The Llangollen Eisteddfod Archive

Welcome to the archive of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

The archive is a unique repository of the history of the Eisteddfod, its triumphs, tribulations and secrets.

Through this website you will be able to see, read and listen to what happened, often through the words and voices of those who made it happen. You will make the journey accompanied by expert comment and explanation.

The letters, documents, objects, images and audio-visual material in the archive cover everything since the first glimmerings of the concept in 1943. They tell the stories of the competitors representing 140 countries and regions who have taken part over the years, and the volunteers, hundreds of whom have worked each year to make the festival possible.

They give the background to the well-known highlights, such as the Royal visits, the celebrity concerts, the 1951 Festival of Britain, the 2004 application for the Nobel Peace Prize. They reveal the lowdown on how the festival overcame potential disasters, like the night the marquee nearly blew down in a gale. They recount the way the festival has been broadcast and promoted since the first BBC microphones and Movietone news cameras in 1947.

We try through to tell the story of the Eisteddfod’s 75 years to convey the excitement of the music and dance which has been the hallmark of Llangollen, as well as the extraordinary conviviality of the event. We hope our efforts do justice to the work of the thousands of volunteers whose efforts have made the festival possible, and to the contributions of the competitors which have so enriched this pocket of the lovely Dee Valley.

What the archive also tells us is that the early Eisteddfod was truly unique: no-one had previously envisaged or experienced its blend of internationalism and music making. Its continuation over seven decades is a remarkable achievement by a small Welsh community.

Help us create history!

We welcome feedback, comments and constructive criticism, all of which can be done through the get involved page. But please note that this website is just being launched. Many aspects of the Eisteddfod are not yet included. If your favourites – such as the flowers or the parade – aren’t yet covered, they’ll be there soon.