Sunday 11 July

Bridge artwork – Friday 9 – Wednesday 4 August

Image captions:

 Patchwork panels of ‘Bridges, Not Walls’ Llangollen Bridge artwork by artist Luke Jerram; Catrin Finch, harpist and composer (credit Jennie Caldwell); Rapper Magugu, recording track for Curiad Calon / Heartbeat with Horizons; Recording track for Curiad Calon / Heartbeat with Horizons: L to R: Lily Beau, Rachel K Collier, Rhys Grail (camera), Magugu

The world-famous Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is returning this year with a diverse new cultural programme specially commissioned to celebrate the message of international peace and friendship on which it was founded over 70 years ago.

Held in Llangollen, a beautiful small town in north Wales every summer since 1947 – with the exception of 2020 when it was postponed due to the Covid pandemic – this year, the Eisteddfod will be largely held online, with the main programme presented free of charge over the weekend of the 9 – 11 July.

With funding support from Welsh Government, this year’s Eisteddfod will celebrate the broadest possible range of genres from classical, choral, hip hop, dance and world music, as well as Luke Jerram’s Llangollen bridge artwork, to connect with existing and new audiences in preparation for its physical return in 2022.

The 2021 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod programme comprises:

A brand-new art installation by the world-renowned artist Luke Jerram, who is covering the grade 1 listed Llangollen bridge with a patchwork of fabrics representing Wales and countries that usually attend the Eisteddfod. Known for public art installations around the world including Museum of the Moon, Play Me, I’m Yours street pianos and Glass Microbiology sculptures depicting the coronavirus and its vaccine, this is his first commission in Wales. The artwork will remain in place until 5 August.


  • Tangnefedd by Paul Mealor and Mererid Hopwood

World-premiere of a new choral piece by Paul Mealor, one of the world’s most performed living composers and Mererid Hopwood, renowned Welsh poet and the first woman to win the National Eisteddfod Chair. The performance will feature choirs from around the world that have successfully competed at the Eisteddfod, from the UK, US and Africa. In the Welsh language, Tangnefedd means the result of bringing together two elements in peace and harmony.


  • Curiad Calon/Heartbeat with Horizons (BBC/ACW), Rachel K Collier, Magugu and Lily Beau

A new dance track commissioned for Llangollen Eisteddfod by up-and-coming electronic producer and performer Rachel K Collier, Nigerian-born, avant-garde rapper Magugu and talented young Welsh singer-songwriter and actress Lily Beau. The track is designed to inspire the Eisteddfod international music and dance community and wider public to respond with their own moves on social media. It’s also a world first of combining the English, Welsh and Nigerian Pidgin Rap languages!


  • Catrin Finch and Guests

A new musical composition exploring the peace message with internationally renowned harpist and composer Catrin Finch, pioneering beatboxer and rapper Mr Phormula (Ed Holden), British Asian musician and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra, Eliza Marshall and Nick Ellis on Bansuri, Lee House, electronics and RAV drum and the refugee and asylum seeker Oasis One World Choir, from Cardiff.


  • Beth Yw Heddwch?/What is Peace? schools project

Project exploring children’s thoughts about peace through the written word, dance, movement and drama sessions involving 1,000 pupils from three schools from Rhyl, Llanberis and Llangollen. A creative video will be produced and an exhibition of postcards expressing children’s views about peace will be displayed throughout the town.


  • Peace Pavilion Programme

A thought-provoking programme of talks and activities with Academi Heddwch Cymru exploring peace and peacebuilding. The programme includes ‘The Peace Lecture’ given by Begoña Lasagabaster, UN Women Chief of Leadership and Governance Section; ‘The Art of Peacebuilding’; ‘Peace Poems’ and much more. For young people, this series includes virtual cultural exchange and the Young Peacemakers Awards ceremony. []


This year’s digital Llangollen Eisteddfod will feature videos of the world premiere performances, many filmed in the town itself. On Saturday night, there will be a performance of Tangnefedd by a mass choir, some appearing digitally from across the world and others on stage in the pavilion where the Eisteddfod is usually staged, just outside the town. People living locally, in Wales and around the world are invited to explore the programme, free of charge, at

Betsan Moses, interim chief executive of the Llangollen Eisteddfod for 2021 is leading the creation of a fresh, diverse, world-class cultural programme to connect with both new and existing audiences, after last year’s event was postponed.

She says: “The Llangollen Eisteddfod was founded on the idea of bringing peace and this year’s cultural programme expresses what it stands for; peace, creativity and togetherness. We’re looking forward to sharing a varied and inspiring programme of events online this year, with an array of world-class performers across musical and artistic genres and exciting new commissions to delight both existing and new audiences across the globe.

“The beautiful town of Llangollen, which normally sees up to 35,000 visitors during the Eisteddfod, will also play host to the visitors that come to see the transformation of Llangollen Bridge into a giant artwork by Luke Jerram, clothed in a patchwork of fabrics from around the world.”

A Stitch in Time! International artist Luke Jerram to transform historic bridge for Llangollen Eisteddfod

Llangollen Bridge to be transformed into giant artwork called ‘Bridges, Not Walls’

Friday 9 July – Thursday 5 August 2021

Image captions:

Row 1: Patchwork panels of ‘Bridges, Not Walls’ Llangollen Bridge artwork by artist Luke Jerram;

Row 2: Mock-up of ‘Bridges, Not Walls’; artist Luke Jerram stands in front of Llangollen Bridge; tailor upholsterer Emma Williams stitches fabric squares together.

Llangollen Online 2021 – Official image.

International artist Luke Jerram is working to transform the famous Llangollen Bridge into a giant artwork celebrating peace, as part of the world-renowned Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME).

Luke plans to wrap the Grade 1 listed stone bridge in a giant patchwork of fabrics, reflecting the crafts and cultures of Wales alongside the festival’s participating nations.

Called Bridges, Not Walls, the artwork celebrates the idea of peace on which the festival was founded nearly 75 years ago.

Known for public art installations around the world including Museum of the Moon, Play Me, I’m Yours which brought street pianos to dozens of international cities and his recent Glass Microbiology sculptures depicting the coronavirus and its vaccine, this is the first commission in Wales for Luke, who completed his degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Whilst the Llangollen Eisteddfod will mainly be held online this year, organisers hope the eye-catching Bridges, Not Walls will also attract people to visit the town this summer.

In a race against time, 800 squares of one metre-wide fabric, including local donations from Llangollen, are currently being stitched together to cover both sides of the 60 metre-long bridge.

Creating an ever-changing artwork depending on the angle, light and weather conditions, the bridge will become an incredible sight to view and visit and a powerful symbol connecting this year’s online festival with its physical roots. Even the water below it will be transformed with the reflections and colours from the bridge.

Luke Jerram’s new bridge artwork will connect and extend the Eisteddfod’s creativity out from the field where it is normally held each year into the town, transforming and animating Llangollen for the whole world to see.

With the panels of the archways almost complete, work will soon start on the material to cover the bridge’s stanchions, or columns, which stand in the water and support the bridge above.

Luke says: “From the moment I saw it, Llangollen Bridge struck me as incredibly powerful, both physically and symbolically. The message and celebration of peace is at the heart of the Llangollen Eisteddfod and so this historic bridge, one of the seven wonders of Wales, makes the perfect canvas. As Sir Isaac Newton once said, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” From Israel to the USA, we are at last exploring the possibility of building bridges rather than walls.”

Held in Llangollen every summer since 1947, the Eisteddfod is a truly international cultural festival with a world-class diverse programme that celebrates a message of international peace and friendship through singing, dancing and performance.

Usually attracting over 4,000 performers from around the world and 35,000 visitors to Llangollen, this year’s unique celebration of global peace and harmony will be largely held online in July 2021, with the main programme being presented over the weekend of the 9 – 11 July. Bridges, Not Walls will remain in place on Llangollen Bridge until 5 August.

Betsan Moses, chief executive of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME) added:

“We’re hugely excited about Bridges, Not Walls which celebrates everything Llangollen’s much-loved Eisteddfod stands for; peace, creativity and togetherness. We’re looking forward to sharing a varied and inspiring programme of events online this year and we hope Luke’s artwork will also encourage people to visit the historic town over the summer.”

With Welsh Government funding, this year’s online Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod will celebrate the broadest possible range of musical genres from classical, opera and choral, to jazz, soul and rock, to connect with existing and new audiences in preparation for its physical return in 2022.

For more information please visit

For further information or interviews please contact:

Caroline Harris or Kierstan Lowe at Spirit Public Relations on 0117 944 1415 / 07966 550623 / 07910 234805

or email



For more information, terms and conditions about submitting patchworks for consideration, please visit

About Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod & Llangollen Online 2021

Every summer since 1947 Llangollen has staged one of the world’s most inspirational cultural festivals. Each year around 4,000 performers and as many as 35,000 visitors converge on this beautiful small Welsh town and its International Pavilion; to sing and dance in a unique combination of competition, performance, and international peace and friendship.

As the world continues to battle through the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s festival will be held online. Llangollen Online 2021 will offer a reimagining of the annual event that captures the magic of the international Eisteddfod in a digital format.

About Luke Jerram

Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. Living in Bristol, UK but working internationally, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects over the last 24 years which have excited and inspired people around the globe.

President Terry Waite bids a fond farewell to Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

Mr Terry Waite CBE, LIME’s long serving President recently took the decision to stand down from the role after 15 prolific years. His commitment to the Eisteddfod has been exemplary, forever promoting our festival and extending the hand of friendship across the world. We wish to thank him for his astounding commitment and steadfast friendship and look forward to being able to honour him in the future.

Please see below an article recently published in the Wrexham Leader and the Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser recounting Mr Waite’s time as President of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod:

President Terry Waite bids a fond farewell to Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

THE long-serving president of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME) is stepping down from the role.

Terry Waite, 81, is an English humanitarian and author who was awarded the MBE in 1982 and the CBE in 1992.

Mr Waite says retiring from the role with LIME a few weeks ago was the ‘hardest decision’ he’s ever had to make.

Having spent the last 15 years as president, he says his decision came as a result of Covid-19 directly ‘changing’ the future of what’s to come with LIME, which had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

An online event was introduced to help keep the international communities involved connected.

Mr Waite said: “Music has the capacity to breathe harmony into the soul and during good times and bad music has united the Welsh nation in a unique way. It should come as no surprise to anyone that following the second world war the people of Llangollen stretched out a hand to the world and invited people from across the globe to come to the town and share together in a gathering designed to promote harmony and peace throughout the world.

“Little did I know when I stepped onto that coach in 1948 that one day I would become President of one of the great music festivals of the world.

“My introduction to the International Eisteddfod came through the Warrington Male Voice Choir with whom I have been associated for many years. I came with them to Llangollen and later was invited to be a day President before finally being invited to be President.

“I do know that in all my time as President I have not missed one year and have stayed in Llangollen for the duration of the festival. That was not a duty. It was a pleasure.

“To recount my experiences would fill volumes. I have listened over the years as Bryn Terfel developed his extensive repertoire, as Alfie Bow moved from white tie and tails to a more casual form of dress, as Katherine Jenkins took the first steps to what has become an international career. There are dozens more I could mention.

“The competitors from overseas have been so very varied. Many came from areas that were being torn apart by warfare and found, through music, friends whom they thought were enemies.

“Then there are the local wonderful volunteers. I have made so many good friends amongst them and these friendships will continue across my lifetime. Each year it has been possible to thank the sponsors who have been magnificent.

“As for the audience-well, what can I say? Year by year they return and again, one had made so many good friendships with people not only from the British Isles but from across the world.

“Will I miss being President? Most certainly I shall. LIME has been one of the highlights of my year and to retire was one of the hardest decisions I have had to take for many a year.

“However, LIME, due to Covid and other factors, is at a point of change and given my age, I am 82 in 2021, it seemed the right time to step down and let a younger person take over from me.

“Wales has always had a special place in my affections and although I don’t speak one word of the language I like to think that during the past years I have been accepted as a member of the family of the Eisteddfod which, although it is rooted and located in Wales, extends across the world with the aim of uniting us all together in peace and harmony.

“As I say farewell I salute a great institution. Long may it continue.”

Mr Waite’s life-story is a highly interesting one.

In January 1987, he was captured in Beirut, Lebanon, whilst attempting to secure the release of hostages. He was kept in solitary confinement for four years and kept hostage in total for almost five years.

Born in 1939 in Cheshire, Mr Waite’s formative years were spent in a small village where his father was the village policeman.

His primary and secondary education took place locally. He served for a brief period with the Grenadier Guards but had to retire on medical grounds. He entered the Church Army College in London in 1958 and studied theology.

He married Helen Watters in 1964. They have three daughters and a son. In 1969 he moved with his family to Africa where he was Advisor to the first Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Erica Sabiti.

The family moved to Rome in 1972 and he travelled the world advising organisations of the Roman Catholic Church on development – mainly in the fields of health and education.

He has travelled widely in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and North and South America and also holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of the City of London (1986), Kent at Canterbury (1986), Liverpool (1986), Durham (1992), Sussex (1992) and Yale (1992).

Mr Waite’s first visit to Wales came when he was very young, when his grandmother decided to take him there on a day trip.

He recalls: “We got up very early in the morning and boarded the coach which obligingly stopped direct outside the front door of the little terraced house. Living as we did in Cheshire, Wales was on our doorstep and this visit was but the first of many made across the years.

“My paternal grandmother was a music teacher and during the years of the depression played the piano for the silent movies. She always wanted me to learn to play but as she lived far away from our home and also as we could not afford even a secondhand instrument I never played anything except the mouthorgan and a recorder at school.

“Music has however always been an important part of my life and of course that being so I was further attracted to a musical nation-Wales.

“My own father suffered considerably during the depression of the 1920’s and few nations know better that Wales the effect suffering can have on families and communities.”

Dr Rhys Davies, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod chair, says they plan to bring Mr Waite back one last time post-Covid-19 to thank him properly for his service over the last 15 years. Dr Davies added that no replacement has yet been found for the role of president.

Oswestry and Border Counties Advertiser

The Wrexham Leader, article written by Arron Evans

Clwyd South MP Visits Oak Street Gallery in Llangollen and Praises Exhibition Celebrating The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

Member of Parliament for Clwyd South, Simon Baynes MP, made a socially distanced visit to the Oak Street Gallery in Llangollen on Thursday 9 July to learn more about the work of Karl Young who runs the gallery and has curated a photographic exhibition of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

Simon Baynes MP said: “Karl and all the artists involved have done a terrific job with this exhibition. The whole gallery has become a great celebration of all the things that make the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod so special to our community. And I’d encourage everyone in Llangollen to drop by and have a look when they get a chance.”

Although the gallery itself remains closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exhibition has been set up so that the photographs and Eisteddfod memorabilia can be seen safely from the street. The exhibition will be up for the month of July. And the gallery lights will be on until 11pm so that visitors can walk past and admire the photographs.

One of the pieces of memorabilia on display is a programme from when Luciano Pavarotti sang at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and his trademark handkerchief.

Karl Young said: “My hope is that this exhibition will show and remind us that what we do as a town in normal times is beautiful and fun. I am grateful to Kim Price Evans, Allan Potts, John Evans and Lowri Page whose beautiful photography has captured the Eisteddfod spirit. And I would also like to thank the Archive Committee for allowing the Oak Street Gallery to show their ‘History of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in 10 Objects Exhibition’.”