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Culture

Cerdd Dant national festival back in Montgomeryshire after more than 50 years

12 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Pictured is Madlen Francis (5) and Sioned Webb. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

The National Cerdd Dant Festival, part of the national Eisteddfod, is returning to Montgomeryshire after a break of more than 50 years.

Since its establishment in 1947, the festival has only ever visited Montgomeryshire twice, once at Penybont Fawr in 1955 and once at Llanfyllin in 1968. 

The 2022 festival will be held at Theatr Llwyn, Ysgol Llanfyllin on Saturday, November 12. 

It was originally planned to be held at Llanfyllin in 2020 but had to be postponed because of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

As part of the build up to the 2022 national event, which will be televised on S4C and broadcast on Radio Cymru, the festival’s working committee has obtained a grant from the Laura Ashley Family Foundation to pay for workshops around the local schools. 

Musicians Sioned Webb and Arfon Gwilym have embarked on a month-long tour of Montgomeryshire schools to hold workshops on the art of Cerdd Dant singing, introducing Wales’ national instrument – the triple harp – to the pupils.

They have also been sharing stories about local historical figure and character Nansi Richards, who the festival is named after.  

Two-year hold-up

Rhian Davies of Menter Iaith Maldwyn and secretary of the working committee said: “It is with great pride and a fair bit of emotion that we will finally be welcoming this national event to Llanfyllin and the surrounding area.

“It will be fantastic to be able to provide a stage for our folk traditions while ensuring that the area will once again be a focal point for Welsh culture. 

“After a two-year hold-up, it is exciting to finally see all the planning coming together, and to be able to host these workshops at our local schools. Cerdd Dant is a unique part of Welsh culture and it’s wonderful to see how mesmerised the children are with the music on the triple harp. 

“We can’t wait to welcome everyone to the festival at Llanfyllin on November 12. As well as many local choirs, parties, dance groups and individuals – we are expecting competitors from all over Wales.”

Ysgol Llanfyllin Headteacher Dewi Owen said: “It is an absolute honour for us as a school to be hosting such a prestigious national event in Ysgol Llanfyllin. 

“We are all really excited about welcoming some of the most talented performers from across Wales into our school during the festival – what an inspiration for our pupils.”

Tempting fate?

Was it tempting fate choosing Llanfyllin as a location?

The only other time in the history of the festival that it has been postponed was the last time it was held at Llanfyllin, for an altogether different outbreak. 

Due to the foot and mouth outbreak of 1967, the festival that year was pushed forward to 1968. 

For more information about the festival and to register to compete visit www.cerdd-dant.org


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