Where else in the world can you come across more than 27 different nationalities in a small town with a population of just of 3500 souls outside of a Untied Nations Convention? Llangollen is the place you need to be! Every year since 1947 this small, beautiful town has played host to musicians and dancers from around the world promoting a message of inclusiveness and peace to all. That message is all the more important today, and it is evident everywhere you go in the Eisteddfod. The ‘Maes’, welsh for filed, is alive with music and dance. Everywhere you look there are schools, colleges, university and professional singers competing and performing. From Malaysia to South Africa, Russia to Wales.
Aunty and I arrived early to a vibrant and colourful Maes. Within 10m of the entrance there was a small pavilion with a German Male Voice choir signing one of my favourite sea shanties.
And the day got better. We had booked our seats in the main pavilion which turned out to be perfectly placed to hear and see everything. We heard choirs competing from Singapore to South Africa to Canada. We watched spellbound to folk dance groups competing from India, Malaysia and Ireland. Then outside everyone did it all over again in the various small stages. They were loving the performance, and we loved watching them.
To cap it all we then watched everyone parade through town. And they were still singing and dancing all the way. This is a major festival, having attracted major international stars including Pavarotti. And this year includes Van Morrison and the Kaiser Chiefs. The only question I have is “Why did we wait so long to come here?”. Get yourselves organised and get here next year. Though this being Wales I can’t guarantee the wall to wall sunshine we had this year! And don’t forget there is also the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Pontcysyllte Viaduct and part of the Offa’s Dyke Walk.