Llangollen Eisteddfod's anger as Faenol Festival receives £240k

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

BOSSES at Llangollen International Eisteddfod are demanding to know why – just a week after they were denied £50,000 of external funding – another festival in North Wales has reaped a £240,000 windfall.

The shock announcement came yesterday that Faenol Festival, run by Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel and due to be staged in Bangor from August 27-29, has just been awarded the huge funding boost by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).

In stark contrast, a week ago the Arts Council of Wales dropped the bombshell news that the Llangollen event would not be receiving the £50,000 it had bid for from next April.

Eisteddfod chief executive Mervyn Cousins said: “The festival had accepted the sad news that festivals in Wales would lose further funding from the Arts Council of Wales, but felt very positive in receiving funding from other sources.

“However, today's contradictory news of the Faenol’s windfall has baffled us greatly.”

He added: “We definitely have many questions to ask but for this week Llangollen, as it has for the last 64 years, is celebrating in true festival style.

“We have no clash with the Faenol as we are two completely different festivals with two completely different objectives, but myself and my board will definitely take this further once we have delivered yet another successful international week of celebrations.”

A WAG spokesman said: “The funding for the Faenol Festival comes from the assembly government’s major events budget, the objectives of which are clearly outlined in the major events strategy.

“Which organisations the Arts Council for Wales chooses to fund is a matter for them.

“The Cabinet has agreed the Welsh Assembly Government's Major Events Strategy and a number of events are being supported in line with clearly established criteria.
“In relation to these events the government is acting as a ‘time-limited strategic sponsor’ rather than a recurring grant giving body.”

The spokesman added: “On Monday the Minister announced that the major events unit would also be providing financial support to the Spirit of Llangollen event, which will help further enhance the Llangollen Eisteddfod.

“We have been holding further discussions in relation to the wider strategic vision of local stakeholders to develop the Faenol Estate as a major strategic events venue for North West Wales and how best to deliver this broader vision effectively.

“This would mean that the Faenol Festival would be among many high profile events to be held at the estate.

“The recent BBC Radio 1 Big weekend event further promoted the venue as an ideal location and demonstrated the very considerable potential for the future.

“These discussions are ongoing and will clearly have a bearing over future funding.”

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