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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Liverpool wants to host eisteddfod
Eisteddfod
The eisteddfod is Wales' oldest cultural festival
The city which defeated Cardiff in the race to become European capital of Culture in 2008 has said it wants to host Wales' premier cultural festival.

Liverpool wants to host the National Eisteddfod as part of its year as European Capital of Culture.

But the move is not expected to go ahead - Cardiff council has already been awarded the 2008 event, and an eisteddfod chief said it would be "unlikely".

If it did succeed, it would be the first time the eisteddfod has been held outside Wales since 1929, when it was again held in Liverpool.

Birkenhead also played host to the 1917 festival.

Liverpool beat off competition from Newcastle-Gateshead, Bristol, Birmingham, Oxford and Cardiff to land the coveted European Capital of Culture title - worth millions of pounds in tourism and arts revenue.

The Welsh contribution to culture in Liverpool is central and crucial
Bob Scott, Liverpool 2008 campaign

Part of Cardiff's 2008 bid was that an eisteddfod would be held there - and the Welsh capital is still in line to host the festival that year despite its defeat.

But Bob Scott, Chief Executive of the Liverpool 2008 campaign, said he would open negotiations to bring the eisteddfod to the English city.

"It was inappropriate and indelicate to raise this while Cardiff was still a contender," he said.

"But we are jolly well going to raise it now we are the European Capital of Culture.

"The Welsh contribution to culture in Liverpool is central and crucial.

"I would love to see it, but all these things depend on cost."

Sir Bob Scott
Bob Scott led Liverpool to victory

Merseyside has hosted the Eisteddfod half a dozen times.

The area once had a large Welsh-speaking community and is still home to Welsh societies.

The festival was last held on Merseyside in 1929 but it made financial losses and has not been held outside Wales since.

In 1917 Birkenhead Eisteddfod was best-known for the awarding of the Eisteddfod Chair to poet Hedd Wyn, who was killed in World War I.

But National Eisteddfod Director Elfed Roberts said that the dwindling number of Welsh-speakers in the Liverpool area made the switch unlikely.

He said there were no longer enough Welsh speakers in the Liverpool area to organize such a large event.

A spokesperson for Cardiff council added that the city wanted to host the eisteddfod, regardless of its defeat in the Capital of Culture contest.

"Cardiff council has agreed to host the 2008 Eisteddfod in Cardiff," the spokesperson said.

"As far as both sides are concerned the eisteddfod will be held in Cardiff in 2008."

Musical competitors

The National Eisteddfod is the largest and oldest celebration of Welsh culture, and visits a different area of the country each year. This year it is being held at Meifod near Welshpool.

There are also discussions going on about a possible link with the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, which plays host to musical competitors from around the world each July.

A spokesman for the International Eisteddfod said they would be open to suggestions, should the Liverpool European Capital of Culture team approach them.

However, he said they would not consider moving the event from the Llangollen pavilion site.




SEE ALSO:
Culture city starts hard work
05 Jun 03  |  Merseyside
Row over eisteddfod location
06 Mar 03  |  Wales
City invite for eisteddfod
22 Aug 02  |  Wales


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