Jools Holland, The Fratellis, Gipsy Kings and more: Llangollen Eisteddfod takes to the stage

By Sue Austin | Llangollen | Music | Published:

The world famous, Llangollen Eisteddfod takes to the stage on Monday for a week of competition and celebrity concerts.

Jools Holland

The festival line-up features some of the world’s most internationally renowned musicians, including Jools Holland, French-Mexican star tenor, Rolando Villazón, salsa, pop and flamenco outfit, Gipsy Kings, and award-winning Celtic music band, Jamie Smith’s MABON.

It culminates in Llanfest, featuring the Scottish indie rockers The Fratellis.

Throughout the week musicians, singers, and dancers from across the world will descend on Llangollen to take part in scores of competitions.

From folk dancers to male voice choirs, many will also take part in the popular parade through the streets of the Welsh town on Friday afternoon.

The Eisteddfod parade

Returning Eisteddfod favourite and currently a Vice President, Jools Holland will open the event with his legendary Rhythm and Blues Orchestra on Monday. The jazz, blues and swing showstopper will launch the 2019 concert series with an unforgettable toe-tapping extravaganza of live music, sponsored by Kronospan.

Music Director of the festival, Edward-Rhys Harry, said: “We are proud that this year’s festival line-up spans genres and generations, crossing the boundaries of age, culture and creed. There really is something for everyone.”

Tuesday evening will see a Classical Gala take over the Royal International Pavilion, with Rolando Villazón and guests, sponsored by Pendine Park.


One of the music world’s most critically acclaimed tenors, Rolando Villazón is known for his compelling performances with leading opera houses around the world. He will be joined by Welsh lyric soprano Rhian Lois for a spectacular evening of operatic greats.

The Eisteddfod parade

Saints and Singers: The Music of Wales, is the title of Wednesday's evening concert, showcasing the Land of Song at its very best, with Welsh vocalists Shân Cothi and Rhodri Prys Jones, accompanied by the British Sinfonietta Orchestra.

The audience will be treated to two rare opportunities: the premiere of a brand new piece for tenor, chorus and orchestra by Dr Edward-Rhys Harry, and the majesty of the cantata ‘Saint Teilo’ by William Mathias CBE.


In memory of the Welsh tenor Kenneth Bowen, who died last year, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has revealed it will host the world premiere of The Spring of Vision, composed by the festival’s Music Director and friend of Bowen, Dr Edward-Rhys Harry.

Rolando Villazón

Jamie Smith’s Celtic band, Mabon will star in Thursday's carnival of cultures. The evening will commemorate the International Eisteddfod’s unique founding values of sharing music, dance, peace and friendship, with the poignant Peace Message and the annual Rotary Peace Award.

Gipsy Kings featuring Andre Reyes, who hail from the south of France, will bring their energetic set with infectious Latin rhythms to Llangollen for the very first time on Friday evening. Their music includes trademark hits such as Bamboleo and Volare.

Rumba, flamenco and salsa combined with contemporary pop music, perfect for anybody who loves to dance.

Shân Cothi and Rhodri Prys Jones

In a live televised concert, the festival's competitions will reach their climax on Saturday, with the finest choirs from across the globe battling for the highly sought after Choir of the World 2019 title and the prestigious Pavarotti Trophy.

Those taking part in the dance categories will participate in the Dance Champions of the World 2019 finals, competing for the coveted Lucille Armstrong Dance Award. The evening will include a very special appearance from Royal Harpist, Catrin Finch.

Scottish indie rockers The Fratellis, best known for their worldwide smash Chelsea Dagger, Mistress Mabel and Whistle for the Choir, will headline Llanfest alongside Merseyside music legends The Coral, with their chart-topping tracks Dreaming of You, Pass it On and In the Morning.

Dancers at the eisteddfod

Joining the high energy line-up will be Leeds-based indie icons The Pigeon Detectives, with the likes of This is an Emergency, Take Her Back and I Found Out, as well as pop rock trio Dodgy, with nostalgic nineties hits Staying out for the Summer and Good Enough to open the main stage headliners.

Tickets can be purchased online at

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.


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