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Cultural hotspot ready for the Urdd; FESTIVAL NEAR CAERNARFON EXPECTS 100,000 PEOPLE.

Byline: SION MORGAN

AROUND 100,000 visitors and competitors are expected to flock to the Urdd Eisteddfod next week, organisers of Europe's largest youth festival said last night.

Final preparations were being made today as the event near Caernarfon gets ready to kick off tomorrow with its traditional opening concert, The Urdd National Eisteddfod Eryri 2012 will see 15,000 children from across the nation competing on the grounds of Coleg Meirion Dwyfor in Glynllifon between Monday and Saturday.

Visitors are promised a feast of music from Sunday evening at a concert brimming with talented performers including opera star Rhys Meirion, comedian Tudur Owen and Calan.

"We're extremely fortunate to attract some of the most talented artists in Wales," said event director Aled Sin.

"As well as those, we have some young artists who have been nurtured and developed through the Urdd, such as Glain Dafydd, the winner of the Bryn Terfel Scholarship, who comes from Bangor and is making a name for herself as a versatile harpist."

He added: "It is a privilege to come to an area that has produced so much talent and such a strong cultural tradition and our hope as organisers is that the audience will enjoy the performance that will be a great start to an exciting week on the Eisteddfod maes."

One group looking forward to joining the stars on stage is lively folk group Calan, who are billed as pushing back the boundaries of traditional Welsh folk music in both sound and image. The group are currently building on the success of their first album, Bling, which received rave reviews in the UK press.

Bethan Rhiannon, who plays the accordion, said: "As a group we are bringing Welsh music into the second decade of the 21st century that is a mixture of traditional tunes and a set of original ones. There is a huge archive of traditional Welsh music available but there is no reason why we shouldn't add to it and develop and refresh it."

Urdd Gobaith Cymru is Wales' largest youth organisation with around 50,000 members between the ages of eight and 25.

The organisation aims to give children and young people an opportunity to live their lives through the medium of Welsh, developing confidence and respect for each other and the people of the world.

Visitors to the Urdd National Eisteddfod will be able to take advantage of a special offer on the festival's last day on Saturday, June 9. Adult tickets will be offered in a two for the price of one deal with children admitted free.

Mr Sin said: "There's no need to fill in any forms or register to take advantage of this offer. There's a very warm invitation to everyone and we look forward to welcoming visitors from near and far to the Eisteddfod in Glynllifon on Saturday June 9."

Eisteddfod visitors are being urged to follow directions when travelling to the maes. Between Monday morning and Saturday evening, a one-way system will be in place, leading traffic down Allt y Glyn from Groeslon and up Allt Goch to Penygroes.

A spokesman for the Eisteddfod said: "Details of how to get to the maes, and of a bus service running between Pwllheli and the Eisteddfod and Caernarfon and the Eisteddfod, can be found on the website - www.urdd.org/eisteddfod" EISTEDDFOD IN NUMBERS 100,000 visitors expected to the site near Caernarfon this week 15,000 children from across Wales set to compete 2,132 steel tracks laid out to be used as vehicle and public footways on the maes 750 miles of cables used to power the site, with 15 generators providing enough electricity to run a small village 500 stewards who give up their time during the festival 200 toilets on the maes 196 organisations' stalls on the maes, a new Eisteddfod record

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* The eisteddfod starts tomorrow with the traditional opening concert PICTURE: Matthew Horwood [umlaut]
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 2, 2012
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