9:36am Wednesday 21st May 2014
MONMOUTHSHIRE council will seek to rubber stamp its application to hold the biggest annual Welsh culture festival, which could deliver a multi-million pound boost to the county’s economy, this Friday.
The authority has applied to host the eight-day 2016 National Eisteddfod at Castle Meadows in Abergavenny, the first time it will have been held in the county since 1913.
Held over the first week in August, the event would attract up to 160,000 visitors, and the council said the event presents “significant social and economic returns on investment”.
Cllr Douglas Edwards, whose Grofield ward includes Castle Meadows, said: “It is a wonderful thing to come and it is a big boost for the economy. For Monmouthshire, which is very much a tourist area, it is very desirable.
“I think that every county councillor should be thrilled with the idea. It is a really big project.”
The owner of The Guest House bed and breakfast on Oxford Street in Abergavenny, Jenny Taylor-Jones, welcomed the proposal.
She said: “I think any festival in Abergavenny is successful. Being a Welsh festival it is vitally important. We have the food festival – the Glastonbury of food festivals. This will be no different.”
Host of the 2000 Eisteddfod, Cardiff council said they made £8.2 million on hosting the festival. And Powys county council, which has applied to host the 2015 Eisteddfod in Welshpool, is expecting an injection of between £6 million and £8 million.
The authority’s cabinet first agreed to host the festival in principle last November subject to a suitable site being identified.
Officers have proposed the council provides the festival with £580,000 from its priority investment reserve. From that, £300,000 will be used to underwrite any community fundraising to host it.
The council said Castle Meadows is the most suitable place to hold it in Monmouthshire because of its size, proximity to a hospital and Abergavenny’s town centre and good transport links.
The Eisteddfod’s chief executive, Elfed Roberts, said: “The travelling aspect of the National Eisteddfod is incredibly important, and this allows us to visit different parts of Wales every year. The festival is different every time, and we respond to local needs and priorities, striving to leave a lasting legacy in any area we visit. This will be the first time for the festival to visit Monmouthshire for many years, and we are very much looking forward to working on the project with the local council and communities across the county.
“People often think of the National Eisteddfod as a week-long event, but we will be working in Monmouthshire for the next two years on the community project. The week itself is the pinnacle of this project, and we hope that people from all over Wales and beyond will join us during the first week of August in 2016 for what will be a memorable experience for the county and for us as a festival.”
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