Cymru Culture

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Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

(September 01, 2012)

Llangollen: where Wales welcomes the world

Llangollen - Opening ceremonyOpening ceremony

For six manic days in July each year, Llangollen is bursting at the seams. Over two thousand performers from all over the world compete in a couple of dozen music and dance competitions. Add to that the judges, audiences, visitors just soaking up the atmosphere, the 'fringe' events and evening concerts, and that is a serious number of people for one small north Wales town; whose population outside the Eisteddfod period is around 3,500.


Llangollen - Terry WaiteTerry Waite, at the opening ceremony


Established in 1947, to promote promote international peace and friendship after Word War II, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod has grown to become one of the world's most important music and dance festivals. Keeping true to its roots, Terry Waite is the festival's President. 23 countries were represented in this, the 66th International Eisteddfod. Well over 500,000 competitors have performed on the Eisteddfod stage since 1947, and have been seen by over three million visitors.


Llangollen - Parade Llangollen - Parade


Some of the world's best choirs, dancers and performers come to the Eisteddfod, including Placido Domingo, whose first professional UK concert was at Llangollen, in 1968, and a young Luciano Pavarotti in 1955. Pavarotti's first singing success was at Llangollen. He was a member of Societa Corale G. Rossini Modena - a male voice choir that also included his father - which won first prize. He said later that this was the most important experience of his life, and that it inspired him to become a professional singer. Since 2005, the winner of the prestigious 'Choir of the World' competition has been presented with the Pavarotti Trophy. It was named in honour of Luciano, the great tenor, and Fernando, his father … and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their win.


Llangollen - Colborne CoirColborne Choir, USA


The Eisteddfod begins officially on a Tuesday, kicking off with the wonderfully colourful 'Parade of Nations'. The competitors, often in their national costumes and flying their flags, parade through the streets of Llangollen.

Competitions are arranged in the traditional Eisteddfod way, in three main categories: Choral; Solo (vocal and instrumental); and Folk Dance.

The ten dance competitions are usually the most colourful. These include individual, duo and group folk dance, and street dance. And overall winners are chosen for the titles: Adult Folk Dance Groups; Choreographed Folk Dance; and Children’s Folk Dance Groups, which has winners in both traditional and choreographed dance. Dancers in their traditional dress are a wonderful sight; their beautifully made costumes alone are worth the journey.

Solo vocal competitions are separated by age group; under 15; 15-20; and 21 and over.


Llangollen - John Owen JonesJohn Owen Jones performs onstage

As well as the competitions, concerts are held each evening during Eisteddfod week, often including world famous artists. This year's performances included Alison Balsom, Alfie Boe, Nicola Benedetti, Lesley Garrett, Karl Jenkins, John Owen Jones, and Wynne Evans. Previous years' performers include Michael Ball, Shirley Bassey, Kiki Dee, James Galway, Katherine Jenkins, Nigel Kennedy, Lulu, McFly, Only Men Aloud, Elain Paige and Bryn Terfel.


Wynne EvansWynne Evans brings a smile to Llangollen, ahead of the Sunday night Finale concert

Wynne Evans, who headlined the final night concert said, "I am ashamed to say I only visited the Eisteddfod for the first time last year and I was amazed by the broad spectrum of musical styles and cultures there. I can honestly say there is something for everyone."


Llangollen - Frank Hennessy - The HennesseysFrank Hennessy - The Hennesseys

As part of 'Folk Friday', a folk gig was held at Llangollen Herritage Railway Station for the first time. Singer, broadcaster and Llangollen International Eisteddfod Vice President, Frank Hennessy said: "Llangollen provides such a great opportunity to showcase the best of Welsh and Celtic folk music to an audience from the four corners of the globe. 'Folk Friday' promises the very best of emerging talent alongside more experienced performers like us playing the music that we love."


Llangollen - station gig Llangollen - station gig

Folk gigs on the Llangollen station platform


For the record, when the competitions came to a close on Saturday night, the Pavarotti Trophy was awarded to DelicaTon from Germany, crowned Choir of the World.

Roll on Llangollen 2013!



© 2012 Caregos Cyf. | Hawlfraint- All rights reserved


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