Town considers placing bid for top Euro music event

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

WREXHAM could make a bid to host one of Europe’s largest cultural festivals.

With the National Eisteddfod set to open in the town at the end of this month the council is already looking at the possibility of inviting the Urdd Eisteddfod to the area sometime between 2017-2020.

The idea has been warmly welcomed by Wrexham’s Plaid Cymru leader, who said it would be “hugely beneficial,” and the Chamber of Tourism and Trade, whose spokesman said it would help put Wrexham firmly on the map.

The idea is being put forward in a report by the council’s head of assets and economic development, Stephen Bayley, which will be considered by the executive board at its meeting tomorrow.

He says the council has been asked to consider an invitation from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to host either the National or Urdd Eisteddfod between 2017 and 2020.

The WLGA has formed a special partnership to fund both festivals on an annual basis using cash from the local government settlement.

This allows both events to travel to communities across Wales.

Locations have been agreed up to and including 2016 but the WLGA is now looking for suitable venues after that date.

Wrexham will stage the National Eisteddfod on land at Lower Berse Farm from July 30-August 6 and last hosted the Urdd in 1996.

Mr Bayley says it would therefore be reasonable to consider hosting the Urdd in one of the years after that and recommends board members to agree to a bid being made.

The Urdd, like the National, alternates between North and South Wales.

It is a week-long event held during Whit week, from Monday to Saturday.

This year it was held in Swansea and will be in Snowdonia next year.
Unlike the National, which attracts competitors of all ages, the focus of the Urdd is on youth.

Mr Bayley says: “It is a family friendly festival which celebrates the Welsh language and culture as well as showcasing young Welsh talent.

“As with the National Eisteddfod, hosting the Urdd Eisteddfod would boost the local economy and further enhance the Welsh cultural and linguistic legacy that this year’s eisteddfod leaves behind.”

Cllr Marc Jones, the council’s Plaid Cymru leader, said: “We are all hoping the National Eisteddfod will bring real benefits to the whole of Wrexham.

“I think hosting the Urdd would also mean huge benefits for the area and give people in North Wales a chance to see what events like this are like.”

Alex Jones, of Wrexham Chamber of Tourism and Trade, said: “I think this will help put Wrexham even more formally on the map.

“However, to bring the most benefit to everyone I think some of the events should be held in the town centre, such as Queens Square, and at Glyndwr University.”

Mr Bayley’s report says hosting this year’s National Eisteddfod will cost the council in the region of £100,000.

The International Musical Eisteddfod gets under way in Llangollen tonight with an appearance by 1960s pop sensation Lulu.

The star will be performing the opening concert which kick starts a week-long festival.

See full story in the Leader

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