THE first ever virtual Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (LIME) proved to be a hit.

Held between July 7 and 11, 'Llangollen Online' was an alternative event to the hugely-popular annual LIME, which was set up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Llangollen Online's opening day featured a special message from its patron, HRH, The Prince of Wales, who visited the festival most recently in 2015.

He said: "Since the year of its inception – 1947, [Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod] has been the most extraordinary example of friendly, international cooperation, celebrating a vast variety of cultures and traditions and creating lasting relationships. All under the banner of the festival’s message of peace.”

Warm welcomes were also given by the likes of LIME's artistic director, Dr Edward-Rhys Harry, chairman Dr Rhys Davies and president Terry Waite CBE, as well as the Welsh Minister for International Relations, Eluned Morgan MS.

Tuesday is also traditionally Children’s Day and so on this first day, an online premiere of the Children’s Message of Peace was featured. This year the Eisteddfod has been working ‘remotely’ with local school children from Ysgol Bryn Collen in Llangollen and St Joseph’s Catholic & Anglican High School in Wrexham to create the first ever online Children’s Message of Peace, narrating words by Christine Dukes

On Wednesday, it is usually the Inclusion Project's turn to shine. It has been running for more than a decade, reflecting the diversity of society and the International Eisteddfod’s ethos of promoting understanding and acceptance through music and dance.

However, this year’s project had to be postponed but had been based around the theme of ‘Kaleidoscope’. Two short videos entitled ‘Spotlight on our Inclusion Project’ and ‘What Diversity Means to us’ were instead presented to represent this ethos.

Thursday is traditionally Peace Day at Llangollen. The inspiration for the online premiere and the Eisteddfod’s first ever Global Peace Message, included a specially commissioned poem entitled 'Harmoni a Heddwch', by Mererid Hopwood and a peace address from the Eisteddfod’s President, Terry Waite.

The poem was spoken by Hopwood and special guests Jools Holland, Floella Benjamin and Bryn Terfel. It also featured children from Ysgol Rhostyllen, Wrexham, St Giles School, Wrexham and Ysgol Dinas Bran, Llangollen. Also included was a first performance of a new piece of music, sung by Wrexham soprano, Elan Catrin Parry.

The Welsh Centre for International Affairs’ Young Peacemakers Awards celebrate young people who have contributed to peace and global citizenship in their school, local community or overseas. Due to Covid-19, this year’s competition was moved online. The winners of The Welsh Centre for International Affairs’ Young Peacemakers Awards were announced during a virtual ceremony.

Seren MacDonald won the Young Artist prize whilst Gwenno Robinsons took the Young Writers award and Young Peacemaker prize went to Ysgol Dyffryn Aman of Ammanford.

International Day on Friday celebrated Llangollen Online's competitors from around the globe and those who make the traditional town parade one of the most unique and colourful events in the UK.

A short film of special messages and music from competitors from Ghana, Canada, Iceland, United Arab Emirates, Wales and England saw them send their best wishes and sadness that they could not be at Llangollen this year.

This was followed by a short film from the Llangollen community, saying what the festival means to them with contributions from NEWDance and Ysgol Dinas Bran, Llangollen.

Saturday saw the Llangollen Online festival come to an end with artistic director, Edward-Rhys Harry, recording a round-up of the week, looking back at Llangollen Online 2020 and looking to the future of Llangollen and 2021.

Traditionally, Llangollen Eisteddfod’s finale is the ‘Choir of the World Competition’ which features ‘the best of the best’, where winning choirs throughout the week compete for the coveted Pavarotti trophy.

In line with this, Llangollen.TV released a video celebrating the last 25 years of the prestigious Choir of the World competition which was available to view on their website.

From June 1 – June 30, people had been voting online via Llangollen.TV for their favourite performances and moments from the last 25 years, from footage showcasing performers from 57 different countries.

The winners were; Children’s Choir: British Columbia Girls’ Choir, Canada, 2018, Dance Competition: Gema Citra Nusantara (GCN), Indonesia, 2016, Mixed Choirs: Stellenbosch University Choir, South Africa, 2018, Folk Choir: Jazz Choir of the State Philharmonic Society, Russia, 2013, Other Choir: Côr Meibion Froncysyllte, Wales, 2018 and Llangollen Magic Moment: Loughgiel School of Irish Dance, 100 points! – 2017.

Talking about the first ever Llangollen Online event, Dr Edward-Rhys Harry said: “It felt vital to bring our global community together to share music and dance and of course, continue a message of peace and harmony digitally. Wanting to be able to connect and share on a different platform this year as best we can, we feel very humbled and grateful and hope people enjoyed the ‘flavour of Llangollen’ this year, as much as we enjoyed delivering it.”

Dr Rhys Davies added: “Our digital contribution has been a great opportunity to ensure our peace message remains at the forefront of our ethos and we have been able to give people from all over the world a taste of what we’re all about. I am very grateful to the team for the work done in enabling this.”