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The Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru (International Folk Festival of Wales) is a unique combination of Welsh culture and international arts and music and is the largest and oldest festival of its kind in Europe. Each year North and South Wales alternate in hosting this amazing event.

From the 12th century, many eisteddfodau were held throughout Wales. Their patrons were Welsh noblemen and gentry. By the end of the 18th century, this had developed into one large folk festival. By the start of the 19th century, the famous Gorsedd of Bards (Bards Guild) became associated officially with the festival.

In 1880, the National Eisteddfod Association formed. The members became responsible for staging an annual festival to be held in North and South Wales. With the exception of interruptions during World War I and II (1914 and 1940), they have been successful. Every year, the festival attracts large numbers of locals and tourists from all the corners of the earth, and it is rated among the top ten arts festivals in the UK.

Llanelli is a small coastal town just west of Swansea. It is a beautiful example of rural and modern Welsh architecture and hospitality. There is plenty to do: parks, shops, and museums. Accommodation is plentiful, including bed and breakfasts and small local hotels and guest houses. It is recommended to book well in advance because of the expected flood of visitors for the Eisteddfod.

The Eisteddfod is located in Millennium Coastal Park, a park specially built to commemorate the new millennium. Parking is free of charge and there are plenty of restaurants and fast food outlets serving Welsh and international cuisine on site. The site is fitted for disabled people, including ramps where needed and washroom facilities. Public transportation also runs close by and is easy access for the disabled.

Most of the Welsh performers use their national language, a Celtic dialect, but translations are available. Other nationalities may also use their own tongues, though many Europeans use English, the international language. With over 200 competitors each year, mainly staged in the Main Pavilion, the week is filled with choirs, traditional dances, instrumentals, drama, mime, and bands of all sorts. There are also special activities to entertain younger visitors, including puppet shows and children's choirs and dancing.

A Theatre, a Literature Pavilion, a Dance Studio, a Rock and Pop Marquee, and a Welsh Learners Pavilion also host a wide range of activities and performances to entertain every taste. There are also locations for science and technology and sports.

The Eisteddfod also is host to smaller pavilions with enticing performances, workshops, classes, and demonstrations. Over 300 trade stands also offer their wares. Besides the theatrical and artistic venues, it is a good bet to check out some of the arts and crafts from the previous years' winners, which are on display all around the site. A variety of local ironwork, embroidery, and pottery are also on exhibit.

During the week long festival, the Main Pavilion also hosts ceremonial presentations. Poets and prose writers are among those honored and awarded competition prizes by the members of the Gorsedd of Bards. The ceremonies are very regal with the Bards adorned in colorful and spectacular robes. Some of the awards include a crown, prose medal, and a chair for outstanding literary achievement. There is also a special event to welcome home any ex-patriots visiting from abroad.

Considering the numbers the Pavilion holds, it is recommended to book tickets for the Eisteddfod at least one year in advance.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Eisteddfod Office,
15 Portland Place
Denbigh
Denbighshire LL16 3LF
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1745 818900
Fax: +44 1745 818902