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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Experts roped in to spread Eisteddfod word


* Llangollen International Eisteddfod banners are placed above the railway line with the help of local company R3 Safety & Rescue using their team of abseilers. Paul O'Sullivan, left, secures the banner with help from Chris Heath, watched by Eisteddfod marketing chairman Ian Lebbon, front right, and railway manager Kevin Gooding.
A team of high ropes experts from Llangollen have swung into action to help spread the word about the town’s iconic music festival.
The intrepid operators swayed out over the River Dee in the town centre to fix a four metre advertising banner to the Llangollen Railway Station bridge to get the message out about next month’s International Musical Eisteddfod.
Now thousands of travellers on the famous steam railway will see that the famous festival runs from Tuesday, July 5, to Sunday, July 10, what’s on and where to get tickets.
It’s also in clear view of the even greater numbers of visitors to the picturesque town who stroll across the famous Dee bridge, one of the Seven Wonders of Wales, and stop to admire the spectacular view upstream.
The idea came from Eisteddfod Marketing Chairman Ian Lebbon who said: “It’s a great example of different organisations in the town working together.
“We asked Llangollen Railway if we could put the banner up on their pedestrian bridge across the tracks and they agreed and we asked our neighbours at R3 Safety and Rescue who rent an office at the Eisteddfod site and they came up with the high ropes expertise to put it up safely.
“The railway station is a prime location and they’ve also allowed us to put more banners up on the stations along the route at Berwyn, Glyndwyfrdwy, Carrog and Corwen.
“We’re very grateful to the railway and to R3 for their help – in a small town like this it’s important that we all work together.”
Llangollen Railway, a heritage line run by enthusiast, operates a mainly steam service the ten miles to Corwen and back with over 1,000 passengers a week during busy periods.
Kevin Gooding, the Railway’s General Manager, said: “We will have thousands of visitors passing through the station so it is in an ideal spot.
“We benefit from the Eisteddfod because the TV often bring artists and performers down here to film them and so we get our share of publicity from that.
“We had Prunella Scales and Timothy West here last year for a cream tea because they were filming on the canal and the next thing we were being inundated with requests from round the country for cream teas.”
The man hanging out over the waters of the fast-flowing Dee was R3 Safety and Rescue Managing Director Paul O’Sullivan watched by Operations Director Chris Heath.
He said: “We’re a safety and rescue training provider and we work across the UK. Ian asked if we’d help out with this and we’re delighted to do so.
“We teach all the emergency services a range of skills including mountain and water rescue and we use the River Dee and even the Royal International Pavilion which is ideal for our high ropes work so we were happy to get involved.”
Tickets sales for the concerts at this year’s Eisteddfod, which begins on Tuesday, July 5, are already going well, especially for the opening night when superstar Katherine Jenkins gets the programme off to a sensational start as she sings Bizet’s Carmen.
Wednesday will be International Children’s Day and will include choral and dance competitions and also a new Under 16s solo competition while the evening will feature the Voices of Musical Theatre.
The great Bryn Terfel will headline the 70th Classical Gala Concert on Thursday evening while the day will see the crowning of the Children’s Choir of the World.
Friday will celebrate Rhythms of the World and will be a feast of music and dance from the best of the Eisteddfod’s international competitors with the Dance Champions of the World competition climax at the evening concert.
It will open with a Caribbean Carnival Extravaganza, followed by the International Peace message delivered by Theatr yr Ifanc, Rhosllannerchrugog.
In a change of the scheduling Friday will also see the Parade of Nations, led by Eisteddfod President Terry Waite, switched from Tuesday in anticipation of bigger crowds and more competitors being present.
Saturday is dedicated to the top choirs and concludes with the Choir of the World competition for the Pavarotti Trophy while Sunday sees the Eisteddfod let its hair down for Llanfest before the climactic final concert.
To book tickets and for more details on the 2016 festival go to the website at www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk

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