Eisteddfod 2012: Days Three & Four
This article is pending translation.
For a Welsh Second Language A-Level student the only place to be during the summer is at the annual National Eisteddfod, where a mix of music, food, science, literature and sport combine in a sprawl of tents and pavilions. I enjoyed my two days at the cultural mudfest in Llandow and as I bigged up CLIC and explored the site, was able to pick up bits of vocab and practice speaking Welsh with attendees.
First stop was the excellent science tent, where the likes of CERN and Techniquest provided accessible gwyddoniaeth away from the showers. The miniature model of the Higgs Boson experiment provided some very topical entertainment whilst the regular demonstrations gave all a chance to learn rhwybeth newydd. As the weather stayed wet for 48 hours, it was a relief that there was plenty to see under canvas - a hunt for freebies led me to Oxfam, Glamorgan Cricket Club, Fairtrade Wales and Shelter Cymru to name but a few. As well as re-stocking my pencil case, I picked up a few business cards like the true networker I am and in terms of finding out about things happening in Wales, the Eisteddfod works a treat.
With the bands playing in Maes B later in the evening, it was in the large pavilion where the best of the (dry) music was to be sought. Like in any school Eisteddfod, choirs sang and poems were read but here it was at the very highest level and taking place in a giant pink tent. Always a bonus. From male sopranos to street dancers, the programme ran at breakneck speed and for a first timer it did feel a little surreal. However, a good day’s worth of divertissement could be had, especially if you bring your gran as she’d fit in perfectly with the audience.
There have been calls from Education Minister Leighton Andrews AM for the Eisteddfod to be more bilingual and accessible to non-Welsh speakers and it is true that it is difficult to engage fully in the event if you only speak English. Although the Eisteddfod has played an integral part in keeping Cymraeg alive through centuries of persecution and struggle and therefore should remain Welsh-focused, if the organisers attracted more non-Welsh speakers then even more folk would be inspired to get learning.
CLIC, the national information and advice website for young people (11-25) in Wales, is at the National Eisteddfod from Saturday 4th August to Saturday 11th August. Our stall number is 1111. Do come and say hello!