Posts Categorized: Celebrating 75 Years!

Each year, you will find our Archive Tent on the field – a treasure trove of books, programmes, photographs, newspaper cuttings, posters, film footage and sound recordings. The Archive Committee has been working hard to share some of the material we hold in our archive collection in the form of a daily blog during ‘Eisteddfod Week’.

International Llangollen Eisteddfod and Llangollen Fringe Festival join forces to create Llanfest – a celebration of 100 years of music in Llangollen

Llanfest

World-famous peace festival returns 7-10th July 2022 after two-year hiatus with new-look Llanfest on Sunday 10th

This July, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and Llangollen Fringe Festival join forces to celebrate two significant cultural milestones for the town; the Eisteddfod’s 75th anniversary, and the Fringe’s 25th which combine to make an amazing 100 years of summer festivals in Llangollen.

To mark these two anniversaries, the Eisteddfod and Fringe are collaborating for the first time to produce Llanfest 2022 on Sunday 10th July, the final day of the four-day International Llangollen Eisteddfod music festival, which runs from 7-10th July.

Llanfest has become a firm favourite in the summer festival diary and this year there will be an emphasis on home-grown talent incorporating eclectic music, theatre and comedy. Headliners, British indie three-piece, Amber Run, will deliver lush, cinematic alt-pop with a moody and introspective tone. Amber Run are supported by Welsh/Bajan singer Kizzy Crawford, described by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens as ‘real talent’ and ‘wonderful’ by Radio 4’s Richard Coles and Elles Bailey, a smoky-voiced human dynamo, who straddles the worlds of Americana and the blues. Tickets are now on sale for Llanfest on the main festival website.

After an online event last year, organisers are thrilled to welcome back visitors to Llangollen. This year’s festival has been redesigned with a more compact site revolving around a single Pavilion music stage and a new in-the-round stage developed for spoken word events, offering a thought-provoking series of talks. Live music, talks, food stalls, bars and free community events will be around the site from midday to 9pm plus the Pavilion main acts will start at 6pm.

Llanfest is the final day of the world-renowned Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, which returns after a two-year hiatus with a line-up that celebrates the best traditional and contemporary music from around the world. Two of the classical world’s vocal powerhouses, Aled Jones and Russell Watson will be performing together for the first time to open the 2022 programme and further highlights include Grammy Award winner Anoushka Shankar with Manu Delago and the Britten Sinfonia .

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the festival returns this year with a broad cultural programme that spreads the message of peace and friendship on which it was founded in 1947 after the second world war. Each year around 4,000 performers from around the world and as many as 35,000 visitors converge on this beautiful small Welsh town to sing and dance in a unique combination of competition, performance and community spirit. The festival’s ability to spot future talent is renowned and it’s credited with helping to launch the career of Luciano Pavarotti among others.

In recognition of the festival’s founding principle to spread peace, visitors to the festival and Llanfest will be invited to write a message of peace on a luggage label and attach it to trees around the site to create a forest of peace. On Thursday 7th July, children’s day, the festival is teaming up with The Welsh Centre for International Affairs, Size of Wales and Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services to create the first Young Peace Makers’ Awards – celebrating young people who have contributed to peace and global citizenship at home and overseas. Details of how to enter can be found here: www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk/get-involved/young-peacemakers-awards-2022/

Camilla King, executive producer of the Llangollen Eisteddfod is leading the transformation of the festival into a fresh, diverse fusion of contemporary and traditional cultures that will connect with both new and existing audiences.

She says: “For years the festival and the fringe have worked independently to help Llangollen to punch above its weight on the international music scene so it is exciting that for the first time we are joining forces to co-curate Llanfest this year. Together we will be bringing an eclectic and inspiring line-up of music, spoken word and comedy to north Wales in the spirit of peace and togetherness that the Llangollen Eisteddfod was founded on the 75 years ago and is now more relevant than ever.”

Paul Keddie, chair of the Llangollen Fringe Festival, said: “Llangollen Fringe Festival is delighted to be working alongside LIME this year to gather everyone together on the Sunday of the Eisteddfod. 75 years of the Eisteddfod and 25 years of the Fringe gives 100 years’ worth of experience to share with the world… it’s going to be magical.”

Dylan Thomas’s 1953 Llangollen Notebook

There are few stories from the 75 years of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod which excite supporters more than the visit of Dylan Thomas in July 1953. He described his visit a few weeks later in a 15 minute broadcast for the BBC Home Service, and generated verbal images of the early Eisteddfod whose power resonates to this day.

Archive FlipBook

This compilation of posters shown in the Eisteddfod Archive Tent between 2016 and 2019 gives a very short factual history of the festival. It’s based only on verified records. This year we’ve turned them into a flip book which can be viewed for free HERE or downloaded as a booklet from AMAZON.

You’ll find a timeline reporting the main changes which the Llangollen International Eisteddfod has gone through, and why: from the first glimmerings of the concept through to the very different world of the 21st century. It tells you about a few of the topics for which the Eisteddfod is famous, like its floral displays. It includes a bit of what other people have written about the festival, particularly in the early years. You can understand the transformation of the Eisteddfod finances during the inflation and depression of the 1970s. And it’s packed with wonderful photographs.

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The First International Eisteddfod 1947: Movietone Newsreel

The eight minutes and twenty seconds of this film are a unique audiovisual record of the first festival in 1947. You’ll see and hear the winning choirs. You’ll share the excitement with the audience packed into the marquee, made from war surplus canvas with 6000 seats borrowed from schoolrooms, chapels and elsewhere round the area. The first President, Mr W. Clayton Russon, articulates the Eisteddfod’s concept of how an international musical competition can help promote better understanding and friendly relations between people of different nations. The stage presenters, borrowed in 1947 from the Welsh National Eisteddfod, are busy and down-to-earth, just as they are now.
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Oscar-winning director makes a film about the Llangollen Eisteddfod

“The World Still Sings” is a documentary film of the 1964 International Eisteddfod, directed by Jack Howells and produced jointly by Howells’ own company and the Esso Petroleum Company, Ltd. In 1962, Howells won an Academy Award for his documentary of Dylan Thomas, and at the time of the Eisteddfod film he was working for ITV on a film about Aneurin Bevan. By opting to film the Llangollen Eisteddfod he placed the festival firmly in the pantheon of Welsh icons.

The title responds to lines from Dylan Thomas’s 1953 radio broadcast about the Llangollen festival:

“Are you surprised that people still can dance and sing in a world on its head? The only surprising thing about miracles, however small, is that they sometimes happen.”

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The Audio Archive

There have been audio recordings since the first Llangollen Eisteddfod in 1947. In the part of our Archive currently held in the LIME Pavilion, we have a recording of the Coedpoeth Youth Choir singing ‘Robin Ddiog’ (or ‘Lazy Robin’) during the 1947 Eisteddfod. The sound quality is not brilliant, but for just over a minute, we go back in time, and listen to this young group entertaining their audience, which erupts in applause at the end. (more…)

Archiving the Past

We were looking forward to meeting you all at this year’s Eisteddfod and sharing our vision for the Archiving the Past project. As this is sadly not possible, we have put together a number of blogs to create a virtual Archive Tent this year to tell you more about it.

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