Monmouthshire’s National Eisteddfod starts this evening on Castle Meadows, Abergavenny and continues until Saturday 6th August. It’s over 100 years since the National Eisteddfod was last in Monmouthshire in 1913 – the county has been looking forward to this for a long time and it’s going to be memorable. Local people and businesses will benefit fromthe influx of visitors to the county.  The economic effect on the area during the week is estimated to be between £6 to £8 million and the council has worked with local businesses and communities to ensure that Monmouthshire maximises the potential benefits that hosting the Eisteddfod presents.

Preparations have been underway for well over a year when Caldicot Castle was a magical setting for the Proclamation ceremony that the Monmouthshire community got involved in – over 800 people joined the celebrations in the town centre with choirs and local dance groups entertaining the crowds.

This really is Monmouthshire’s National Eisteddfod and many local businesses, community groups and colleagues have worked hard to ensure the region enjoys all the cultural, Welsh language and financial benefits that a National Eisteddfod offers:

 

    1. Communities have been busily raising money and sharing the excitement of the Eisteddfod across the County for over 18 months. Their tremendous efforts have raised £200,000 through a mixture of fundraisers including raffles, black tie events, quiz nights, afternoon teas and children’s parties.
    2. Community groups and schools have taken part. Many Monmouthshire schools have painted the beautiful flowers that are decorating the area. Monmouthshire’s children are entering the flower ceremonies, are dancing, singing, clog dancing and performing. Community groups are taking part performing, making crafts and running the shop. For example, the Friends of Castle Meadows have commissioned a photography competition, local groups such as Welsh Connection and Crafty Women have developed a craft shop and local fisherman and soft toy providers have joined to share their skills and make this a memorable event.
    3. Abergavenny Food Festival and Arts Alive Wales have teamed up to create the beautiful artwork flying overhead in Monmouthshire on the Maes.   Their creative partnership, supported by Culturestep funding from Arts and Business Cymru, has supported Theatre Designer Bettina Reeves and community volunteers to make two large scale graceful willow sculptures of Blodeuwedd and Owl, to soar above the heads of visitors to the Monmouthshire tent.
    4. Local businesses have been involved in the entire area – from welcoming visitors to stay at their accommodation, to developing the Country kitchen, designing our artwork, commissioning our photography and much more.
    5. Staff and volunteers in our Tourist Information Centres (TICs) have been busy finding and booking accommodation for eisteddfod visitors.
    6. Monmouthshire Ambassadors are welcoming visitors at key arrival points in Abergavenny, at the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Tithe Barn and on the Maes and provide visitor information.
    7. Many MCC colleagues have been involved in designing the area and have created a full schedule of events on and off the site. Monmouthshire staff are running a comprehensive bus service to transport visitors to the site, have upgraded the town centre, secured access to various sites, planted many beautiful, wild flowers to welcome visitors, worked to keep our roads open and much, much more.

There is an extensive programme of activity happening all week at Monmouthshire on the Maes, together with a varied fringe programme of events in Abergavenny’s Market Hall and across the county. It promises to be a tremendous week with many things to look out for:

 

    1. The ‘Cornel Cwtch’ stage will entertain visitors throughout the week with performers from across Monmouthshire. The acts are really varied from the ‘My Day, My Life’ community group, to book readings, cultural and history stories, plays, DJs, bands and the awarding of Green Flag status to various Monmouthshire sites. Each morning the stage will be used as a rehearsal space for acts on the main pavilion for a ‘behind the scenes’ opportunity to see great performers rehearsing.
    2. There’s a giant sandpit and craft area for creating works of art and a craft shop to buy gifts made by local people. On Monday 1st August artists who will be re-creating Monmouthshire castles in sand.
    3. The Vale of Usk Country Kitchen is the place to experience award-winning food and drink with chef demonstrations, masterclasses, wine tastings, workshops and a chance to buy local produce.
    4. Try something new and have fun in the ‘Give it a Go Zone’ featuring special guests from Welsh Cycling, Welsh Rugby Union, Tennis Wales and Circuit of Wales supported by Monmouthshire Outdoor Education, Youth and Sport Development Teams. This area includes a climbing wall, crazy golf course, tennis court and cycle track. On Friday and you’ll have a chance to see the Davies Cup Trophy on Friday and an opportunity to meet members of the GB Davis Cup Team. The WRU will have the Under 20’s junior Six Nation Grand Slam Cup on site all week. A number of Under 20’s Welsh Squad players will be there on Wednesday 3rd August.

Peter Fox, Leader said ‘I am sure everyone is as excited about the week ahead as I am. The Eisteddfod is a means to promote Monmouthshire as a tourism destination both before and during the week. The county will benefit tremendously from the economic benefits of this event. Thousands of people will have the experience of a lifetime.  Here’s to a fantastic National Eisteddfod here in Monmouthshire. I look forward to welcoming visitors this week and I’m sure they will want to return to our beautiful county in the future.’