If you’re a regular reader to the blog, then you will have seen that we mention the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. The Eisteddfod is an annual festival of music, dance and culture which showcases amazing talent in music, folklore and dance. Taking place from Monday 3rd until Sunday 9th July, we had the pleasure of going along at the weekend to see what it was all about.
Based in the idyllic location of Llangollen, you can see the hint of the festival on the approach to the grounds.
On the Saturday when we attended, the event was made up of the main stage which hosted the singing and dance contents that went on throughout the day. This was supported by a number of smaller stages all hosting some wonderful shows along with a large number of stalls, some of which sold goods, some food and others advertised services.
The good news though is there were plenty of stalls which had a little activities for children to do. Our favourites were from the Visit Wales team which had a great stall full of bales of hay, puzzles and sheep (!!) as well as the Welsh Government stall which had a fabulous wall to colour and sign – both of which the kids had a great time at!
That’s not all though. Saturday was a day of circus celebration and there were a number of pop up stalls and mini events for children to explore. We had a great time exploring a music tent where both kids loved playing with all the instruments.
Unfortunately though that was pretty much all we could find and my one criticism of the event would be was there wasn’t a great amount for younger children to do. Granted this is primarily an Eisteddfod Competition and therefore people were there to compete, but I expected a lot more for children to do to keep them entertained. However as mentioned, the stalls really picked up the slack with this so my two managed to find enough to keep them going for the 4 hours we were there!
As always when we go to big events we took our YippieYo with us, and as always it held up well. The Bear is of an age where she always walks but if we are out all day then she does get tired. The YippieYo is perfect for this as it allows her to hop and in out as she needs to. And for those people who are unsure whether it would be suitable for naps? Well, it didn’t stop my two! As you can see by the time 3pm came along, they were ready to give in and head home after a lovely day out.
As we live so close – only 30 minutes away – we headed back on Sunday night (childless this time!) for Llanfest which marked the end of the Eisteddfod. Headlined by the Manic Street Preachers and supported by Reverend and The Makers and Huw Stephens, it looked set to be a great show.
It didn’t dissapoint! They were running a little late so Reverend and The Makers didn’t take to the stage until gone 8pm but they were a great warm up act. It was a strange seating plan as usually at gigs you would have standing at the front and seating around the sides in an arena but here the front was all seated with standing at the back. This I think make for an unusual set up for the warm up acts as usually they would bounce off the crowd at the front who are already standing and bopping along, not those people seated and chatting amongst themselves. The band didn’t let it put them off though and they put on a cracking show.
Unfotunately, due to the late start it looked like Huw Stephens was cut from the line up as his DJ decks were quickly whisked away and his role was reduced down to a hasty introduction to the main event.
Now back in the day I loved a bit of Manics but I hadn’t really kept up to date with them in recent years but I have to say wow, what a show. They are so evidently seasoned rock stars that sounded amazing and were just so comfortable in what they were doing. They whipped the crowd into a frenzy more than once and even had the seated lot at the front standing – much to the very evident annoyance of the two sets of couples sat alongside us!
Such a great evening though, made even more special by the fact it was a rare one to one date night with just the two of us. It was great to get out, reconnect and rediscover our love of live music. It had been far too long since we had been able to get out to a live gig!
So in summary. All in all from what we saw of it, this was a wonderful event. We only experienced a few days of it but from what we saw it was professional, well organised and a pleasure to attend.