The Welsh Government has created a group to look at the future of the National Eisteddfod, and the group is currently undertaking a public consultation, contacting a number of individuals. The Eisteddfod is encouraging people to respond to this consultation, to voice their opinions about the Festival, and the community project, which is such an important part of the preparations for the week itself.
In November, the Eisteddfod was invited to give evidence to the group and a copy of the presentation can be downloaded from the right-hand side of this page, so you can see our opinion and our ideas on the future of the Eisteddfod and how we can continue to change and develop in years to come.
The Eisteddfod Management Team believes the Festival has contributed greatly to safeguarding, supporting and promoting Welsh language culture over the years, and through this, the Eisteddfod has invaluably safeguarded, supported and promoted the language itself.
We also unanimously believe that this contribution is at its greatest when the Eisteddfod visits different parts of Wales in turn. We believe that the Eisteddfod is a process rather than an event, and that the process, which lasts for over two years in any local area, provides an injection of Welshness and the Welsh language to an area.
We are aware that the group is discussing and considering centralising the Eisteddfod on two permanent sites, and this worries us greatly. We believe this would halve its influence and contribution, which would be a disaster of our time. This would not only halve the travelling aspect of the festival, but would also damage its influence and contribution, and we also believe that our faithful audience, those who attend every festival, would not welcome the concept of visiting the same location too often. The concept under discussion would see the Eisteddfod held on a permanent site twice every four years, halving the opportunity for local authorities to invite the Festival to be held in their locality.
We are in the most challenging period for the Welsh language for many generations, if not ever, and the travelling aspect of the Eisteddfod is even more relevant than ever before. We are all aware of the drop in the number of communities where more than 70% of residents speak Welsh, and we are also aware that we have not seen an increase in the number of Welsh speakers across the country in the 2011 Census.
The National Eisteddfod’s ability to visit different parts of the country is vitally important as we work to try and ensure a successful future for the Welsh language. The needs of every area are different, and the benefit which comes from hosting the Eisteddfod varies from place to place.
Our hope in taking the Eisteddfod to Blaenau Gwent was to change attitudes towards Welsh, but our role in an area like Carmarthenshire is very different. The linguistic infrastructure already exists locally, and the Eisteddfod’s visit is an opportunity to prove the language is relevant and that it can be used in all parts of our lives today.
There is no other event or project which can provide the language, culture and the area itself, with such a boost. The Eisteddfod attracts up to 150,000 visitors to a different part of our country every year providing an economic boost in difficult conditions.
We ask for your support at this time, and hope we can depend on Eisteddfod supporters, to voice their opinion in support of the Eisteddfod. Please send your comments to email@example.com or to the National Eisteddfod Review, The Welsh Language Sub-Division, 3rd Floor, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ.