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.
Here’s how the flipbook came about
For nearly two decades the small dedicated group of Eisteddfod volunteers in the Archive Committee has been collecting and organising a host of material about the Eisteddfod: papers, correspondence, newspapers, photographs, memorabilia, written and recorded memoirs, films, videos and recorded music.
In 2016 we decided to use the collection to tell and explain the history of the International Eisteddfod. We had brilliant visual, audio and audiovisual material, and lots of interesting objects, including amazing gifts given by competitors, volunteer badges, tickets, first-day covers, programmes, newsletters, examples of almost anything from the world that is Llangollen. We were fortunate to get a great tent, filled nine display cabinets, put up ten posters, and ran a continuous loop of old films, which showed the changes in performance styles over the seven decades. Object-based histories were tried. There were lots of enthusiastic visitors. The display was modified each year through to 2019. With no possibility of a physical display this year, putting something on the web was an obvious step.
We wanted to help new generations of volunteers understand the festival for which they were working so hard. We also wanted new visitors to have a glimpse of the 70-odd years of efforts which were the basis of their enjoyment. Our visitor book tells us we achieved these aims, but the Archive Tent also became a draw for people who’d been coming to the Eisteddfod for years, and wanted to meet and reminisce.
The Eisteddfod has much to be proud of in its lifetime of more than 70 years. But the story is complex, as were the individuals involved. A further motivation, then, was to present a factual history of the festival, based on reliable, well documented sources. Setting the record straight, perhaps, and challenging some of the myths and legends which had gained prominence. As archivists we collect everything, and try to make it all safe and accessible. As historians we try to present a factual history covering every aspect of the festival in a way which does justice to this wonderful Welsh initiative.
We hope you get value and enjoyment from this approach to the Eisteddfod story.