National Eisteddfod: Fixed bases would be a 'disaster'

Pavilion and Gorsedd The National Eisteddfod is funded to the tune of about £500,000 by the Welsh government

Related Stories

The chief executive of the National Eisteddfod says it would be a "disaster" if the event adopted plans to switch between two permanent bases and temporary venues.

A working group set up by the Welsh government has suggested the change.

But Elfed Roberts said with figures showing a drop in Welsh language communities, the need to travel was even more relevant.

The task-and-finish group is due to report to ministers in September.

Last week, figures from the 2011 census showed there had been a fall in the number of places where over half the population could speak Welsh.

There are 157 council wards with over 50% of residents who are Welsh speakers in 2011, compared to 192 in 2001.

In a letter to eisteddfod supporters, Mr Roberts said: "We know that the group has discussed and considered having the eisteddfod on two permanent sites, and this concerns us greatly.

Start Quote

We feel that this would halve the influence and contribution the festival makes and this would be a disaster in our time”

End Quote Elfed Roberts National Eisteddfod chief executive

"We feel that this would halve the influence and contribution the festival makes and this would be a disaster in our time.

"Not only would the time the festival travels be halved, and so its influence and contribution, but there is a real danger that the eisteddfod faithful, who attend the event regularly, would get fed up attending the same place too often.

"As we face one of the most challenging times for the Welsh language ever, the role of the travelling eisteddfod is more relevant for us as a country than it was in the past."

Economic impact

The 12 members of the task-and-finish group, who include Hay Festival director Peter Florence, Lord Elis-Thomas AM and BBC broadcaster Roy Noble, are looking at nine topics.

The biggest proposed change would mean having a four-year cycle for the festival.

In two of those years, the eisteddfod would be held at permanent bases, possibly in north west Wales and west Wales, while in the other two years it would alternate between temporary homes in north and south Wales as it currently does.

The group will examine possible tourism and economic benefits of such an arrangement.

Other areas of discussion include separating the organisation of the eisteddfod week from the organisation of the competitive events during the festival, maintaining volunteer commitment, and maximising media impact in the digital age.

They will also consider other sources of income for the eisteddfod, sharing resources with the Urdd youth organisation, increasing visitor numbers - including non-Welsh speaking families - and better assistance to new and English-speaking visitors.

The eisteddfod is due to be held in Denbighshire this year.

The festival receives about £500,000 from the Welsh government.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Lotus 97T driven by Elio de AngelisBeen and gone

    A champion F1 designer and other notable losses

  • A poster of Boris Nemtsov at a rally in St Petersburg, Russia, 1 MarchWho killed Nemtsov?

    Theories abound over murder that shocked Moscow

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.