Posts Categorized: News

Llangollen Eisteddfod welcomes six new trustees! 

New trustee Shea Ferron on stage at Llangollen2023 with Alfie Boe, taking a selfie showing the audience in the background.

A reverend who doubles as a Squadron Leader in the RAF, a singer who unexpectedly shared the stage with Alfie Boe and a woman who moved 6000 miles to be closer to the festival she loves are just a few of the new trustees of the internationally renowned Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. 

Chair of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Sarah Ecob said, “We are delighted to welcome our new Board Members who bring a range of new talents and deep knowledge of the Eisteddfod to our Board.  This will be invaluable as we continue our programme of recovery and growth. We would like to thank the outgoing Board Members, all of whom will continue to be active within the Eisteddfod structures” 

The trustees have joined the team as the Eisteddfod, which started in 1947 to promote peace, faces huge financial challenges.  The new trustees were directly elected by company members and all bring different types of expertise.  Collectively, they will be stepping up to the breach left after the difficult financial decision to make the Executive Producer role redundant, previously held by Camilla King. 

No nonsense Reverend, Rebekah Canon is no stranger to the arts.  The ‘tuk tuk’ driving RAF Chaplain trained as a professional Actor and Theatre Director.  She worked internationally in Thailand, Bali and Russia on multi-disciplinary, large-scale performance and events. She is now an RAF (Anglican) Chaplain who has made Llangollen her home with her partner Gerallt. 

Rebekah, who loves gardening and jumps out of planes for fun said,  “I am utterly thrilled to be involved in contributing towards the future of the International Eisteddfod.  It is a unique event that has directly contributed to making Llangollen such a special place.  The heartbeat of our town is synonymous with the diversity, inclusivity and artistry of the Eisteddfod and I’m focused on seeing that continue for generations to come.  To play a key role in safeguarding our peace festival that welcomes the world to Llangollen every year is an amazing privilege.” 

Shea Ferron, at 20 is already a well-known figure in Llangollen.  In May, he was a member of the John’s Boys Chorus who reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent.  The drama student is a former Choir of the World winner and joined Alfie Boe on stage in July to rapturous applause.  Shea is the youngest ever Trustee at the Festival and has been involved in the festival, in various guises, since childhood.  Shea is combining his work as trustee with studying in his final year at The Institute for Contemporary Theatre in Manchester. 

Shea said, “The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, like the arts, is in my blood.  Since I was a youngster, it has been a major part of my life.  Some of my first memories are from this inspirational festival.   I am both honoured and grateful to be joining the board of trustees at such a critical point in the Eisteddfod’s 76-year history, ensuring the festival is here for generations to come.” 

The strengthened board have already held a huge open evening, bringing together the committees and volunteers (many new to the Eisteddfod); that saw dozens of supporters brainstorming ideas to safeguard the future of the festival.  The board have additionally already met several times as they put planning in place for next year’s festival.  Fundraising plans are being finalised as the team work to ensure the future of the festival. 

Another familiar face joining the board is Selana Kong, who loved the Llangollen Eisteddfod so much that herself, her husband Bill and son Daniel relocated 6000 miles just to be closer to it. For years, Selena and Bill travelled over from Hong Kong to volunteer.   Now they live within walking distance of Llangollen’s Royal International Pavilion and Selana wants to reach out across the world to continue the Eisteddfod’s peace tradition. 

Selana, a professional coach, mediator, and consultant said, “The Llangollen Eisteddfod is an amazing festival and in a polarised world, our message of peace and unity is as vital today as it was in 1947.  I want to continue the tradition of our festival reaching out to the world.  Bill and I fell in love with the Llangollen Eisteddfod and frequently travelled back to volunteer.  In 2019, we decided to cut the commute and move here lock, stock and barrel.  When I was asked to stand for election to the Eisteddfod Board, I jumped at the chance.  It is an amazing opportunity to give something back to the festival that changed our lives and ensure it can continue to change others.” 

Other new members of the board include Allison Davies, a former teacher at Ysgol Dinas Bran who has been heavily involved in the festival for decades, and Karen Price; who has been involved in the festival all her life – first helping with the famous flowers and more recently as Chair of Competitor’s Committee and the UK Competitor’s Liaison Officer.  Communications professional David Hennigan has also been elected on to the board.  He first sang at the Llangollen Eisteddfod in 1985, met his wife at the festival and has now relocated to the beautiful town. 

STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIR OF THE LLANGOLLEN INTERNATIONAL EISTEDDFOD.

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod have taken the difficult decision to make their Executive Producer Camilla King redundant.  Camilla is leaving with the thanks of all Board Members and Chairs of the Committees.  She has been Executive Producer since September 2021 and steered the festival since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Sarah Ecob said, “The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has been severely impacted by the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and by the current cost of living crisis.  Like many other cultural organisations, the Eisteddfod is facing an extremely challenging future due to our financial situation.  The Board and the Committee Chairs have met to discuss emergency actions to try to stabilise our organisation.  We have taken the very sad decision to make our Executive Producer redundant and we will shortly be launching a major fundraising campaign to safeguard the Eisteddfod’s future.

“We’d like to thank Camilla for her outstanding work at our festival and wish her well for the future.  We would like to thank our customers, volunteers, staff, competitors, performers,  and funders who make the Eisteddfod such a special event every year…with their help we can ensure the Eisteddfod continues to be central to cultural life in Wales and continue its role in promoting peace in an uncertain world.”

The festival has appointed several new board members who will work with the staff and hundreds of volunteers to make sure the Eisteddfod continues.

2023 Competition Results

Competition Results – Wednesday 5 July 2023
A7 Children’s Folk Choirs, A8 Junior Children’s Choirs, A9 Senior Children’s Choirs, Children’s Choir of the World Awards and Conductors Prize. 

A7 Children’s Folk Choirs:
1stCôr Heol y March, Cymru
2ndCantilon Chamber Choir, Canada
3rdCôr Glanaethwy, Cymru 

A8 Junior Children’s Choirs:
1stLindley Junior School Choir, England
2ndWalhampton School Chapel Choir, England
3rdThe Musical Originals Training Choir, Jersey 

A9 Senior Children’s Choirs:
1stCantilon Chamber Choir, Canada
2ndCantabile Girls Choir, England
3rd – Côr Heol y March, Cymru 

Children’s Choir of the World:
Winner – Lindley Junior School Choir, England
Conductors Prize – Jo Williamson 

 

Competition Results – Thursday 6 July 2023
C1 Traditional Folk-Dance Group, C3 Children’s Folk Dance Group, B6 Young Musician, C2 Choreographed/Stylised Folk Dance Group, B4 Junior Singer and B3 Young Singer. 

C1 Traditional Folk-Dance Group:
1stLoughgiel Folk Dancers, Northern Ireland
2ndLabschool Kebayoran Senior Highschool, Indonesia
3rdKYKLOS – Hellenic Performing and Literary Arts Group, Canada/Greece  

C3 Children’s Folk Dance Group:
1stLoughgiel Folk Dancers, Northern Ireland
2ndLabschool Kebayoran Senior Highschool, Indonesia
3rdNachda Punjab Youth Club, India  

B6 Young Musician:
1stEmma Buckley, Cymru
2ndAlwena Mair Owen, Cymru
3rdCerys Jones, Cymru 

C2 Choreographed/Stylised Folk Dance Group:
1stSoul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors, Trinidad and Tobago
2ndLabschool Kebayoran Senior Highschool, Indonesia
3rdLoughgiel Folk Dancers, Northern Ireland  

B4 Junior Singer:
1stRubie Le Masurier, Jersey
2ndErin Matthews, England
3rdChung Yin Joan Tso, Hong Kong  

B3 Young Singer:
1stDivine Simbanegavi, England
2nd – Oscar Fairclough, England
3rd – Heini Hughes, England

 

Competition Results – Friday 7 July 2023
B5 International Musician of the Future and B1 International Voice of the Future Semi-Final.  

B5 International Musician of the Future:
1stTom Hall, England (Percussion)
2ndGeorge Fradley, England (Piano)
3rdTomos Arthur Boyles, Cymru (Piano)  

B1 International Voice of the Future Semi-Final:
1stSamantha Lewis, England
2ndOwain Rowlands, Cymru
3rdJeannette Lee, China
4thCharlotte Kelso, Australia
5thNonkululeko Zondo, South Africa
6thZihua Zhang, China 

 

Competition Results – Saturday 8 July 2023
A1 Mixed Choir, A3 Equal Voice Choirs, A5 Open Choirs and A6 A Cappella Choirs.
Saturday evening Finale: Choir of the World, Lucille Armstrong Dance Award and B1 Pendine International Voice of the Future. 

A1 Mixed Choirs:
1stKAMMERCHOR MANILA, Philippines
2ndDelaware Choral Scholars, USA
3rdAzusa Pacific University Chamber, USA 

A3 Equal Voice Choirs:
1stLe Voci, England
2ndHeartbeat Chorus, England
3rdRisca Male Voice Choir, Cymru 

A5 Open Choirs:
1stDelaware Choral Scholars, USA
2ndAzusa Pacific University Chamber, USA
3rdHeartbeat Chorus, England 

A Cappella Choirs:
1stCantilon Chamber Choir, Canada
2ndAzusa Pacific University Chamber, USA
3rdCôr Glanaethwy, Cymru  

Saturday evening Finale: 

Choir of the World:
Winner – KAMMERCHOR MANILA – Philippines
Jayne Davies International Conductor’s Prize – Heather Johnson of Cantilon Chamber Choir – Canada 

Runners Up to COTW:
Cantilon Chamber Choir – Canada
Delaware Choral Scholars – USA
Le Voci – England 

Lucille Armstrong Dance Champions 2023:
Winner – Labschool Kebayoran Senior Highschool – Indonesia 

Runners Up –
Loughgiel Folk Dancers – Northern Ireland
Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors – Trinidad & Tobago 

Pendine International Voice of the Future:
Winner – Zihua Zhang – China
Runner-Up – Owain Rowlands – Wales
Charlotte Kelso – Australia 

 

Competition Results – Sunday 9 July 2023

D2 Community Bands
1stChester Big Band, England
2ndWrexham Concert Band, Cymru
3rd Mold Town Concert Band, Cymru  

B2 Voice of Musical Theatre
Winner – Makenna Malkin, USA
Runner up – Shea Ferron, Cymru
Fflur Davies, Cymru 

Live Finals: Results

It was a #TeamAsia final with one of the most closely fought contests seen in Llangollen for many years. Here are our judges winners:

Choir of the World:

Winners: Kammerchoir Manila – Philippines
Jayne Davies International Conductor’s Prize: Heather Johnson of Cantilon Chamber Choir – Canada

Runners Up to COTW:
Cantilon Chamber Choir – Canada
Delaware Choral Scholars – USA
Le Voci – England

Lucille Armstrong Dance Champions 2023:
Winners: Labschool Kebayoran Senior Highschool – Indonesia

Runners Up:
Loughgiel Folk Dancers – Northern Ireland
Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors – Trinidad & Tobago

Pendine International Voice of the Future:
Winner: Zihua Zhang – China
Runner-Up: Owain Rowlands – Wales
Charlotte Kelso – Australia

A huge congratulations to everyone who has competed and performed over the last week, we’ve had an absolute ball, and your joy in sharing your music and dance has really captured the town and far beyond.

Dylan Thomas’s radio masterpiece brought back to life 70 years on

A famous radio broadcast by poet Dylan Thomas about Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is being recreated to mark its 70th anniversary. 

The reading from actor, writer and director Celyn Jones will form the centrepiece of a mini programme of events to celebrate the literary magician’s 15-minute masterpiece on the BBC’s Home Service when he visited in 1953. 

The vivid verbal images conjured an enchanting and unforgettable picture from the unique event and was delivered in his deep, resonant voice. 

But it’s been revealed that the historic broadcast very nearly didn’t happen because at one point Thomas lost his notes on the way back to the BBC’s studio in Cardiff. 

That same year the late Queen Elizabeth also attended the Eisteddfod shortly after her Coronation. 

The festival had been established six years earlier under the dark shadow cast by the Second World War as a way of promoting peace through musical harmony and dance. 

Since then hundreds of thousands of competitors from all over the planet have beaten a path to Llangollen. 

The picturesque town in the Dee Valley where “Wales meets the world” is now gearing up for the first  full length festival since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. 

It all gets underway on Tuesday, July 4, and the competitions and concerts continue until Sunday, July 9, with thousands of singers and dancers from around the world due to take part. 

Each day features a full programme of competitions in the Pavilion and a line-up of stalls and exhibitions on the field along with the competitors from around the world, many in colourful dress while three open-air stages run a stream of live performances. 

Entertainment on the outside site includes workshops, talks, international showcases, outdoor theatre performances, circus skills, sound bath sessions, yoga, belly dancing, beginner’s Welsh and  salsa. 

The Globe Stage will feature music acts spanning folk, jazz, world and indie. 

There will also be an international flavour to the cuisine available in the new Globe Food Court. 

Visitors will be able to “go around the world in 80 minutes” with stalls serving food from different countries including India, Greece, Jamaica, Mexico, Germany and Italy. 

According to the Eisteddfod’s executive producer, Camilla King, they were particularly keen to celebrate the anniversary of Thomas’s memorable broadcast. 

She said: “Although sadly Dylan Thomas died in New York a few months after his visit to Llangollen, his priceless legacy will live on because he is rightly regarded as one of the literary greats. 

“We felt it was particularly appropriate to remember not only his brilliant broadcast but also the wider canon of his work which turned him into a superstar poet.” 

The activities will include a presentation by Prof Chris Adams, vice chair of the Eisteddfod and a member of its  Archive Committee, who revealed the poet was paid the princely sum of 20 guineas for his endeavours.  

Prof Adams said that  Swansea-born Thomas had “generated verbal images of the early Eisteddfod whose power resonates to this day”. 

It was all the more remarkable, he said, because locals recall he had spent a lot of his time in Llangollen in the pub, with the Wynnstay Hotel (now The Three Eagles) being a favourite watering hole. 

That was borne out by the late Aneirin Talfan Davies, the BBC producer who was despatched to Llangollen to keep an eye on Thomas, who accompanied by his wife, Aeronwy and their daughter, Caitlin. 

Talfan Davies, who was himself a talented poet, later told how Thomas had spent the week  “wandering aimlessly through the streets of Llangollen, with the odd half hour spent in the eisteddfod tent and many hours in the  bars of the town’s pubs.” 

He also described the poet’s way of working which involved “writing notes on cigarette packets, and the panic on the way back to Cardiff when Thomas feared he had lost the material”. 

Thankfully, the notes came to light in the nick of time and the finished, finessed piece has been described as a classic example of his genius with words. 

Apart from the competitions and remembering Dylan Thomas, other highlights include a concert starring Alfie Boe and musical theatre supergroup Welsh of the West End on the first night of the Eisteddfod on Tuesday, July 4. 

Wednesday will see The White Flower: Into The Light, a concert of remembrance for the fallen of Sarajevo and Ukraine, featuring the NEW Sinfonia orchestra with soloists from Bosnia, Wales and Ukraine, with the centrepiece formed by Karl Jenkin’s much loved work, The Armed Man. 

The popular procession of international participants and celebration of peace takes place on Thursday, followed by Flight, a new mixed-media dance, music and theatre work by visionary artists Propellor Ensemble, inspired by migratory patterns in nature and humanity. 

On the Friday night Guy Barker’s Big Band will take the stage with Strictly Come Dancing singer Tommy Blaize. 

Saturday features the blue riband event, the Choir of the World competition for the coveted Pavarotti Trophy, and also Dance Champions and the Pendine International Voice of the Future 2023. 

There is a new look to the final day of the Eisteddfod on Sunday with an all new live final which sees rising vocal stars battle it out to claim the title Voice of Musical Theatre, and Cân i Llan, a new song-writing competition for unsigned acts aged 14-22, providing a platform for emerging voices in contemporary popular music.  

Camilla King added: “Entertainment on the outside site spans across three main stages with further daily pop-ups and includes workshops in the Amphitheatre with Small World Theatre Company inviting visitors to create their own white flower sculpture and Propellor Ensemble building a giant instrument from recycled materials. 

“There will also be daily Lego building, arts and crafts, floral sessions from the Eisteddfod’s famed arrangers, circus skills with Jester Jack, Xplore Science, yoga, sound bathing, belly dancing and the chance to learn new skills from the wide ranging visiting competitors.  

“Talks on the Dome Stage feature Calan’s Bethan Rhiannon ‘From clog dancing to comedy’, poet Mererid Hopwood leading a panel for the annual Peace Lecture, reflecting on the incredible Women of Wales Peace Petition. 

“International showcases take the Globe Stage from acts including the Tibetan Tashi Lhunpo Monks, SOAS Min’yo Japanese folk music, Bosnian and Ukrainian performers, and music from Filkin’s Drift, Seprona, Kilbride Brothers, The Billy Thompson Trio, The Bartells, Chester Big Band and Lilly Boughey amongst many others.” 

Tickets & What’s On: www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk/whats-on/

 

 

Jazz legend and Strictly star will light up Llangollen Eisteddfod

A jazz legend who played with Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra will be teaming up with the voice of Strictly Come Dancing for a night to remember in North Wales. 

Strictly singer Tommy Blaize will be joining Guy Barker and his Big Band for a “powerhouse performance” in a star-studded concert at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod at 8pm on Friday, July 7. 

It’s a return to the festival for Guy who has also shared the stage with other superstars including George Michael, Sting, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Phil Collins, Sammy Davis Jr and Liza Minnelli among many others. 

The first of Guy’s two previous appearances at Llangollen Eisteddfod was in 2003, backing iconic husband and wife duo Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine and he returned to play with bass-baritone Sir Willard White in 2009. 

This time he’ll be conducting his own 15-piece band along with Strictly Come Dancing lead singer Tommy Blaize as well as Clare Teal and Vanessa Haynes and sax player Giacomo Smith. 

Guy, 65, has fond memories of performing at Llangollen and he said: “I played with Willard White when he did a tribute to Paul Robeson and before that I was there with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. 

“I remember the stage and the backstage area well and the audience were so enthusiastic. It’s a great place to play.” 

Guy’s background is in showbiz. His mum is actress Barbara Barker, now 95, who appeared in the first seven episodes of Coronation Street and later in Z Cars and Emmerdale Farm while his late father, Ken, was an actor and stuntman. 

“In the opening scene of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, my dad’s the one running naked into the sea on the beach,” said Guy: “It was six in the morning and it was freezing. 

“He loved the Swing era and learned the clarinet and he encouraged me to play the trumpet so we could do duets and bought me my first two albums, one by trumpeter Louis Armstrong. 

“Music was all I knew and I’ve never done anything else.” 

The people Guy has played with reads like a musical who’s who and one of his career highlights was backing Sinatra in front of 45,000 fans in Italy. 

He has also recorded eight solo albums, two of which were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, and since 2008 he has been the Musical Director and arranger for the annual Jazz Voice concert at the Barbican, which opens the London Jazz Festival and has a long-standing role with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. 

He arranged the music for the films The Talented Mr Ripley and The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by the late film director Anthony Minghella who said: “Guy Barker is that rare thing – a brilliant soloist, a born leader and a generous accompanist. He can play so your heart breaks or your head swivels.” 

Llangollen Eisteddfod executive producer Camilla King said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to book Guy Barker for a return visit for what will be a truly memorable night. 

“The audience can expect punchy brass, New Orleans soul and a journey through the history of jazz song, featuring both classics and surprise new arrangements, including a re-imagined Tom Waits number. 

“It’s going to be a fantastic, one-off set drawn together with Guy’s inimitable sense of storytelling through music.” 

Guy Barker’s Big Band will take the stage at Llangollen as part of a high quality series of concerts which kick-off on the Tuesday evening, July 4, with Eisteddfod favourite Alfie Boe who joins forces with musical theatre super-group, Welsh of the West End. 

Wednesday will see The White Flower: Into The Light, a concert of remembrance for the fallen of Sarajevo and Ukraine, featuring the NEW Sinfonia orchestra with soloists from Bosnia, Wales and Ukraine, with works including extracts from Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man culminating in the Eisteddfod’s traditional message of peace and hope for the future of all nations. 

The popular procession of international participants and celebration of peace takes place on Thursday, followed by Flight, a new theatrical work by visionary artists Propellor Ensemble, inspired by migratory patterns in nature and humanity. 

Saturday features the blue riband event, the Choir of the World competition for the coveted Pavarotti Trophy, and also Dance Champions and the Pendine International Voice of the Future 2023. 

There is a new look to the final day of the Eisteddfod on Sunday with an all new live final which sees rising vocal stars battle it out to claim the title Voice of Musical Theatre, and a new song-writing competition for emerging voices in contemporary popular music.  

“On the field, community bands, brass, silver, wind, compete, and audiences can choose their winner of the new Eisteddfod Dance Off.” 

As well as the concerts, each day features a full programme of competitions in the Pavilion and a line-up of stalls and exhibitions on the field along with the competitors from around the world, many in colourful dress while three open-air stages run a stream of live performances. 

Each year around 4,000 participants take to the stage with around 25,000 visitors attending. 

There will also be lots of entertainment on the outside site including workshops, talks, international showcases, outdoor theatre performances and circus skills. 

For full programme details and to buy tickets go to: www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk/whats-on/ 

Alfie Boe ‘can’t wait’ for return to North Wales alongside BGT’s Welsh of the West End

Superstar tenor Alfie Boe says he “can’t wait” to return to North Wales as he gets set to headline Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod this summer. The renowned English singer and actor will open the event alongside Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Welsh of the West End at a glitzy evening concert on Tuesday, July 4. 

Alfie, who has appeared at the cultural festival on several occasions, said fans will be treated to “fantastic bloody music” with a hand-picked programme created just for Llangollen. Supported by Welsh of the West End – which is made up of some of Wales’ own home-grown talent – Alfie said fans are in for a great night. 

Speaking about his return to the town, he said: “Performing in Llangollen is very exciting because it’s a real buzz. There’s a great musical atmosphere – everybody’s there from around the world celebrating music and culture and it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of. The last few times I’ve been, I’ve loved every minute. And when you get to play the main stage and you have a day of your own, it’s even better, I can’t wait.” 

Alfie, who has collaborated with many choirs during his career said he’s looking forward to teaming up with Welsh of the West End -  the musical theatre super-group and Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists. 

Commenting on what fans can expect, Alfie said: “Fantastic bloody music -  a good concert, lots of fun and laughter. My aim is to deliver a good show with lots of different music. It’s always nice to try new songs out with a festival crowd.” 

Book tickets here.

Alfie, who is gearing up for his UK tour this September, said he has lots in the pipeline for his loyal fans including a book and a new album. “I just want to keep coming up with ideas, keep working and doing the best I can. I’m trying my hand at some original songs too so I’ll be drip-feeding them to the public.” 

Welsh of the West End star Steffan Hughes from Llangwyfan near Denbigh, who has been a Youth Ambassador for Llangollen Eisteddfod and also presented the S4C coverage of the festival in 2019, said appearing at the festival with Alfie is a real “full circle moment” having competed in the event for many years growing up. 

 He said: “The Llangollen International Eisteddfod holds a dear place in my heart. A truly unique festival, that I had the privilege of representing as a youth ambassador in my teens. I spent many years competing on that wonderful stage and enjoyed the most varied and high-quality concerts there too. I’m so excited to be bringing Welsh of the West End to Llangollen. We represented Wales on an international stage through our appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, but there’s truly no place like home – and as a Denbighshire boy myself, I’m thrilled to be singing on home turf. We’ll be performing some of our favourite songs from the world of musical theatre and film.” 

 Steffan added: “Sharing the stage with the wonderful Alfie Boe is the icing on the cake. We were a guest act on his UK tour with Michael Ball last year, so we’re very excited to be reuniting with him once more.” 

Fellow members, Jade Davies from Denbigh, sister of Love Island winner Amber Davies, and Mared Wiliams from Llannefydd, who alongside Steffan, all went to Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph said they are also excited for the event. 

Jade, who has performed in shows such as Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera said: “It’s a dream come true to share the stage with Alfie Boe – someone who I really admire. It’ll be a joy to perform on that iconic Llangollen stage.”

Mared, who is a previous winner of the Musical Theatre International Voice of the Future at Llangollen said: “I’m thrilled to be singing at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod again. Having grown up competing and visiting the Eisteddfod, it’s a lovely feeling to be coming back to perform with professional musical theatre experience behind me.” 

Book tickets here.

The Eisteddfod will be back for its 76th year this summer – the first full length festival to be held since before the coronavirus pandemic. And this year, the Parade of Nations will be back for the first time since 2019. 

Llangollen Eisteddfod executive producer Camilla King said: “There was a lot of excitement last year when we came back for the first time since 2019 but people then were still cautious about covid and travel, whereas this year, everyone’s ready to be back out there celebrating. 

“People can expect to see a lot of the things that the festival has developed a reputation for – fantastic world renowned artists, competitions which showcase performers from around the world, exciting live finals like Choir of the World, Dance Champions and Voice of the Future – where you’ll see some of the top choirs, dance groups and operatic soloists. 

“There’ll also be spectacular international concerts which bring lots of different performers together including The White Flower which see massed forces of Welsh, Bosnian and Ukrainian performers. We’re also delighted that the 2022 Pendine International Voice of the Future winner, Emyr Lloyd Jones, will be joining us on stage as a soloist for this concert. 

On the Eisteddfod line-up will be well known jazz performer and conductor, Guy Barker with his Big Band, collaborating with top soloists such as Tommy Blaze, the lead singer on Strictly Come Dancing, and soul and jazz musicians, Clare Teal, Giacomo Smith and Vanessa Haynes performing a one-off set. “It’s going to be a real summer’s evening party – if you’re into jazz and you like that punchy big band Sinatra sound, this is the night out for you,” Camilla said. 

Commenting about Alfie Boe’s return to Llangollen, Camilla added: “It’s a few years since Alfie has been to the Eisteddfod but he’s a real favourite with our audience. It’s also a brilliant showcase for Welsh of the West End – really talented young Welsh musical theatre stars.” 

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod runs between July 4 and 9, and features a combination of competition and performance with choirs competing for the coveted Choir of the World title and the Pavarotti Trophy. Each year around 4,000 participants take to the stage with around 25,000 visitors attending. There will also be lots of entertainment on the outside site including workshops, talks, international showcases, outdoor theatre performances and circus skills. The Eisteddfod will also crown the 2023 dance champions with the Lucille Armstrong Trophy, in addition to the Pendine International Voice of the Future event. 

Tickets are available here or on 01978 862001. 

Cân i Llan (A Song for Llan): Songwriting competition for untapped talent officially launched!

Calling all budding contemporary music stars: a new songwriting prize has been launched to discover and support grassroots popular music, giving a platform to the next generation of original commercial music artists.

Cân i Llan (A Song for Llan), is open to unsigned individuals and bands aged 14-22yrs, writing and performing in any contemporary commercial style, from any country and in any language. Acts must submit two examples of original song material to enter, and selected acts will perform sets of up to 8 minutes in the first round on Sunday 09 July. The best writers continue to our live final that evening.

The stage of the Royal Pavilion Llangollen has played host to a starry line-up of popular music acts during the 76 years of the International Eisteddfod, including Status Quo, Van Morrison, The Stereophonics, McFly, Jools Holland, Kizzy Crawford, Elles Bailey, Shirley Bassey and The Manic Street Preachers.

Could you be the next act to join their ranks? Apply by 28 June to find out.

Entry Fee: £5 visit our main website to pay.

Call for singers to join 200-strong choir

A search has been launched for singers from across North Wales to join a massed choir of 200 voices to call for world peace. 

The performance at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod will pay tribute to the thousands of men, women and children massacred in the 1990s war in Bosnia and shine a light on the desperate plight of those currently suffering in war-torn Ukraine. 

The concert, called The White Flower: Into the Light, will be held at 8pm on Wednesday, July 5, just a few days before Srebrenica Memorial Day on July 11 to remember the 8,372 Bosnian Muslims who were massacred in in 1995. 

The White Flower motif has been adopted as a symbol of remembrance in Srebrenica and the 11 petals of the flower represent the day the genocide began. 

The theme of the concert was chosen to reflect the founding purpose of the Eisteddfod, an iconic event which was established in 1947 to promote peace in the aftermath of the Second World War. 

It will feature extracts from the haunting mass for peace, The Armed Man, by renowned Welsh composer Karl Jenkins as a centrepiece of the programme. 

Volunteers are needed to join the huge, specially formed choir, one of the biggest ever seen in North Wales. 

They will be accompanied by the acclaimed NEW Sinfonia orchestra that will be making its debut headline appearance at Llangollen Eisteddfod. 

NEW Sinfonia conductor Robert Guy has issued a call for singers of all ages  to sign up for the choir, with rehearsals due to get underway on May 13.  

He said there will be no barriers to taking part in this stirring occasion, adding: “It is not restricted to those with previous concert singing experience. We are opening it up to all comers, all they need is a love of singing.”    

At the heart of the choir will be a group of keen amateur singers who belong to the hugely successful NEW Voices project already established by NEW Sinfonia.  

Robert said: “It’s thanks to the huge success of our NEW Voices project that we already have a core group of enthusiastic amateur singers ready to step up and sing at Llangollen. But we need lots more singers, especially tenors and basses.  

“We will need 200 voices in all so we are urging anyone with a passion for singing and a desire to take part in this momentous event to sign up quickly now.”  

NEW Voices includes refugees who have settled in North Wales following conflicts or persecution in their own countries. They have found solace in singing together and made new friends through the common language of music. 

Among them is a young Ukrainian conductor Polina Horelova who with her young family was forced to flee her home city of Mariupol after the Russians invaded and razed the city.  

It is hoped Polina will conduct the traditional Ukrainian folk piece River Song during the concert of remembrance. 

Robert added: “We are proud that NEW Voices comprises such a wide mix of musical abilities and a range of nationalities. We encompass singers from Wales, Ukraine, Iraq, Iran, Algeria and El Salvador, among other countries.  

“For our White Flower: Into the Light programme we need sopranos, altos, tenors, basses and young voices too; we encourage everyone to come forward.  

“There will be regular rehearsals so people need not fear that they are not good enough or lack confidence. We are here to guide them through the whole wonderful process.” 

Rehearsals will be at two hubs, one in Tŷ Pawb community arts centre, Wrexham, and the other at St Asaph Parish Church. They meet on Saturday mornings from 10am-12 noon. There is also a facility for people to join rehearsals via Zoom video conferencing technology. 

Llangollen Eisteddfod Executive Producer Camilla King said: “We have been thinking about doing something on this theme and scale for some time but it is only this year that the various strands have come together to create what promises to be a magical evening. 

“It is heart-breaking to look back on the Bosnian war and realise that a whole cultural identity was under attack.  

“As well as the relentless murdering of the population, its entire heritage was targeted, artworks destroyed and cultural icons demolished. Now just two decades later very similar monstrosities are happening in Ukraine right now. 

“We wanted to put on a concert to highlight that humanity at its heart is so much better than this. We wanted to reflect the ethos of peace, friendship and cultural diversity which is at the very roots of the International Eisteddfod and is the reason why it was founded in the first place all those years ago in 1947. 

“It will be a thought-provoking, contemplative evening but it will also be uplifting as it highlights important themes of hope, togetherness and overcoming division.”  

Camilla added: “I am expecting demand for tickets will be high as there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a truly unforgettable evening. We invite everyone to come along and enjoy.” 

For more details about the concert at 8pm on Wednesday, July 5, visit: https://international-eisteddfod.co.uk/events/wednesday-evening/ and to sign up for the choir or get more information email at  voices@newsinfonia.org.uk and robert@newsinfonia.org.uk or call Robert Guy on 07725 050510. 

A new look for Llangollen 2023

If you’re reading this story you may have noticed that our website has had a colourful refresh! This new look represents our new branding, designed by North Wales-based design agency View Creative. 

Launched in May 2023, the re-brand has been just one part of a strategic review process that has been ongoing since 2019, ensuring that we update all areas of our business to be fit for the future. We’ve been working on the re-brand since September 2022 and numerous staff, board, volunteers, funders and a myriad of other friends and colleagues have been involved. 

As with all areas of our work, we remain committed to our founding principles: using the tradition of eisteddfodau, friendly competitions and showcasing the arts and culture, as a means of promoting international peace and friendship. We hope our fresh new look will help us achieve this whilst attracting new audiences and supporters, and aligning us with other leading international festivals. 

Hopefully one of the first things people will notice about the new branding is the vibrant colour palette. This has been collated through reviewing our photographic archive, inspired by the colours of international costumes, flags and parades over the last 76 years. Our visitors frequently tell us that the visual vibrancy and bold colour schemes of our events stick in their memory. 

Inspiration has also been drawn from our incredible town and its surroundings, looking at shapes and how these can be translated into typography and graphics. Shapes are inspired by iconic natural and man-made features in Llangollen, the original logo and the magnificent floral displays which are such a unique aspect of our Eisteddfod. Importantly, the brand works bilingually, balancing both our place in Wales and the wider world. 

The new brand makes use of the Welsh letter LL that for many conjures thoughts of Welsh language and place. Ll (upper case version: LL) is a digraph (two symbols that count as one letter), the 16th letter in the Welsh alphabet, and the start of over 400 place names across the country, including of course our incomparable hometown. 

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is a truly unique and incredible annual event. The 2023 edition runs Tuesday 4 – Sunday 9 July and comprises a buzzing outdoor site, world-class evening concert series, and diverse mix of traditional and contemporary music and dance competitions. To find out more see all events here.