There are only 100 days to go before the National Eisteddfod begins in Cardiff Bay this year, and Chief Executive, Elfed Roberts, spoke about the Maes and what to expect as he prepares for his final Eisteddfod before his retirement.
He says, “There’s been plenty of discussion on the fact that this year’s Eisteddfod is an experimental and urban festival, and that we’ll be doing a few things differently in Cardiff. But I think it’s important to stress that the Bay will be transformed into an Eisteddfod Maes. We’re determined that the friendly and welcoming atmosphere will be the same as every other year.
“The Bay is similar to the traditional Maes in size, and we’re looking forward to combining elements of the usual site with the Bay’s iconic buildings and one or two other new ideas during the week.
“By now, we’ve done a number of the main announcements. We’ve outlined the concerts and tickets are on sale and selling exceptionally well – there are very few tickets left for a number of evenings – so get in touch to order your tickets as soon as you can so you don’t miss out.
“We also know that Diffiniad will be headlining Llwyfan y Maes BBC Radio Cymru on the Friday night, and to say this has been warmly welcomed is an understatement. The stage, the Food Village and the main bars are all situated within the Roald Dahl Plass outside the main entrance of the Wales Millennium Centre, which is where the Gorsedd Stones will also be located for the ceremonies on Monday and Friday morning, with the Stones moved during the week.
“The Pavilion, many of the theatrical performances and the Literary Pavilion will all be situated within the Millennium Centre, and we’ll also be using other iconic buildings in the Bay throughout the week. Shwmae Caerdydd, Dysgu Cymraeg – Learn Welsh will be in the Pierhead Building and this year’s Lle Celf is in the Senedd. Another three rooms within the Senedd will be used for Societies meetings during the week.
“Many of our visitors will know the attractive former bank building on Bute Street, Portland House, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to put our Dance events there during the week. This has given us extra scope to hold a few extra events and activities during the week.
“Over the weekend, we were able to confirm that Maes B will be held in the former home of the Doctor Who Experience in the Bay, and we were particularly pleased to announce that we will be organising a music festival for those aged 16 and over again this year. We were also very keen to have Maes B in the Bay so that Eisteddfod activities are all held in one part of the city during the week.
“This year, we have a science and technology area rather than one large pavilion. And the usual mix of exhibitions, activities and shows will be held there again this year, with everything designed to appeal to people of all ages as we promote science and technology bilingually and in Welsh.
“I’m sure people will be pleased to hear that a number of our most attractive temporary structures will be returning to the Maes this year, with the Tŷ Gwerin yurt and the Caffi Maes B and Sinemaes tepees taking their place on the Maes. The Syched bar will also be returning, and will be located close to Tŷ Gwerin near the Norwegian Church which will host a number of musical events.
“There’ll be over 100 stalls of all shapes and sizes around the Bay, and although all the traditional stalls have been sold, there are still a few small wooden huts available to rent for the week – but you’ll have to be quick to get one. All details on the Eisteddfod website.
“We’ve been hearing that hotel rooms in the Cardiff area are scarce during Eisteddfod week, but we’ve still got spaces on the official caravan and family campsite. Staying on the caravan site is great fun and part of the Eisteddfod experience for hundreds of families every year, so why not book your pitch and come to stay in Pontcanna Fields this year? You can book online on the Eisteddfod website.
“And the Eisteddfod website is also the place to go to pre-order your copy of the Official Programme from today onwards. With 100 days to go until the start of the Eisteddfod, the work of collating all the events and activities is drawing to a close, and once again this year, we’ll be organising over 1,000 individual events around the Maes during the week.
“The Official Programme will be distributed to all those who pre-order a copy by the beginning of July, so go online now to pre-order your copy to receive it before anyone else!
“We’ll have more tickets available from 8 May onwards, as we announce details of more evening events in a number of locations around the Bay. You’ll also be able to pre-order wristbands for day activities in the Pavilion in the Donald Gordon Theatre and the smaller pavilions dotted around the Wales Millennium Centre.
“These can be ordered beforehand or bought on the day, and the aim is to enable us to control the number of people in the Centre at any one time, in line with their health and safety requirements. Entry to the other areas on the Maes, including the other permanent buildings will be free of charge.”
The Cardiff National Eisteddfod is held in the Bay from 3-11 August. For more information and to buy tickets, go to www.eisteddfod.wales.