The time of year is nearly upon us when the small valley town of Llangollen will once more echo to the thousands of voices and glitter with the butterfly colours of myriad nations attending The International Eisteddfod (July 1-7). How fitting that, 75 years after the decisive act that heralded the beginning of the end of the Second World War, this festival, initially founded in 1947 to bring together all nations in dance, music and song, should be celebrated once more.

In 1947 a committee met and, for once, made the right decision that was to mark the birth of a remarkable annual event that has taken place every July, ever since, on a relatively small field in the beautiful vale of Llangollen. That event is the International Musical Eisteddfod that was to bring together all nations in the common language of music and dance after a long and bloody World War.

Many great performers have graced the Pavilion stage over the years including the late, great Luciano Pavarotti and Wales' own Bryn Terfel and Shirley Bassey and, in more rent years, the 2019 Queen's honours award recipient, Alfie Bow.

As in previous years the activities commence on Tuesday and events during the day will take place on three stages, The S4C Stage, The Penddol Stage and The Amphitheatre Stage. Wednesday is the day when the streets come alive with all the competitors parading through in their national costumes. Although, I understand that, there will be 'Open Mic' opportunities on the maes, I will stick to the published programme and try to highlight those artistes of an acoustic folk/roots persuasion that, I the main, is the remit of this column.

On the main stage on Thursday at 7.30pm there will be an International Celebration with Jamie Smith's Mabon, a band who celebrate their own 20th anniversary and a new live album to mark the occasion. Tickets, at £20/£27 each can be booed through the box office on 01978 862001. On Friday, at 7.30pm it is the turn of The Gypsy Kings, the International, high octane, multi award winning salsa, pop and flamenco outfit from the south of France. They are of Spanish Romani ancestry, and it shows in their exiting music, I guarantee you will find it impossible to keep still and may even find yourself dancing in the aisles!! Tickets, at £35/£42 each are, again available through the box office as above. On Saturday the main attraction is, The Choir of the World with Catrin Finch, concert at 7.30pm. Catrin has rightly been named 'The Queen of Harps' and her connection with royalty goes back to the year 2000 when she was the official Royal Harpist to the Prince of Wales, a post she held for four years. During this time, she played at The Royal Palaces and for royalty all over the world. It is therefore more puzzling that it took until the year 2016 for Catrin's first appearance at Llangollen since 2002, surely an oversight by the Eisteddfod committee that should be addressed in future as she is truly one of Wales' musical treasures. Tickets, at £23/£30 each, can be booked through the box office.

The Welsh duo, Brenig will also be making an appearance On the Field on Saturday, this being their third successive year at the event and the local North Wales band, The Glaaswalkers, will also be on the Maes on Friday.

I am sorry I have no further information for you, and it is a matter of regret that, again, few local bands or folk performers, to the best of my knowledge, have been included but maybe next year?

As usual you can pay at the turnstiles on the day and it is worth going along just to soak up the atmosphere of this charismatic event but try not to soak up too much of the rain!!! The Eisteddfod runs all week, so please try to get along and take in the unique atmosphere of this colourful and, above all, friendly celebration of the Worlds music and dance.

There is a busy pre-Eisteddfod weekend ahead of us with a trio of gigs to enjoy tonight (June 28). At Rhyl Folk Club, on the Coast Road, the band Rip Roaring Success seem guaranteed, by their name alone, to pull in the punters at 8pm. whilst, in the Wirral, Heswall Folk Club have, as their guest, Lancashire singer and musician, Mark Dowding. Mark, a long-time admirer of the late and legendary traditional singer, Harry Boardman, is a fine exponent of Lancashire songs and his home county has certainly produced a treasure trove of them in the past. The excellent Brian Jones will, again, be playing the resident spot. Finally, our triumvirate of gigs closes with the latest Soundbox event in Chester. This time it is the Soundbox Summer Showcase taking place Upstairs at the Lock Keeper, Canalside, Frodsham Street, Chester at 7.30pm. As befits these showcase occasions there will be a host of talented local singers and musicians from Chester and the surrounding areas including, The Glaaswalkers (see the Eisteddfod review above), acoustic and roots duo Lexicon Ferry, Paul Mannion and the fast rising, Vicar's Son. The hosts for the evening will be Lock Keeper regulars, Rose Price and Martin Medina. All the above events are pay on the door.

On Saturday (June 29), as part of the week-long Ruthin Festival (June 22-29) there is a Top of the Town event with the busy folk rock band, Merry Hell, topping the bill, another date on their Anthems to the Wind UK tour 2019. See the festival website for more details.

Moving into next week, the local North Wales band, The Final Nails, are the gusts at The Dragon's Breath Folk Club, Treuddyn Village Hall, near Mold on Tuesday (July 2) at 8pm and, at the Hungry Horse Acoustic, The Whitby Club, Chester Road, Ellesmere Port on Thursday (July 4) at 8pm the well-known Nick Dow will be occupying the Big Spot. The former gig is pay on the door whilst the latter is, as usual, Free.

Finally, our advance notice slot this week is to make you aware of two gigs coming up next weekend. On Friday (July 5) at The Brindley Theatre, Runcorn, Songs of Peace, Love and Protest are brought to life by the duo, Andante, in their show, Times Are A' Changin'. Tickets, at £17, can be booked through the box office at 0151 907 8360. On both Friday and Saturday (July 5-6) it is the Folk at the Hall event held annually at Trelawnyd Hall, near Rhyl. More of this next week but, as it is always a popular event, I would advise you to visit their website and book now.

Some sad news to finish with, as I have just heard, that Tony Berry, lead vocalist and founder member of the Lancashire band The Houghton Weavers, passed away on Thursday, June 13, after a long fight against cancer. Our condolences and sympathy go to his family, friends, and the Houghton Weavers from his many fans on this side of the border.

In the meantime, whatever you do, and wherever you go, enjoy your music.

Late news in that Welsh Folk Award Winners, the local band, Trials of Cato, are playing a charity gig at Wrexham's Saith Seren, the Welsh Community pub, tonight (June 28). Contact the venue for more information.

By D.C.M.