Shropshire Star

Message of peace at Llangollen Eisteddfod’s has 'never been more important' says Vince Hunt

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod’s resounding message of peace and unity has never been more important, a civic leader has said.

Over the last 70 years the event has brought together performers from around the world and from a wide range of religions and cultures.

Mayor of Oswestry Councillor Vince Hunt has today praised the Eisteddfod and its significance to the people of Oswestry and the surrounding areas in the wake of the terror attacks in London at the weekend and in Manchester just over a fortnight ago.

The Eisteddfod, which is taking place from July 3 and finishing six days later and draws in many visitors from the county, is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary. It was first held in 1947 and its vision was to provide a means of healing the wounds of the Second World War and help to promote lasting peace.

Over the last 70 years the event has brought together performers from around the world and from a wide range of religions and cultures.

Its peace and unity message is in stark contrast to the recent terror attacks which have left dozens dead and many badly injured.

Councillor Hunt said in the wake of the terror strikes, the Eisteddfod’s celebration of peace, music and diversity is more important than ever before.

He said: “In the last few weeks, last few days, all we’ve seen is devastation and hurt going on in this world, in this country, and it honestly breaks my heart.

“It’s breaking all our hearts and that’s why it’s important now more than ever that we celebrate what’s good and what unifies us and that’s exactly what the Llangollen Eisteddfod is about.

“It’s magical in the way that its single purpose is to unify people of all cultures and it’s right on Oswestry’s doorstep. I say it’s magical but actually it’s a man-made marvel. It’s people that have created this and who put a great deal of hard work into it and that’s not only the case for the Eisteddfod in fact but also the likes of Oswestry Youth Music Festival.

“It’s about being united in song and that’s a wonderful thing. It’s people that have been out enjoying themselves that have suffered and that’s not right and we have to keep on enjoying ourselves and enjoying what’s good, otherwise evil wins.”

Eisteddfod president Terry Waite echoed the mayor’s sentiments this week.

He said: “We don’t all want to be the same and the International Eisteddfod encourages our differences. It is the festival’s belief that coming to the Eisteddfod, people celebrate together in unison.

“Different cultures, political and religious differences are placed into the background and through music and dance people get to know each other and compete in a friendly environment, enriched through harmony. The Llangollen Eisteddfod enriches lives through music. The festival’s message is now more relevant than ever and sends a global message of peace, emphasising the fact that it’s good to be together and good to sing and celebrate life.