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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Eisteddfod goes back to black


* Selwyn Evans, Treasurer of Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has staged a dramatic reversal of fortune - by making a profit for the first time in five years and providing a £1.5 million boost to the local economy.

While other festivals have struggled, the world-renowned event defied the recession and bad weather to record a profit of £22,668 after a number of difficult years.

Meanwhile, advance sales for this year's International Eisteddfod are already breaking previous records.

Last year’s event attracted 36,000 people and with an average daily visitor spend of £42 that adds up to a massive £1.5 million cash injection to the local economy.

The result has been welcomed by Eisteddfod treasurer Selwyn Evans who said: “This is very encouraging after a number of difficult years and the fact that it was achieved against the odds is also significant.

“Not only did we manage it in the worst economic downturn in our 67-year history we also did it in a very wet week in the middle of the wettest summer on record.

“That did affect daytime ground admissions in particular but we managed to more than maintain our concert attendance figures.

“That was down to the extremely hard work of the staff, one only of whom was full time, and our dedicated army of volunteers and helpers.

“Our aim now is to improve on this result in 2013 and continue improving in subsequent years and to do that every line of income and expenditure will continue to be carefully monitored in order to achieve our aim.

“But what we will also do is continue to back our Musical Director and his plans for the future and to maintain the standards of our superlative concert lineup and the wonderful atmosphere that the Eisteddfod always creates on the field and in the town.”

This year’s Eisteddfod starts on Tuesday, July 9, and runs until Sunday, July 14, when a concert by keyboard king Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra will be the climax to six days of music and dance and competitions.

Also in a star-studded line-up are a Strictly Cuban evening featuring Strictly Come Dancing stars James and Ola Jordan and the music of Havana’s Buena Vista Social Club.

Concerts include a performance of Verdi’s Requiem on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth and performances from harpist Claire Jones, tenor Noah Stewart, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie as well as Only Men Aloud on the Choir of the World competition night, Saturday, July 13.

Advance sales for this year’s concerts are going very well and Selwyn Evans added: “In just four weeks we have sold £170,000 worth of tickets and are more than halfway to our target for the year.

“The Jools Holland concert is already over half sold and there is also lots of demand for the other events, especially Strictly Latin and Only Men Aloud.

“That’s very poitive and we’re really pleased with the results after a few very tough years.

“To have turned it round the way we have is a wonderful achievement.”

The 67th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod kicks off on Tuesday, July 9, with International Children’s Day including interactive performances from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the colourful procession of the competitors to the Royal International Pavilion, led by Eisteddfod President Terry Waite, CBE, the former Archbishop’s Special Envoy and a long-time supporter.

The evening concerts start with Tuesday night’s Carnival of Nations featuring four of Wales’s finest male voice choirs, the Rhos Orpheus, Cor Godre’r Aran, Cor y Brythoniaid and the chart topping Fron Choir, performing on the 60th anniversary of the historic visit of Germany’s Obernkirchen Choir. They will be joined by the St Melodians Steel Band, from Trinidad and international competitors.

Wednesday night will feature An Evening with Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie who will be joined by the rising American tenor Noah Stewart and harpist Claire Jones, former official harpist to HRH the Prince of Wales, along with the Eisteddfod Orchestra and the Santo Tomas Choir from the Philippines, twice Choir of the World winners.

Thursday will be Strictly Cuban, a celebration of Latin dance rhythms with James and Ola Jordan and the Buena Vista Social Club while Friday will be VERDI 200, a performance of Verdi’s Requiem by to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth with Claire Rutter, Mirouslava Yordanova , Gwyn Hughes Jones, Jonathan Lemalu and accompanied by the Eisteddfod Orchestra conducted by Andrew Greenwood.

Saturday is Choir of the World which this year will also feature Only Men Aloud, Last Choir Standing TV winners while for the first time dance will be teamed with choral music on Saturday night as the Eisteddfod’s top two dance troupes dance off for the new Dance Champions 2013 Trophy.

On Sunday keyboard king Jools Holland will bring the house and the curtain down with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and a special guest before the traditional firework show finale.

Tickets for this year’s concerts are general sale and are available from the website at www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk

For more information on this year’s event check out the website or go to Facebook at www.facebook.com/llangollen

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