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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 12:28 GMT
Anger at Liverpool eisteddfod bid
Dr Robyn Lewis, Archdruid
The Archdruid branded the Liverpool bid "stupid"
The Archdruid of Wales has hit out at Liverpool City Council's bid to hold Wales' biggest cultural festival.

The city wants to host the National Eisteddfod in 2007 - the year before its European Capital of Culture celebrations.

The eisteddfod, an annual celebration of music, dance, poetry, and art, has been held in Liverpool three times before - in 1884, 1900, and 1929.

But Dr Robyn Lewis said it was a stupid idea, and he would refuse to attend.

The eisteddfod in England
1879 - Birkenhead
1884 - Liverpool
1887 - London
1900 - Liverpool
1909 - London
1917 - Birkenhead
1929 - Liverpool
Eisteddfod director Elfed Roberts said he was unaware of any rules that would stop the eisteddfod visiting Liverpool again.

Birkenhead and London have also played host to the festival in the past - but the last time it was held outside Wales was in 1929.

But the move to take the eisteddfod out of Wales for the first time in more than 70 years brought a furious response from the head of the influential Gorsedd of Bards in Wales.

What has Liverpool ever done for us? The last thing it did was to drown Tryweryn
Archdruid Dr Robyn Lewis
Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Dr Lewis said he would boycott the event if it went to Liverpool - although it would be in a personal capacity as he would no longer be archdruid by then.

Dr Lewis said he might also encourage the Gorsedd of Bards - the association of writers, artists and others who have contributed to the Welsh nation - to do the same

"I think it's a stupid idea," he told Good Morning Wales.

"The last time the eisteddfod was held in Liverpool was in 1929, when there were far more Welsh people living in Liverpool and other parts of Merseyside.

"Their descendants are there, but have long lost the language and the culture of Wales,"

The eisteddfod is one of the biggest cultural events in Europe
Traditionally, towns and cities where eisteddfodau are held see a resurgence of interest in the Welsh language.

With this in mind, Dr Lewis said there was no point in visiting Liverpool.

"It's certainly not a city where the eisteddfod would want to leave its Welsh-speaking stamp," he said.

And his tirade became even more inflamed when he referred to the controversial incident in the 1960s, when the village of Capel Celyn in the Tryweryn valley, near Bala in Gwynedd, was flooded by the Liverpool Corporation to provide drinking water for the city.

"What has Liverpool ever done for us?" he asked. "The last thing it did for us was to drown Tryweryn."

Dr Lewis said he saw no reason for the eisteddfod to cross the border and said he would not attend if it did.

Responding to Dr Lewis' comments, Liverpool City culture spokesman Councillor Warren Bradley said: "I think the fact that Liverpool bid to host the eisteddfod shows that Welsh culture reaches effectively beyond the Shropshire hills."

IC Wales Back to the future for Eisteddfod? - 7 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Hands off our eisteddfod, bards tell Liverpool - 13 hrs ago
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13 Feb 04 |  Wales
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