Posts Categorized: News

Llangollen Online 2021

As the world continues to battle through the Coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to update you on our plans for Llangollen Online 2021 which are being adapted to reflect the environment that we are now all living in.

As you’re aware, we have suspended the traditional live competition strands for Llangollen 2021, and are reimagining our event in a way that can be delivered safely but which will still capture the magic of our international Eisteddfod in a digital format.

We were hoping to create a hybrid weekend as part of this year’s offer, featuring artists from the 2020 line-up including our iconic Llanfest evening, but due to continued restrictions this cannot be realised this summer. Llanfest ticket holders will be contacted by your ticket provider for a full refund in the next week.

Any other customers who have retained tickets from 2020 will also be contacted in the next week to confirm their ticketing options. Further information is also available on our website and social media channels.

We know that it will be a disappointment to many that we are not able to put on our usual Eisteddfod this year. But please be reassured that we remain committed to our Eisteddfod’s founding mission of bringing people together through music and dance, which will be at the heart of our alternative approach to Llangollen 2021. We thank you for your understanding and as ever, we are grateful for your support.

Please find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) here.

Customer FAQs

Will there be an Eisteddfod in 2021?

Llangollen 2021 Online will be a purely digital event, as it will not be possible for us to hold live concerts or competitions due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The online event will take place during the usual Eisteddfod week and further details will be announced soon.

What are the dates for Llangollen 2021 Online?

As we are working on finalising our programme for Llangollen 2021 Online we are not in a position to confirm the exact dates of festival yet. However, we expect that the programme will run between the 6th – 11th July 2021.

Is Llanfest happening?

Sadly, it is not possible for Llanfest with James Morrison and Will Young to go ahead due to the Coronavirus restrictions and we are cancelling all bookings for that event. Ticket holders will be contacted by our Box Office, or by their ticket agents, to arrange a refund.

I have retained Eisteddfod tickets from 2020 – how will this affect me?

Customers who have not already confirmed their instructions in relation to tickets retained from 2020 will be contacted by our Box Office to confirm their ticketing options.

When will there be further news about the programme for Llangollen 2021 Online?

Further details will be announced in the coming weeks on our website, through local press and on social media.

How do I get regular updates about Llangollen 2021 Online?

You can sign up to our mailing list, which will ensure that you get our updates at the earliest opportunity. Please use the sign-up facility on the bottom of the Home page of this website to subscribe to the list. Further information will also be posted on our social media channels and website.

I have tickets booked via a ticket agent (Ticketmaster, Gigantic). Who should I contact me if I need refund or exchange?

All tickets purchased via agents will be dealt with via the agent directly.

I’m keen to support Llangollen during these difficult times. How can I do this?

If you are in a position to support and help us over the coming months, please visit the Donate page. We would be very grateful for any support.

Looking for information about participating in Llangollen? Please visit our Participants’ website

Update: COVID-19 Llangollen 2021

In light of the ongoing global battle against Coronavirus, we are working on plans to adapt the format of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod for July 2021.

There continues to be significant uncertainty about the possibility of mass events in Wales in the summer of 2021 and we recognise that the Covid-19 restrictions operating around the world have had a significant impact on the groups of choirs and dancers that would usually attend our event. These circumstances mean that we have decided to suspend the traditional live competition strands for Llangollen 2021, and reimagine our event in a way that can be delivered safely but which will still capture the magic of our international Eisteddfod.

We are working hard to create a format for Llangollen 2021 involving digital options and a weekend hybrid event featuring artists from the 2020 concert programme including Llanfest. Details will be confirmed in the late Spring when further information about government guidelines is expected and we will have clarity about what can be achieved.

Further updates will be shared through our website and social media channels.

Please find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) here.

Customer FAQs

Will there be an Eisteddfod in 2021?

There won’t be the usual Eisteddfod unfortunately, but we are currently working on plans for Llangollen 2021 which are being adapted in light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Regrettably, there will be no live competitions or daytime programme in 2021, but we are considering alternative formats such as a weekend hybrid event and digital options.

What are the dates for Llangollen 2021?

As we are still working on plans for the format and length of Llangollen 2021 we are not in a position to confirm the exact dates of festival yet. However, we expect that the programme will run between the 6th – 11th July 2021.

I have retained my tickets from 2020 – how will this affect me?

Festival Pass holders and customers who have tickets for our daytime programme or Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday night concerts will be contacted by our Box Office to confirm their ticketing options.
Customers who have tickets for Aled Jones and Russell Watson or Llanfest are not affected and should retain their tickets.

When will there be further news about the programme for Llangollen 2021?

Details will be confirmed in the late Spring when further information about government guidelines is expected and we will have clarity about what can be achieved.

How do I get regular updates about Llangollen 2021?

You can sign up to our mailing list, which will ensure that you get our updates at the earliest opportunity. Please use the sign-up facility on the bottom of the Home page of this website to subscribe to the list. Further information will also be posted on our social media channels and website.

If I can’t make the rescheduled date in 2021, am I entitled to a full refund?

You’re entitled to a full ticket refund back to your original payment method (for cash, cheque or expired cards we will contact you to arrange alternative payment options). However, please note, the refund will be for the ticket price only as any additional costs such as postage and commission fees are non refundable. This is because we have already paid the charges incurred by processing your original order or posting out your tickets.

I have tickets booked via a ticket agent (Ticketmaster, Gigantic). Who should I contact me if I need refund or exchange?

All tickets purchased via agents will be dealt with via the agent directly. We are working with our agent partners and will be keeping them fully updated on developments with Llangollen 2021.

I’m keen to support Llangollen during these difficult times. How can I do this?

If you are in a position to support and help us over the coming months, please visit the Donate page https://international-eisteddfod.co.uk/make-a-donation/ . We would be very grateful for any support.

Looking for information about participating in Llangollen? Please visit our Participants’ website https://eisteddfodcompetitions.co.uk/

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

https://www.bordercountiesadvertizer.co.uk/news/18969170.president-terry-waite-bids-fond-farewell-llangollen-international-musical-eisteddfod/

The Wrexham Leader, article written by Arron Evans

https://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/18969169.president-terry-waite-bids-fond-farewell-llangollen-international-musical-eisteddfod/

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’.”

Update: COVID-19 Llangollen 2020/21

Following government advice about Coronavirus, we made the decision to postpone the 74th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in July 2020.  The format of Llangollen 2021 will depend on the public health situation and government requirements for the holding of mass events. At the current time the government have yet to issue guidance for festivals but we are planning to go ahead and will try to make our application process as flexible as possible to enable participants to attend.

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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.

 

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.

Barrie

Barrie Potter
Archives Committee

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.

As was common in the early years, most of the concerts featured the competitors, but celebrity evenings on the Saturday and Sunday included superstars Joan Hammond and the Hallé Orchestra conducted by John Barbarolli. Especially in the first decade the concerts brought to Llangollen world-leading exponents of classical music, opera and dance.

A surprise, both for the organisers and the audience, were concert performances by two Spanish dance troupes. They were on a tour of Great Britain, organised by the Esperanto Society. They so enthralled the festival that in 1948 folk dance and folk song competitions were introduced, and quickly became the main attraction. Looking at the dances on the newsreel you can see why there were stories of the need for emergency measures to prop up the stage.

One of the mysteries about 1947 is why, in the “Land of Song”, there were no Welsh male voice choirs among the competitors. After all, three men’s choirs from England turned up, and so did six Welsh ladies choirs. Many explanations have been proposed over the years: from fear of having their quality exposed; costs of doing both the National and International Eisteddfodau; active discouragement by the National Eisteddfod, whose concerns about the lusty upstart festival are documented in archived correspondence. Best to leave all that to the conspiracy theorists, and instead celebrate the famous Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir, founded in 1948 to rectify the omission.

In 1947 the International Eisteddfod was very much a creation of the Llangollen community. Many heroes made enormous contributions along the paths from the glimmerings of the initial idea in 1943 to the international groups arriving in Llangollen in June 1947, but it was the leadership of the Llangollen Urban District Council which in May 1946 crystallised the event. From the outset there was an ambition to be independent. The British Council’s help in finding groups in Europe was welcomed, but their offer of financial support was declined: the first Eisteddfod was funded by local subscriptions. Before the end of the five days the local organisers had publicly committed to holding another festival in Llangollen in 1948, despite some loudly expressed opinions that it should move around Wales like the National. Since 1947, a quality prized in the volunteers has been fierce loyalty to the idea of holding an annual event in Llangollen.

The 1947 organisers approached several newsreel companies to cover the Eisteddfod. Movietone won out because they were best able to cope with the limited power supplies available on the Llangollen Recreation Field.

Click Here to see the film on the AP Archive (The Associated Press),

In the film, in sequence:

  • Females Choirs singing Benjamin Britten’s “This Little Babe”
  • Femina Female Choir, Amsterdam
  • Grupo Musicale Feminino, Porto (famous for travelling to Llangollen in a red and yellow bus)
  • Penarth Ladies Choral Society
  • Hungarian Men Workers Choir singing “Hey Nonny No” for which they won competition
  • Spanish Dancers performing their traditional dance “Fandango Sequidillas”
  • Amsterdamsch Kamerkoor singing “Die Winter is Verganghen
  • Belfast Choral Union Mixed Choir singing “Quick, we have but a second”
  • Madrigalkoren I Kalmar singing Folk Song “Gottland” (thIs Swedish group was the first actually to arrive in Llangollen)
  • Sale & District Musical Society Mixed Choir singing “Early One Morning”, with their conductor receiving trophy

Chris

Chris Adams
Archives Committee

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.”

The film can be viewed here.

The film of the 18th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in 1964 captures the festival at the height of the highly successful early period. Its focus is on the competitors, as was all the newspaper and broadcast coverage. There were competitors from 17 countries in addition to the United Kingdom, and about 20 choral or dance groups in each of the major competitions. The winners came from West Germany, England, Italy, Ukraine (ex-pats from Manchester), Portugal and Sweden.

You get a glimpse in the film of the prestige then attached to the event. There was a royal visit (Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon). The new Secretary of State for Wales attended. TV coverage was UK-wide, and led by senior presenters who spent the week in Llangollen. Reporters and photographers came from all major newspapers and news agencies. The field is packed every day. Also evident from the film is the way that the festival spreads through the town, hardly surprising when many of the competitors stayed locally. Spontaneous late-night singing and dancing filled the homes and hostelries.

Unlike today, the concerts got little publicity. They were filled with the competitors doing special pieces. The professional performers included: a Spanish Harpist; and Geraint Evans, popular Welsh baritone. The opening concert presented the Czechoslovak National Ballet; the week closed with massed brass bands.

Look carefully at the film and you will be struck both by the contribution made everywhere by volunteers, and by the lack of commercialisation. Apart from a few food stalls, there are no concessions on the field. The small tents have a strong utilitarian ethos, typical of the festival: post office, Wales Tourist Board, newspapers, banks, organisations promoting international cooperation. Despite its policy of keeping ticket prices as low as possible to encourage attendance, the Eisteddfod more or less broke even; grants from the Arts Council for Wales and very recently from local authorities were used for improvements, not to defray running costs.

Look even more carefully and you’ll spot current Chairman Rhys Davies as an angelic young lad.

Lastly, the origins of the film are a bit of a mystery. The initiative came from Esso, who approached Jack Howells, but there are no papers about the film in the Jack Howells archive in the National Library of Wales, and Exxon Mobil couldn’t supply any insights. It is perhaps relevant that at the time all the large oil companies were promoting tourism as a way of increasing petrol sales. Nevertheless, the choice of Jack Howells as director was inspired. His documentary of Dylan Thomas had won an Oscar in 1962, and he had a way with Welsh subjects. He captured the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in a good year.

Enjoy!

Chris

Chris Adams
Archives Committee

 

 

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.

A festival based around music was bound to try to capture the essence of what was being performed by the choirs, instrumental groups and soloists taking part, and by the great artistes and orchestras invited along as guests. The earliest recordings take the form of 78 rpm discs, usually of individual choirs. These were often provided courtesy of the BBC from its Llangollen broadcasts. Most recordings in the LIME Archive consist of reel-to-reel audio tapes made year by year at each Eisteddfod, which preserve the entries at each of the competitions. These are listed as ‘Official Audio Recordings’ made on behalf of the Eisteddfod. More recent audio formats, such as the audio cassette and the CD, have been used in later years and have frequently been made available to the public through sales at outlets on the Eisteddfod field.

Some of these recordings are still retained in the LIME Pavilion, but the majority have been deposited over the years at the Denbighshire Archive in Ruthin. One of the aims of our current Archive Project is to digitise these recordings so that they become accessible to enquirers and researchers from across the world.

A small selection of accessible recordings has already been made, and a playlist created, which is available to hear in the Archive Tent during each Eisteddfod Week. We hope to build on the work done already, and to create an audio archive which will preserve much of the Llangollen Eisteddfod’s musical heritage for posterity.

Alan

Alan Tiltman
Archives Committee

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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