Wales’ oldest classical music festival, the Gregynog Festival, is putting the country on the international cultural map as a key signature event, according to the Welsh Government’s tourism minister.
Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said the signature status for the Gregynog Festival demonstrates its key cultural and economic importance to Wales and the border areas, raising the profile of Wales domestically and internationally since sisters Gwendoline and Margaret Davies launched it at Gregynog Hall, near Newtown, Powys in 1933.
Such events have to demonstrate a strong international dimension and be either unique to Wales or distinctively Welsh in flavour, reflecting culture, traditions and values. The Festival launched its box office last week and has already been inundated with bookings from the UK and abroad.
“I’m delighted that the Welsh Government is supporting the growth and development of the Gregynog Festival which is Wales’s oldest classical music festival and one which is gaining international recognition for the quality of programme on offer and is drawing musicians of international significance to perform in Wales.”
He added: “The success of the Gregynog Festival is a wonderful way to keep the story of Davies sisters alive and introduce their achievements and heritage to new audiences.”
This year’s Gregynog Festival, which takes place between 12-28 June, is themed on Revolution, focusing on Welsh connections between the Napoleonic Wars and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and with an emphasis on French music and musicians.
Thousands of prisoners from the Napoleonic Wars were sent to communities in Montgomeryshire and the border areas during the early 1800s.
The Festival will mark this with a series of concerts, workshops, talks and events within communities such as Montgomery, Welshpool, Llanfyllin and Oswestry, as well as other events in Gregynog Hall’s famous Music Room, the Gregynog Gallery at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff and the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
“We’re very pleased to have been re-awarded Visit Wales Signature status. We are one of just a few such events to attain this as a result of our distinctive and varied programme of music and events,” said Dr Rhian Davies, artistic director of the Gregynog Festival.
“We’re taking this year’s Festival out to even more communities in the area, reviving music of the Napoleonic era with some of the world’s leading performers and highlighting the unique connections which these wars had with rural communities here in Mid Wales.
“Our events will also highlight local stories connected to the prisoners of war, some of whom returned to the area after being repatriated to France.”
The events and concerts will also highlight local stories connected to the prisoners of war, some of whom returned to the area to live after being repatriated to France.