A MASSIVE £1.5m – that's how much the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is worth to the local economy.
Llangollen has been hosting the festival since 1947 and will again welcome the world this July.
The famous event that helped launch the career of opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti is again expected to attract 40,000 visitors.
The arrival of so many people from outside North East Wales means a cash injection that ripples out across businesses within a 20-mile radius of Llangollen.
Last year 36,000 people came to the Eisteddfod and with an average daily visitor spend of £42, that added up to a massive £1.5 million cash injection for the local economy.
This year’s Eisteddfod starts on Tuesday, July 7, and runs until Sunday, July 12, and already one of the biggest draws is proving to be the Thursday night concert when Alfie Boe will be joined on stage by Britain’s Got Talent star Jonathan Antoine.
Other musical highlights include Oscar-winning music legend Burt Bacharach, popular Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, choirmaster Gareth Malone and former Royal harpist Catrin Finch.
Another big draw will be Ali Campbell, the voice of UB40 who sold 70 million records, who'll be reunited on the eisteddfod stage with two other founding members of the group, percussionist, trumpet player and vocalist Astro and keyboard player Mickey.
Meanwhile, members of Jonathan Antoine's fan club, the Fantoines, are gearing up to travel to Llangollen from far and wide, from all over the UK and from Europe too.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, is a big fan of the Llangollen Eisteddfod.
“I love the International Eisteddfod and was honoured to become a vice president of the festival last year,” he said.
“It is a fantastic event and one of the jewels in the Welsh cultural crown.
“The Eisteddfod gives Llangollen another opportunity to showcase itself and provides a massive boost to the local economy, but it also helps to promote Wales on an international stage, which is hugely important as we strive to further strengthen our burgeoning tourism industry.”
News of the Eisteddfod's £1.5 million economic contribution to the area was music to the ears of festival chairman Gethin Davies.
“Llangollen has long been known as the town where Wales welcomes the world,” he said.
“The Eisteddfod has always been lauded for the cultural enrichment it brings to the area and I am delighted the event is also being recognised for the economic riches it generates.”
The Eisteddfod will also feature Children’s Day and the Parade of Nations on the Tuesday, led by Eisteddfod president Terry Waite, before the evening Heart of Llangollen concert featuring a galaxy of international talent.
Highlights of Wednesday will include the debut of the International Young Musician of the Year and the Children’s Choir of the World while Thursday’s competitions will see another first, the International Voice of Musical Theatre Trophy.
Friday’s Open Category for choirs will showcase styles like gospel, barbershop, jazz, pop and glee styles and will also see the International Voice of the Future decided with the prize including the chance to sing at one of the evening concerts the future.
The Blue Riband event, the Choir of the World for the Pavarotti Trophy, is decided on Saturday night as well as the Lucile Armstrong Dance Final, and Sunday sees the Eisteddfod let its hair down for Llanfest before the climactic final concert with Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey.
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