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16  June

Urdd Eisteddfod: Making memories in the Meifod mud!

30/05/2024 @ 02:10


I have to admit, as a non-Welsh speaker and with my kids away, I wasn’t really over enthused about visiting the much-heralded Urdd Eisteddfod, which is being held just two miles from Meifod this week.

And the headlines earlier in the week of traffic chaos and the ongoing showers turning the site into an apparent ‘mud bath’, hardly whetted my appetite.

But within minutes of arriving in this absolutely stunning part of Wales, I was won over.

Organisers reacted to the parking issues with more exits and by rotating the fields to ensure a firm footing for cars to avoid getting stuck.

And after an extremely slick entry system I was in.

Despite the drizzle and mud, it was like arriving in a Welsh paradise!

The language of our nation filled the air wherever you went. And it was refreshing to see just how many children were speaking it.

Everywhere you looked on the sprawling site, there was something going on.

The Urdd Eisteddfod is mainly organised as the focal point to showcase everything that is great about Wales and Welsh culture. Thousands of children are performing this week on a number of different stages. From music to dancing and recitals to soloists, there is something for everyone. And my sincere congratulations to each and every one of them for getting up and having a go. They are extremely talented too. The best of the best on show.

But the event is so, so much more. There are shops aplenty selling Welshness galore, not to mention stands from organisations offering advice on just about everything. The fun fair is one to rival any festival and the food stands cater to every taste – although I couldn’t find a stadium hot dog for lunch (my only gripe of the day)!

It’s easy to knock events, but the Urdd is a national treasure that we should all back, whether Welsh speaking or not. It is about Welsh culture and heritage, not to mention how Wales can be shaped as a growing global player moving forward.

Their statement on Gaza earlier this week was impressive – Welsh Government take note – and there is no shortage of cleaning staff ensuring that toilets and the site as a whole remain tidy.

There have been moans and groans about the ticket prices, and understandable for parents attending several days to watch their children perform.

But as a day out with the family, it equates to a similar price as going to the cinema and that is something you can do any day of the week. There’s also help with tickets for struggling families courtesy of Powys County Council, who have invested £150,000 to bring this event to the north of their patch.

The Urdd Eisteddfod in Montgomeryshire is a once in a generational event – it was last here in 1988. So, speaking from experience, give it a go. It’s on until Saturday and deserves our backing if you can.