Plaid Cymru want next year's Eisteddfod to be free so it doesn't exclude 'thousands of families'

Plaid Cymru said having free entry would encourage more people to attend Credit: ITV Wales

Next year's National Eisteddfod should be free to attend, according to Plaid Cymru.

The call comes after Pontypridd was announced as the venue for 2024.

Organisers said the Welsh language festival will be accessible to everyone across Wales.

Pontypridd has fewer Welsh speakers than other areas which have hosted the festival previously, as well as higher levels of deprivation and child poverty.

  • Heledd Fychan MS said the potential "boost" for the Welsh language is "huge"

Talking about making the Eisteddfod in 2024 free, Plaid Cymru MS Heledd Fychan said while the festival is "fantastic value for money" it is expensive for a lot of people struggling with the cost of living.

Talking about the financial situation in Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), she said: "Child poverty rates are so, so high in so many different wards" and she does not want "costs to be a barrier for thousands of families."

The MS for South Wales Central also said there is "huge" potential for next year's Eisteddfod to provide a "boost" to numbers speaking Welsh, with the festival last held in RCT in the 1950s.

  • The Welsh language is in a "precarious" situation in many areas, said Ms Fychan

The Welsh Government has set a target of one million people speaking the Welsh language by 2050.

The Labour-led government in the Senedd said it wants to see the language "thriving" by then and used "in every aspect of life."

However, Ms Fychan said the future of the Welsh language is "in a precarious situation in many communities.

"Lots of people are very positive towards the language but if we are to achieve the target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050, then areas like Rhondda Cynon Taf are going to be crucial."

  • People at the Eisteddfod suggested a discount for locals should be considered

Talking about the current cost of going to the Eisteddfod, held in Boduan in 2023, some people suggested a discount for locals should be considered.

At the moment, only those on the very lowest incomes are able to enter to Eisteddfod for free.

Talking to ITV News, one woman said: "It's great for everyone to be able to enjoy it and not just people who can afford to."

Another said: "It is a lot of money", adding that "it would be really good if they did a local discount."

Another visitor told ITV News he thought a discount for local people would mean "everyone would get their turn to get a cheaper ticket" as the Eisteddfod moves to a different part of Wales each year.

  • A local Pontypridd resident at this year's festival said it was "fantastic" news for the town

Looking ahead to next year's event in Pontypridd, Jane Rhys, who has lived in the area for nearly four decades said the news the Eisteddfod will return to the town for the first time in more than a century was "very exciting."

She added Pontypridd is "one of the areas in Wales which is struggling at the moment with the cost of living."

She also said the Eisteddfod coming to the town next year was a "fantastic opportunity" for people to "see the Eisteddfod and to find out exactly what an Eisteddfod means to Welsh speakers."

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