Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

How the Eisteddfod Works


“I suppose you’ll be getting busy with the Eisteddfod now?”
That is the comment frequently heard in Llangollen every year in May and June. In fact, the Eisteddfod year begins in mid- July, when the Company (of which there are about 450 members) is invited to an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting. This is, of course, only a matter of days after the Eisteddfod itself, so the preliminary tasks are those of assessing the success of the festival.

But we do not look back for long; it is remarkable indeed that, within a short time, attention is turned to the next Eisteddfod. The first duty is the reassessment of the Board of Directors of the Company. known as the Standing Board. Numbering 21 in all, Board members are each elected for 3 years; 7 retire every year and at this meeting they, along with any other member of the Company, may offer themselves for election.

It may be of interest to explain at this juncture, that the Eisteddfod is a Company limited by guarantee and, in the event of the Company being wound up and unable to pay its debt (which heaven forbid!) members’ liability is limited to the guarantee of £1.

Immediately after the Extra-Ordinary General Meeting, the Standing Board meets for 2 main items of business. Firstly, the election of the President and 8 Officers (the Music Director and Marketing Director are appointed earlier in the year). Secondly, conveners are appointed For the various Committees – Finance, Floral, Grounds, Hospitality, Music & Staging, Publicity and Tickets.

A short list of members – the Nucleus – of each Committee is agreed and, within a few weeks, is convened in order to establish a list of members to serve for the next Eisteddfod. The full Committee then appoints its officers and thereafter dispatches work in its appointed sphere throughout the year. The Chairmen and Secretaries of the Committees, together with the Eisteddfod Officers, comprise the Executive Committee of the Eisteddfod.

The function of the Executive Committee, chaired by the Eisteddfod Vice-Chairman, is to organise the next Eisteddfod and the various strands of all Eisteddfod activities are drawn together in the monthly meetings. New Committees appear from time to time to meet a specific need. The Standing Board, chaired by the Eisteddfod Chairman, meets throughout the year and deals with overall policy matters for future Eisteddfod.

Company members then foregather in June for the Annual General Meeting. Here, the previous Eisteddfod is given a final administrative scrutiny with the presentation of the accounts. Then, without fail, the feeling of excitement at the impending Eisteddfod mounts, we leave, Looking forward to “the week”, praying always for fine weather – a matter that no committee can organise!

Then to the Eisteddfod itself and the 300 odd Committee members, joined by an equivalent force of extra volunteers from far and wide, set to their appointed duties. Very few of us are able to see and hear the competitions and concerts – indeed, most workers will have no idea what is happening on stage at any one moment. But the commitment is total and the welcome to our visitors as warm as ever.

All Committees disband – weary but exhilarated – after each Eisteddfod until the Extra-Ordinary General Meeting, when the whole system starts rolling again….
So, I suppose we we’ll be getting busy with the Eisteddfod now! Eulanwy Davies

Eulanwy Davies
A music graduate of Aberystwyth, headed the Music Department at Newtown and Llangollen Comprehensive Schools and has worked as a cello tutor. The first Secretary of the Music & Staging Committee when it was set up in 1977, the first Music Administrator in 1988. Welsh-speaking; with enormous and infectious enthusiasm for the Eisteddfod.

The Eisteddfod Music Director is now Mervyn Cousins (2006).


Reproduced from the book ‘Fifty Glorious Weeks 1947 – 1996’
ISBN 0 9528296 06 – Compiler and Art Editor Robert B. Attenburrow M.B.E
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