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Eisteddfod at Cardiff

Postiwyd gan Tom W o Caerdydd - Cyhoeddwyd ar 05/08/2008 am 14:32
0 sylwadau » - Tagiwyd fel Cerddoriaeth, Llwyfan

The National Eisteddfod 2008 is the first time it has come to Cardiff in 30 years or so, and it has brought with it capital performances. Traditionally, the Eisteddfod is a celebration of the Welsh language, culture, and heritage, and this year’s celebrations have just got underway. It attracts around 160,000 visitors annually.

All access?
Truthfully, I found it very difficult to access the site. There were hardly any signposts directing us to where we needed to be. They are not permitting any access to the site by cars, which makes it difficult to get to the site, but they do have a park and ride service. I think this is a great idea, but living in Cardiff, as I do, I would literally be driving past the Eisteddfod grounds, continuing in the wrong direction for a considerable distance to the park and ride in Leckwith, and then back in this direction again ? a complete waste of time, money and fuel!! We parked on North road and went past the caravan park to the Eisteddfod. It took 20 minutes to walk to the showground! A tip from a friend of mine: park at Sophia gardens, you’ve got a short walk and you can’t miss it! I hope this works for you! The caravan site is very well located in fairness, but on the downside again, there are only 400 parking places for bikes, which is atrocious, considering the need to promote greener transport, but also, the fact that the Eisteddfod practically sits on the Taff Trail!! If they average 20,000 visitors a day, then just supplying 400 bike spots is only a scratch on the surface of what is required!

The grounds?
After the initial kafuffle of getting there, I was quite impressed to see that child fares for tickets extend to the age of 21, and at the moderate price of £8, who can complain? There are over 300 stalls at the show, which certainly give you plenty to do, even if you don’t even go into the pavilion! The price of food and drink is a bit much at the show, but it is the same at any show really, so this is forgivable. They have a lot of good walkways at the show that keep you off the muddy grass, although you may have to skip across a bit of dirt to get to some of the stalls. However, there are a few areas in particular which use large stones to cover the path, with can be very painful and difficult to walk on, so wear appropriate footwear. I was working on the climate change stand in the Welsh Assembly tent, and we had an enormous response from the public!! It just seems that at these events people enjoy talking and mixing with each other, however, if you saw them walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t talk to them!! Why is that?

One disappointment though, if you don’t go into the pavilion, then it is hard to notice any traditional Welsh culture at all. Of course, most people speak in Welsh at the show, but I spotted only a couple of stores with Welsh love spoons and tops etc. This shows a move away from traditional features. But don’t worry if you are not fluent in Welsh, because all signs have to be in Welsh and English, so you’re not missing out on anything!

If you have ever performed at an Eisteddfod, then you will know just how much time, commitment and effort it requires to be successful. The performers at this year’s competition have not disappointed. One disappointment though is that you have to pay again to get into the pavilion, but this is supposedly commonplace at the National Eisteddfod. However, at the Urdd Eisteddfod, it is free to everyone, so everyone can come and join in with the celebrations. You can watch the performances on the big screens outside, but it is never the same as experiencing it first-hand! The concert with Bryn Terfel in the evening sold out.

What is there to do as a young person?
There is plenty to do as a young person there, with a dedicated youth tent, youth performances and evenings, and so on. There is a science and technology tent, which is particularly good, and yesterday, when I was there, there were even the Cardiff Blues training at the show ground. There are lots of university and careers tents, too. There is a sports section, too. It really does have something for everyone, and being there yesterday, I have to say, there were people of all ages there enjoying the day!

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