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Thursday, May 9, 2013

National eisteddod "could be held outside Wales"

A group examining the future of the National Eisteddfod has been urged to consider taking the iconic festival to a location outside of Wales.
A National Eisteddfod Task and Finish group chaired by Roy Noble was established last autumn by the Welsh Government to make recommendations on the modernisation of the festival and is taking public evidence until May 10.

As part of its work the group has asked for suggestions from the public, organisations and stakeholders with an interest in the future of the event.

In a joint statement, Clwyd South AM and MP, Ken Skates (pictured right) and Susan Elan Jones, said the festival, which has been held outside of Wales on seven occasions, but not since 1929, was a strong cultural tool with which to brand Wales and its language to the wider world. 
The group is due to report its findings in September, following this year’s Eisteddfod.
Mr Skates said: "The National Eisteddfod is as popular and important in 2013 as it ever has been. We were lucky enough to have the festival in Wrexham in 2011 and it helped bring in a much needed cash boost of over £1m for local businesses. This year’s festival in Denbigh is shaping up to be a similar success.

“What we should do now is use its strength and pulling power, even if it is just once every ten years, to take the Eisteddfod outside Wales to help more people understand Wales, its language and its culture.
“The Eisteddfod could be taken to Liverpool or to London.  They both have very strong cultural connections with Wales and a significant expat community with a thirst for Welsh culture.  
“Such a move would be in keeping with the recent modernisation of the National Eisteddfod with the addition of Maes B and decision to allow alcohol to be served on the festival site. 
“Given the challenges thrown up by the 2011 census which showed a fall in the number of places where over half the population could speak Welsh, we have to innovate to keep the National Eisteddfod the strong cultural brand that it is.”
Susan Elan Jones said: "So long as there are no changes to the Welsh rule and there is a serious bid from an expatriate Welsh community, I certainly think this idea should be considered.
“I know people will have different views on this subject, but I think there are real advantages in terms of supporting families who are committed to keeping the Welsh language and culture alive outside of Wales. 
“There are far too many examples of the Welsh language being lost in families because they live outside of Wales for a time.  This initiative could be a real boost to them.
“It would also be an excellent way of showcasing Wales and promoting Welsh as a living, and ultimately I hope, growing, community language."
The Eisteddfod has been held in Liverpool three times before in 1884, 1900, and 1929.  It has also been held in Birkenhead (1879) and London (1884 and 1909)
The 12 members of the task-and-finish group are due to report to Welsh Ministers in September.  The festival receives around £500,000 of funding from the Welsh Government.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to seeing Londoners raise money over three years to welcome the event to Primrose Hill.
    Maybe the Notting Hill Carnival could come to Carrog as well.