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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 August 2006, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Eisteddfod opens with opera star
Katherine Jenkins

Opera star Katherine Jenkins has helped open the annual National Eisteddfod in Swansea.

The event, which is being held on the grounds of the old Velindre tinplate works, began with a concert in the 3,500-capacity main pavilion on Friday night.

A total of 16,565 attended on Saturday, which was 633 more than the opening day at last year's event.

Organisers hope to attract more than 170,000 visitors over the next week.

The Welsh assembly government has given 458,000 in funding for the festival, which aims to make a profit this year.

Assembly Culture Minister Alun Pugh will attend the eisteddfod for three days.

The main pavilion is an attractive centrepiece this year, being bright pink in colour and clearly visible from the M4.

On Saturday, competitions and events begin in earnest, with Plaid Cymru politician and folk singer Dafydd Iwan joining the band Ar Log to give a special concert celebrating 30 years of performing.

Heini Gruffudd, chairman of the local eisteddfod committee, said: "It's a pleasure to welcome eisteddfodwyr from all parts of Wales to Swansea and District.

"The festival has been here eight times before and the first one was held here in 1863. Since then the eisteddfod has been here in 1891, 1907, 1926, 1964, 1980 and 1982.

"The festivals were very successful from the point of view of literary and musical achievements and financial successes.

"There is every indication that this year's festival will not be different."

A special rail and bus link is being provided for visitors. Shuttle buses will run between Swansea rail station and the site between 0655 BST and 2315BST.

Arriva Trains Wales is also offering a combined train, bus and entrance ticket for visitors.

The main pavilion will also host concerts given by international soloists and orchestras and by a specially-formed local choir of 435 voices.

The festival also incorporates a visual arts exhibition, a theatre, literature studio, performance stages, and a Welsh learners' centre.

Other highlights include Richard Brunstrom, the North Wales chief constable of North Wales, being made a druid next Friday when he joins the Gorsedd of Bards.

It was created in 1792 by Iolo Morganwg to promote Wales' culture and heritage.

Eisteddfod visit on royals' tour
05 Jul 06 |  North East Wales
Eisteddfod reaches 60th milestone
04 Jul 06 |  North East Wales


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