Llangollen is heaving all summer, and never more so than in early July, when for six days the town explodes in a frenzy of music, dance, poetry and colour. Unlike the National Eisteddfod, which is a purely Welsh affair, the International Music Eisteddfod draws amateur performers from fifty countries, all competing for prizes inside the 6000-seat Royal International Pavilion, and at several other venues. The eisteddfod has been held in its present form since 1947 when forty choirs from fourteen countries performed. Today, more than 4000 participants lure up to 150,000 visitors, and there is an irresistible joie de vivre as brightly costumed dancers stroll the streets and fill the restaurants.
The eisteddfod is followed by the less frenetic Llangollen Fringe, with a number of more “alternative” acts – music, dance, comedy and so on – performing over the third week in July.