Hundreds of people lined the streets to enjoy the pageantry, colour and noise of the opening parade of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
Choirs and dancers from all over the world waved flags and banners as they joined in the procession through the town and back to the Eisteddfod ground on the first full day of events.
Inside the showground sounds of African drumming merged with a steel drum band and operatic singing as performers from the far corners of the world took to the various stages.
Among the performers was the children’s choir from Ysgol Bodhyfryd in Wrexham. Teacher Sian Meirion led the young singers, all aged eight to 11, as they competed in the junior children’s choir competition in the main pavilion.
She said: “We’ve had a brilliant day. We brought 60 children with us and they’ve been saying how much fun they’ve had on stage. They said it was quite nerve-wracking but they’ve all really enjoyed themselves.”
Many of the performers have travelled thousands of miles to join in with the annual event.
For students from the St Margaret’s Anglican Girls’ School in Brisbane, Australia, the festival is the culmination of two weeks of travel in Europe. The girls, aged 12 to 18, are part of the Encorah choir and chamber strings ensemble, arrived in Paris 10 days ago and have visited London and Bath before arriving in Llangollen ready to compete.
Music teacher Brad King, head of music, said: “I came over in 2008 with a different group but, for these students, it’s their first time. It’s been a real experience – they’re all really excited and buzzing. We love it. The Eisteddfod is brilliant.
“ They’re quite enjoying the British summer, but it’s not as hot as an Australian winter.”
Equally far from home were the 28 dancers and singers from the Haidian Foreign Language Shi Yan School in China. The group of 12 to 14-year-olds were accompanied by teacher Yan Ping. She said: “We came here last year but with different kids. We really enjoyed it and we’re looking forward to taking part in the children’s folk choir and folk dance competitions.”
For many competitors the appeal of the Eisteddfod wasn’t just limited to the chance to perform in such an international arena, but was also experiencing the atmosphere at the showground.
Gianpaolo Eleria, teacher at St Peter’s Prep School in New Jersey, USA, said the 16 students he had brought had been enjoying the good feeling which surrounded all the competitions. He said: “It’s the first time we’ve been over. We’ve been here since this morning and it’s been a blast seeing all the people from these different countries and the festival atmosphere during the competition.”
Designated as children’s day, many were school parties supporting the performers.
During the day the field hosted performances from Telford’s Abraham Darby Academy Band and the Ysgol Bodhyfryd creative dance group, and workshops in Bollywood and street dancing.
Children and young people took centre stage in the competitions in the main pavilion as well as competing in the junior ch