Wales

Fixed bases for National Eisteddfod under discussion

Pavilion and Gorsedd
Image caption The National Eisteddfod is funded to the tune of about £500,000 by the Welsh government

The National Eisteddfod could move between two permanent bases in addition to visiting temporary venues as part of proposals to modernise the event.

A task-and-finish group set up by the Welsh government will look at the pros and cons of the eisteddfod model and whether changes could improve it.

The group will examine if having fixed homes every two out of four years could boost tourism and the local economy.

The use of Welsh only in competitions is not being discussed by the group.

It will report back to the education minister Leighton Andrews in September 2013.

The 12 members, which include Hay Festival director Peter Florence, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM and BBC broadcaster Roy Noble, will look at nine topics.

Digital age

The biggest proposed change would mean having a four-year cycle for the festival.

In two of the years, it would be held in permanent bases, possibly in north west Wales and west Wales, while in during the other two years it would continue as now moving between north and south Wales to temporary homes.

The group will examine possible tourism and economic benefits of such an arrangement.

Other areas of discussion include separating the organisation of the eisteddfod week from the organisation of the competitive events during the festival, maintaining volunteer commitment and maximising media impact in the digital age.

They will also consider other sources of income for the eisteddfod, sharing resources with the Urdd youth organisation, increasing visitor numbers, including among non-Welsh speaking families, and better assistance to new and English speaking visitors.

The next eisteddfod is due to be held in Denbighshire in 2013.

The festival receives about £500,000 from the Welsh government, but Mr Andrews had suggested in a speech at this year's event in the Vale of Glamorgan that the funding could increase if the event broadened its appeal beyond Welsh-speakers.

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