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Sunday, June 30, 2024

Kaiser Chiefs rule over buzzing Pavilion audience


* Kaiser Chiefs pictures by Desh Kapur CUFFE & TAYLOR.

* Fans at the Pavilion. CUFFE & TAYLOR.

* Spielman opens for the Kaiser Chiefs. Desh Kapur 

* Royel Otis on stage. Desh Kepur 

It was another sensational date at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod last evening as Indie heroes Kaiser Chiefs rocked the Pavilion stage.


The multi-award-winning band made a triumphant return to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

And with almost two decades in the game and an extensive back-catalogue of stadium belters at their disposal, it was no surprise that the buzzing crowd was treated to a setlist filled with hits such as I Predict A Riot, Everyday I Love You Less and Less, Modern Way and Ruby.

Opening the night in style were Australian pop-rock duo Royel Otis and singer-songwriter Spielmann.

The headline shows are part of a new partnership between the Eisteddfod and Live Nation promoters Cuffe and Taylor. 


The series continues next Tuesday (July 2) with Tom Jones opening the iconic Core Week of the Eisteddfod.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Specially-written song marks centenary of Women's Peace Petition


* The Madri'gals sing during the exhibition launch at Dory Gallery.

Local ladies’ choir Madri’gals performed a specially-written song as part of a weekend of celebrations in Llangollen to celebrate 100 years of the Welsh Women’s Peace petition.  

Welsh Women’s Dream, to the tune of iconic Welsh folk song Myfanwy with lyrics by Moira Gleed of Llangollen, delighted people who heard it when they came along to the launch this morning (Saturday) of an exhibition centred on the petition at the Dory Gallery in Regent Street, which will run until August 11.

In 1923, the horrors of WW1 having galvanised a generation against conflict, the women of Wales organised an unprecedented campaign for world peace.

A total of 390,296 women - a number from Llangollen - signed a memorial petition through the Welsh League of Nations Union, said to have been seven miles long, calling for America to join and lead the new League of Nations and 2023 marked the centenary of the campaign.

Throughout 2023/ 2024, this once-forgotten story has been brought back to life thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with communities across Wales and beyond celebrating the women’s achievement and starting new conversations about peace today.

* The peace petition banner on show at the gallery. Next Wednesday afternoon it will be proudly carried in the Eisteddfod's Parade of Nations through the town centre.

The weekend of celebrations in Llangollen began last night (Friday) when St Collen’s Community Hall hosted a one-woman show, entitled Annie Cwrt Mawr, inspired by the experiences of Annie Hughes-Griffiths, who travelled across America with the petition in 1924.

Tomorrow (Sunday) Llangollen Museum is hosting a heritage walk around town, visiting homes and workplaces of notable women who signed the petition back in 1923/24. 

People can go along to hear about their fascinating research and learn more about life of local women in the 1920s.

* To book your free space or learn more, visit Eventbrite at: Taith Gerdded Treftadaeth / Heritage Walk Tickets, Sun, Jun 30, 2024 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite

The exhibition at the Dory Gallery centres around a new piece of work from local artist Bethan M Hughes named Thread of Peace, a 16m-long stitched piece inspired by the story of how the original petition pages would supposedly measure seven miles if placed end to end. The Dory Gallery is open every weekend.

* Thread of Peace, a 16m-long stitched piece inspired by the story of the original petition pages. 

Throughout 2024, Bethan has been running stitch sessions across North Wales, collecting contributions from over 150 people to this incredible piece of work. 

Thanks again to additional funding from Wales Arts international, a group of Women from America have also contributed to the project, participating in lively online sessions.

A spokesperson for the local organisers said: “We are so grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the opportunity to bring the work of so many communities together in this exhibition to celebrate this amazing story. We have such an exciting programme of events planned – everyone is welcome!”

* To learn more about the Women’s peace petition or get involved, visit:

Manics and Suede double-bill rocks the Pavilion

* Manic Street Preachers hit the stage. All pictures: CUFFE & TAYLOR

Manic Street Preachers and Suede kicked off their double-headlining UK and Ireland tour tonight with a hit-filled night in Llangollen.  

The indie music legends played to a capacity crowd at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod marking a triumphant third return for the Manic Street Preachers after they last headlined at the festival in 2017.

One of the most influential and iconic rock bands to have come out of Wales, The Manics shared the night with frontman James Dean Bradfield declaring: “It’s a privilege to be playing here. It’s the third time so thanks for having us back.”

Beginning their set with roaring crowd-pleaser Motorcycle Emptiness, the Welsh legends performed hit after hit including Everything Must Go, You Stole the Sun From My Heart, Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier and A Design For Life before ending the night with number 1 hit If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next.

Taking to the stage ahead of Manics was a fully energised set from Suede.  

Singer Brett Anderson was on form from the first note belting out hits including Trash, Animal Nitrate, Filmstar, and Metal Mickey. 

A rendition of first single The Drowners saw Anderson jump into the crowd. 

They ended the night with a rapturously-received Beautiful Ones and a farewell word from Anderson was: “Llangollen you have been beautiful.”

The all-star shows are part of a new partnership between the Eisteddfod and Live Nation promoters Cuffe and Taylor. 

The series continues tonight (Saturday) with Kaiser Chiefs.

* Suede opened the night.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Shock closure for Vale of Lllangollen Rotary Club

* The Facebook post in which the closure announcement was made.

The Vale of Llangollen Rotary is being wound up, according to a post on its Facebook page this afternoon (Friday).

Since it was set up in the autumn of 2022 the club, which always said it would “do things differently” has helped to revive a well-loved Llangollen event, staged two successful illuminated tractor runs and raised thousands of pounds for local charities.

But the Facebook post, in the name of club president Lee Todd, says: “It is with deep regret that we announce the closure of the Llangollen Rotary Club, effective July 1st.

“This decision was not made lightly, and we understand it will come as a disappointment to many. 

“After careful consideration and deliberation, the membership has determined that continuing operations is no longer feasible. 

* Club president Lee Todd.

“We are deeply grateful to all those who have supported the Rotary Club here in Llangollen. 

“We are particularly proud of our commitment to supporting local charities, and we are pleased to announce that all funds raised by Llangollen Rotary Club will be distributed to them in July. 

“While the Llangollen Rotary Club will be closing its doors, the spirit of service that has defined our organisation will live on through the continued work of these worthy charities. 

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all who have been a part of the Llangollen Rotary Club journey and thanks again for all your support.” 

Only last month, the club assisted with the revival of the annual Llangollen summer fete at Plas Newydd which had been halted by the pandemic in 2019.  The event raised £1,600 for a number of good causes.

The Rotary also organised two Christmas-time tractor runs, raising £6,000 and £1,600 respectively.

* The Rotary Club team at the summer fete. President Lee Todd is with town crier 'Chem' Cheminais on the right.  

Eisteddfod volunteers put finishing touches to the field

* Members of the floral committee outside their almost-complete tent.

With less than a week to go before the 2024 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod begins a small army of volunteers have been putting the finishing touches to the field.

And they've let llanblogger have these pictures to show the kind of work they've put in to create what promises to be the biggest and best festival in years.  

Things kick off with the traditional Children's Day and the debut Tom Jones concert on Tuesday and continue at that high level, with a host of competitions and activities inside the big tent and outside on the field, until Sunday when the Family Fun Day and Katherine Jenkins round things off in style the following Sunday. 

* Issy Richards sets out the merchandising display.

* Marketing's headquarters almost ready to go.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Contact me direct with your waste collection problems, says councillor

With no sign of any improvement in Denbighshire's ongoing waste collection crisis a Llangollen county councillor is encouraging people whose bin collections have been missed to get in touch with her direct.

Cllr Karen Edwards says she has been inundated with calls for help from people whose recyclable waste has not been picked up, sometimes since the controversial new collection system was introduced in the first week of June.

She added: "I have been able to help in a number of cases but if people don't tell me about I obviously can't assist them.

"If you have a problem with your recyclable waste collection please email me at: simply stating your address and postcode and how long you have been waiting for a collection and I will look into it for you."

Ysgol Dinas Bran offers parking for tomorrow's Eisteddfod concert

Ysgol Dinas Bran is offering people attending tomorrow (Friday's) Manic Street Preachers and Suede concert being hosted by the Eisteddfod at the Pavilion, parking spaces for £10 each on the school's own car park, not its playing field. Follow the one-way system. 

They say 100 spaces will be available from 4pm.

Railway children to return to Llangollen after 60 years

* Ysgol Carrog children leave the train at Llangollen station heading for the Eisteddfod’s Children’s Day in 2019.

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has teamed up with the town’s heritage railway to turn back time by more than 60 years for scores of eager schoolchildren.  

On Tuesday July 2, the first day of this year’s Eisteddfod, 160 pupils from three schools in the Dee Valley will board a train to transport them in style between Corwen and Llangollen railway stations to enjoy Children’s Day which is traditionally held on the first day of the core festival.

And that’s something that’s not happened since the summer of 1963 when the last ‘Eisteddfod special’ left Corwen before the line was closed as part of the infamous Beeching rail cuts the following year. 

Since then, dedicated railway volunteers have gradually re-opened the whole of the 10-mile-long line, with the final link being completed last summer when the new £1.25 million Corwen station was officially opened by Lord Hendy, chairman of Network Rail.      

This has enabled a party of youngsters plus their teachers to travel into Llangollen station on Tuesday July 2 to enjoy a fun-packed day at the Eisteddfod along with their counterparts from schools across north Wales.  

The three lucky Dee Valley schools involved in the time-shifting travel experience are Ysgol Bro Dyfyrdwy in Cynwyd,  Ysgol Caer Drewyn in Corwen and Ysgol Carrog.

Ian Lebbon, chairman of the Eisteddfod’s marketing committee who has organised the special excursion, said: “Llangollen and Corwen Railway has agreed to run the special service for pupils to attend our children day instead of travelling by coach.  Not only is this good for our environment but adds to the children’s excitement.  

"The last children to use this exact route would have been pupils from Llangollen’s Ysgol Dinas Bran travelling from Corwen in 1963, which means it has taken over 60 years to return such a service.  

"We did do our best to recreate the Eisteddfod special pre-pandemic in 2019 but that was before Corwen opened and we had to board the children at Carrog, the station further along the line.  It’s quite possible that some of our 2024 travellers may have had grandparents who used the service daily in 1963."

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has teamed up with Live Nation promoters Cuffe and Taylor for this year’s festival. Bryan Adams, Simple Minds and Paloma Faith are just some of the names who have already performed on the iconic stage at Llangollen Pavilion. 

A spokesperson for Llangollen and Corwen Railway said: “The railway is very proud to be involved in the International Eisteddfod again after a long absence of running trains to bring schoolchildren and other guests to this historic and prestigious event.  

"Our beautiful station at Llangollen has welcomed many visitors to the town since it first opened, some 162 years ago.  We hope all those who travel with us over the next few weeks thoroughly enjoy their time at the Eisteddfod and take away extra special memories of travelling to the event by train.”

The Core Eisteddfod starts on Tuesday, July 2 – as thousands enjoy a Children’s Day Concert in the Pavilion and a variety of performances throughout the day, on the vibrant outside stages.  

Tom Jones is will make his Llangollen debut that evening as the Eisteddfod embarks on its biggest and most ambitious festival yet.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

County council addresses concerns about waste collection service

Denbighshire County Council has addressed concerns raised by residents regarding its new waste and recycling collection service, according to a story in today's Denbighshire Free Press.

* For the full story, see: 

Eisteddfod's lunchtime choir recitals are back at St Collen's

* One of last year's international competitor choirs sings in the historic church of St Collen's.

Popular lunchtime recitals are back again at St Collen’s Church this year, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of some of the choirs competing at this year's Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

The 'Recitals at 1pm' will feature choirs from The Philippines, Singapore, Poland, USA, Czech Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe.  

The 6th century church is an iconic setting for the annual recitals that have attracted some of the best choirs from across the globe.  

Choir of the World winners Kammerchor from Manila won the Pavarotti Trophy last year, and performed at St Collen's. 

John Gambles, Vice-Chair of the festival, said: "We are delighted to be working again with Father Lee Taylor and the team at St Collen’s Church to host some of the world's most outstanding choirs.  

"St Collen’s is an amazing place and the acoustics really suit our competitors. Many of our past competitors told us how much they enjoyed preforming in our church, and we look forward to welcoming everyone there during our Core Eisteddfod Week.  

"The recitals are our way of giving back to the Llangollen Community, and to welcome people to our amazing historic church."

All of the performances are free, and will be held from 1pm - 2pm.  

The timetable is subject to change, and a collection will be held every afternoon for the Llangollen Eisteddfod Bursary Fund.

Choirs performing at St Collen's during the Core Eisteddfod week are:

* Wednesday / Dydd Mercher  3 July: GC Ensemble, Philippines + Voice of Singapore Children’s Choir.

* Thursday / Dydd Iau  4 July: Choir Collegium Medicum UMK, Poland + Cantemus Camerata, USA.

* Friday / Dydd Gwener 5 July: Červánek + Jitřenka, Czech Republic.

* Saturday / Dydd Sadwrn 6 July:  Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors, Trinidad + Tobago & Pathway Choir, Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Roadworks alert for Vicarage Road

Latest local roadworks alert from Causeway is:

Vicarage Road, Llangollen, Denbighshire

25 June - 25 June

Roadworks, Delays unlikely

Traffic management: Some carriageway incursion


Works location: OPPOSITE DELFRYN

Public facing description: has automatically assigned a category of Unclassified works to this Works based on the information available. Please note: Works Descriptions are not published by Scottish Power Renewable Energy.

Responsibility for works: Scottish Power Renewable Energy

Current status: Planned work about to start

Works reference: GY004522844RB

Delay to Four Great Highways scheme explained

* Work has stopped on the steps up to the Wharf.

Llangollen's Four Great Highways scheme has run into one great problem that's going to delay its completion until next month.  

People have been wondering why work on the project, funded by the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund, has been halted for weeks now.

But an update from the team in charge sent out yesterday (Monday) provides the answer - steel. 

Sent to all local stakeholders, it says: "As you may be aware, the project was initially due to complete by the end of this week.  

"Unfortunately, despite carrying out ground investigations prior to the works commencing, we have encountered unexpected ground conditions both in Lower Dee Mill Park and at the Wharf.  

* ... and at Lower Dee Mill Park. 

"This has resulted in a re-design of the foundations under the existing steps in the park, and a re-design of the foundations including the introduction of a steel sub-frame and concrete pile caps (a dense concrete pad that supports heavy structures in areas where the ground is soft) at the Wharf.

"The contractor is now waiting for the steel to be delivered for both areas, but this can only happen once it has been fabricated and has received the correct application of coatings before the material arrives on site.  The delivery is now planned to take place next week.

"Due to this delay, the planned completion date for the project is now end August 2024. However, please be assured the contractor is working very hard to complete some aspects of the scheme sooner if and where possible.  The signage and wayfinding aspect of the project will also be installed before the end of August 2024.

"We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience and disruption this may cause."

llanblogger complains to watchdog about county's new waste system

Llanblogger’s Phil Robinson has lodged an official complaint with Wales’s public services watchdog against Denbighshire County Council for the problems caused by the recent introduction of its new household waste recycling scheme.

And he has told the Public Services Ombudsman’s office in Cardiff, which investigates complaints and works to improve standards within public bodies, that he wants them to ensure that himself and the many other Denbighshire residents affected by these problems are provided with "the regular and efficient waste collection system which they pay for and deserve”.

In his online complaint form, submitted yesterday (Monday) morning, he says: “After much fanfare, the county council launched a new household recycling scheme, based on a Troliboc or a moveable stack of plastic boxes, rather than wheelie bins, on June 3.

“Since day one of the new system things have gone badly wrong, not just in my immediate area but also across the whole of the county.

“Many complaints have been aired on social media and verbally about irregular or totally missed collections of the Trolibocs, which include compartments for recyclable items such as paper, plastics and glass. Food waste must be left in a lidded orange bin and cardboard in a large blue plastic bag.

“This situation has been repeated throughout the county and residents are being told by the council on its social media that specified areas will receive the collection due to them on certain days. But in many cases, I understand, this information has been incorrect and collections continue to be missed.”

He adds: “We are also told that county councillors have been deluged with complaints about the situation and that staff from other departments of the council have been drafted in to help under-pressure refuse operatives.

“I complained directly about mine and my neighbours' missed collections directly to the council's chief executive, Graham Boase, last week but so far have received no response.

“This has become a major problem for residents of the county and one which shows no signs of being remedied. It smacks of maladministration of the worst kind.

“I therefore thought it was time to complain to the Ombudsman on behalf of myself and the many other people affected by this situation.”

And asked on the form what he would like to see the Ombudsman do to remedy the situation he answered: “To ensure that myself and the other Denbighshire residents affected by the problem are provided with the regular and efficient waste collection system which they pay for and deserve.”

The complaint has been officially logged complete with a reference number and llanblogger will keep readers posted of its progress.

* To make a complaint to the Ombudsman, go to:

Monday, June 24, 2024

People urged to attend public meeting over town's public toilets

* Under threat: the public toilets in Market Street.

The man who has been the driving force behind organising a public meeting to discuss the county council’s controversial plan to rid itself of Llangollen’s public toilets has stressed how vital it is for people to attend it.

In a bid to balance its budget, Denbighshire aims to close all the public conveniences it runs across the county and offer local town and community councils the chance to take them over.

This includes the toilets in Llangollen’s Market Street. But the Town Council has already ruled out a take-over on the grounds that it would be beyond its financial means and lead to a big increase on the amount it draws from the council tax.

The idea that a major tourist town like Llangollen stands to lose its busy public loos has sparked major protests on social media ranging over the past couple of months since the plan was revealed.

One of its leading opponents has been local resident Rod Holt who has been urging the Town Council to host a public meeting where all the sides of the argument can be aired.

Having secured the correct number of local electors required to spark it town clerk Gareth Thomas has now posted the necessary public notice.

This says the public meeting will be held at the Town Hall in Parade Street on Tuesday August 6, starting at 6pm.

It adds: “The purpose of the meeting is to address residents' and the business community’s concerns related to the transfer of ownership of the Llangollen public conveniences within potential for closure.”

Rod Hold said:  “It’s essential all shop/business owners and concerned residents, particularly those that posted support, attend this meeting so DCC are left in no doubt as to the feelings in Llangollen regarding the proposed closure of this vital facility.”

Llangollen county councillor Karen Edwards also urged people to attend the meeting.

She said: “Many people will now be aware that the county council has resolved to largely de-fund budgetary provision for operating public conveniences. This was part of a wider cost saving exercise with the aim of producing a balanced budget. 

"I have consistently and vehemently opposed the closure of the Market Street toilets and the response from officers of the council thus far has been to say that no decision has been taken. 

"The proposal was due to come before Communities Scrutiny Committee on September 5, prior to Cabinet for a decision later that month. However, that has now been deferred to October, due to the forthcoming election affecting the time-frame for adequate public consultation on the proposals. 

"I shall obviously attend the  public community meeting hosted by the Llangollen Town Council, to listen to the views of those attending. The Market Street toilets are a vital part of our public infrastructure and I hope that many residents and businesses are able to attend.” 

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Young composer with Llangollen links lands dream job

* Conductor Robert Guy. 

A talented young conductor who has often performed in Llangollen is following in the footsteps of his musical hero Sir Simon Rattle.

Robert Guy, 36, from Wrexham, says he’s hugely honoured to be appointed as conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra where Sir Simon, the legendary classical conductor, started out as a young percussionist.

Remarkably, Robert overcame childhood deafness to forge a successful career in music as a conductor, educator and entrepreneur.

Thanks to operations to widen his ear canals, by the time he was completely discharged from hospital at the age of 15 his hearing had been fully restored.

He is the co-founder with his composer brother Jonathan of NEW Sinfonia, the resident orchestra at the North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph which also has close links with Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

NEW Sinfonia also runs a community vocal ensemble NEW Voices, and an education programme, NEW Academi.

Last year Robert received the prestigious Hilary Tann Award for his outstanding contribution to Welsh classical music when royal composer Paul Mealor described him as one of the UK’s “finest young conductors”.

He will be picking up the baton at the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in September.

The orchestra offers the opportunity to perform alongside world-class soloists and conductors at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Members will be playing alongside the senior Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra at a concert in November, as well as taking part in workshops to support their musical development. 

In his early professional career Robert worked regularly with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as a viola player.

Until recently he was the Director of Ensembles at the University of Manchester and led their highly acclaimed Conducting Programme.

Robert said: “It is a great honour to have been appointed Principal Conductor to the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

“I was invited to work with the orchestra earlier this year, when I   prepared them for a special reunion concert conducted by  Sir Simon Rattle, and later my own concert at the Philharmonic Hall.

“Sir Simon is a giant of classical music and one of my all-time musical heroes so this really is my dream job.

“I hope this can act as a springboard working towards the orchestra's 75th Birthday in 2026.

“The orchestra has a special history and I am proud to be a part of it, working alongside a great team. 

“I am passionate about making classical music accessible to everyone and I would encourage all young people in Liverpool and the North West to sign up for an audition and be part of something very special for young people in the heart of Liverpool.”

Michael Eakin OBE, Chief Executive of Liverpool Philharmonic  was excited about Robert’s appointment.

He said: “We are delighted that Robert will be joining Liverpool Philharmonic. His passion for music and many years’ experience as a conductor and musician will bring a fresh energy to our Youth Orchestra and help to inspire these incredibly talented young musicians.

“The city’s young people are a central focus of our work. We provide regular musical training to 2,000 young people through Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Company and In Harmony and are delighted to welcome the next generation of talented musicians into our Youth Company this year.”