First International Eisteddfod poster

Contributed by Llangollen Museum

Poster for the First International Eisteddfod, held in Llangollen in 1947. Image copyright Llangollen Museum.

The motto of the International Eisteddod is "Blessed is a World that sings. Gentle are its songs".The Llangollen International Eisteddfod was set up in 1947 to try to heal, through music and friendly competition some of the wounds caused by the Second World War. Similar thinking led to the establishment of the Edinburgh International Festival at this time. Harold Tudor, a journalist for the British Council and a native of Coedpoeth heard a boy singing a Welsh hymn as he walked in a country lane. This seemingly trivial incident inspired him to try to establish an international event in Wales. For personal reasons Mr Tudor approached the people of Llangollen with the idea. It gained support at once. The first International Eisteddfod of 1947 was a great success, but the fact that it has been held every year since then is, to use Dylan Thomas's description, a miracle. Fourteen nations were represented and the event cost £6,000. Today the event costs hundreds of thousands of pounds and there are thousands of competitors. In 1955 Pavarotti performed with his local choir and returned 40 years later to sing on the Eisteddfod stage. Today it is considered one of the most important amateur music competitions in the world, uniting countries through song and dance.

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