The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod: a festival of world talent!

By Desh Kapur, Rock At Night Manchester

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Wales, UK – July 1st – July 7th 2019 

Jools Holland

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is a music festival that takes place in July in Llangollen, North Wales. It is one of several large annual Eisteddfodau in Wales. It brings together Singers, dancers and performers from all around the world. 

 This year I had the privilege of covering some of the evenings live music concerts.  In previous years this very very impressive main pavilion stage had been graced by such artists as Luciano Pavarotti, Lulu, Manic Street Preachers, Status Quo , Julian Lloyd Webber and Katherine Jenkins. 

Gypsy Kings

 This year there was a plethora of amazing talent to see, Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, The Gypsy Kings and Llan Fest which featured Dodgy, The Pigeon Detectives, The Coral and The Fratellis,  

 The whole week was to be kicked of by the cool as F£$k, mega talented pianist and patron of the festival Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, with some very special guests along the way and what a fitting way to start proceedings, 

 He performed a set packed with Honky Tonk, Rhythm and Blues, Soul and Ska. There was some thing for every person packed into the main pavilion, the band was tight, Jools is a genius and add in those special guests which included Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson from legendary Ska band The Selector. The whole place young and old, bop and souled, skanked and danced and it was a brilliant evening,  

The Pigeon Detectives

Then it was back for Friday and The Gypsy Kings who were going to be bringing their own brand of flamenco, salsa and pop to the Welsh hills, and who knew??,   

Communication was kept to a minimal as the majority of the band are French and they Perform in Andalusian Spanish but that didn’t make a blind bit of difference they let there music do the talking and it had the crowd up on there feet, dancing in the isles, (who knew salsa was so popular in the hills of Wales) and singing along with the odd word they recognised, another great night. 


 Up next Sunday and Llanfest 2019 a day packed full of music.  

 Bands and performers played on stages all over the impressive show grounds and the main pavilion was going to be host to some of the most popular British bands of the last 20 years,  

 First up were Dodgy, who played a fine opening set of “infectious, power pop, that included the hits and crowd favourites Staying Out for the Summer”, “If You’re Thinking of Me”, “Good Enough and “In A Room”. These guys were never one hit indie boys and it’s nice to see audiences giving them the appreciation their music deserves. 

 Then came the energy explosion known as a Pigeon Detectives gig, after exclaiming that this is one of the strangest gigs they have played and he got very drunk in a local Welsh pub the night before, lead singer Matt Bowman, danced, jumped, prowled, covered himself with water and twerked his way through the whole set, I don’t think there was a bit of the stage he didn’t cover, it was great to watch and the crowd loved it. This was all backed up with finely crafted indie pop songs, played perfectly; I look forward to seeing them again soon. 

The Coral

Then on Strolled Wirral boys and Mercury Prize winners The Coral, lead singer James Skelly looking resplendent in shades and brown Fedora. With their unique brand of Merseyside pop all the classics were given airing but the big noise was saved for “Thinking Of You’, “In The Morning”, “Pass It On” and the brilliant “Dreaming Of You”, The Coral are just so good, 

 The last band of the day/night were Scottish Indie rockers The Fratellis and songs like “Chelsea Dagger” and Whistle For The Choir, “Henrietta” and “Mistress Mabel” brought the house down and the end to a wonderful week of international talent, 

 Llangollen International Music festival is a brilliant and well organized event, held in the beautifully picturesque town of Llangollen, its pretty much run and organized by volunteers and its put on for the love of the arts and Wales, Its important and should be cherished, we should count ourselves lucky that we have events like these. With that said we all need to do our bit, we need to use it or we will lose it and then it will be two late, don’t let this amazing family event disappear, make sure you take the time next year to go and help keep this event running for many many years to come, thank you for a great week, Diolch. 


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