Urdd to postpone its National Eisteddfod in Denbighshire

Urdd Gobaith Cymru has decided to postpone the Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod for another year, until 2022. 

Due to the current situation in Wales and beyond regarding Covid-19, the Urdd has decided to postpone the Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod until May 2022 for the health and wellbeing of its members, volunteers and staff, as well as the public. The Urdd Eisteddfod in Carmarthenshire will now move to 2023, and Urdd Eisteddfod Maldwyn (Montgomeryshire) to 2024.

Following the success of this year’s first-ever digital Eisteddfod, the Urdd hopes to stage a pioneering ‘Eisteddfod T’ during Whitsun half-term 2021 for children, young people, and their families. The Urdd is in continuous discussion with all its partners, and final plans are expected to be announced by the end of January 2021.

“The decision to postpone for another year was not an easy one to make,” explains Siân Eirian, Acting Director of the Urdd Eisteddfod. “But unfortunately, given the current situation we are in, it was felt there was no real alternative. Under normal circumstances, very soon into the new year, schools, Urdd youth clubs and households alike would be busy preparing for the local and regional Eisteddfodau. But the current restrictions in place would make it almost impossible for our contestants to prepare for these preliminary rounds, let alone stage them. 

“The decision had to be made as soon as possible for the sake of our competitors and their teachers, but also with regards to organising and contractual work with stakeholders and companies who play key roles in the planning and the set-up of the annual festival. 

“I am fully aware of the disappointment today’s announcement brings to the volunteers in Denbighshire who have worked so tirelessly, not to mention the children and young people who were looking forward to returning to compete on stage,” adds Siân Eirian. “Circumstances permitting, we look forward to welcoming the Eisteddfod to Denbigh in 2022, which also falls on the Urdd’s centenary – which will make it an extra special occasion.” 

Gwenno Mair Davies, Chair of the Urdd Eisteddfod and Arts Board, said, “Everyone involved in the Eisteddfod – from competitors to teachers, supporters, stallholders and volunteers alike – are longing to return to the festival. Despite this disappointing announcement today we must remain positive and look forward to 2022, when the Eisteddfod will be held in Denbighshire during the Urdd’s centenary year. There is no doubt it will be a festival to remember, and those associated with the preparations deserves nothing less.”

The Urdd hopes to organise and stage an alternative, digital festival in 2021 based on the success of this year’s first-ever digital Eisteddfod T, which attracted over 6,000 competitors. The Urdd hopes to add even more competitions and offer unique experiences to schools, as well as individual Urdd members and their families. A full list of competitions will be released by the end of January 2021. A list of FAQs about the Eisteddfod can be found here

The organisation is facing the biggest challenge in its 98-year history due to Covid-19. It has been forced to cut its workforce in half, and its three centres – which attract over 40,000 visitors annually – remain closed to residents. But Urdd staff in each department have responded to recent restrictions by arranging a vast array of opportunities for schools and members across Wales.