Which festivals in Wales focus on Welsh language and culture?

Festivals are a vibrant part of Welsh culture, reflecting the national identity and spirit of the Welsh people. Some events, however, hold a special place in the hearts of the Welsh. These festivals focus specifically on celebrating and preserving the unique Welsh language and culture. If you're looking to immerse yourselves in the true spirit of Wales, these are the festivals you should mark on your calendars.

The National Eisteddfod of Wales

One of the most significant festivals in Wales, the National Eisteddfod, is a week-long celebration of the Welsh language and culture. The national event is held annually and alternates between North and South Wales. It is one of the oldest and largest cultural festivals in Europe, dating back to the 12th century.

Eisteddfod is derived from the Welsh term meaning "a sitting" or "a meeting," and true to its name, it brings together people from all walks of life. Its focus is on the Welsh language, with competitions in music, literature, drama, and other forms of art, all conducted in Welsh. It's also a great place to sample traditional Welsh food, with many stalls featuring local cuisine.

The Goron (the Crown) and the Hawlfraint (the Chair) are the two highest honours that one can win at the National Eisteddfod. These are awarded for poetry and are revered symbols of achievement in the world of Welsh arts.

The Cardiff Festival of Welsh Language Music

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, hosts an annual festival dedicated to Welsh language music. This event showcases the vibrant Welsh music scene, with performances from both established and upcoming artists. The Cardiff Festival of Welsh Language Music is a unique opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of genres, from pop and rock to folk and choral, all sung in the Welsh language.

What makes this festival truly special is its location in the heart of Cardiff, a city where the Welsh language thrives despite the predominance of English. The festival not only promotes Welsh music but also contributes to the language's vitality in an urban setting.

The International Welsh Poetry Festival

While many Welsh festivals pay homage to the arts in general, the International Welsh Poetry Festival provides a platform specifically for the celebration of Welsh verse. This event is a significant one on the literary calendar, attracting poets, academics, and enthusiasts from around the world.

The festival features readings, workshops, and discussions, all centered around Welsh poetry. The aim is not only to celebrate the rich tradition of Welsh verse but also to foster an appreciation of the Welsh language and cultivate its use in contemporary literature. This festival is a testament to the enduring relevance of the Welsh language, demonstrating its adaptability and vibrancy in today's literary scene.

The Welsh Language and Heritage Festival

Another key event promoting the Welsh language and culture is the Welsh Language and Heritage Festival. This event, established to celebrate the welsh language's longevity and its contribution to the local heritage, takes place in different towns across Wales each year.

The festival encourages people of all ages to engage with the Welsh language and culture, offering activities such as traditional music and dance performances, food and drink tastings, craft fairs, and historical reenactments. The overarching objective is to promote and preserve Welsh culture, ensuring that its rich traditions continue to be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations.

St David's Day

Lastly, no discussion of Welsh language and culture festivals would be complete without mentioning St David's Day. Celebrated annually on March 1, this day is dedicated to the patron saint of Wales, St David. The event is marked with parades, concerts, and theatrical performances, all paying homage to Welsh culture.

One of the highlights of St David's Day is the Eisteddfod for schools, where children enthusiastically participate in Welsh language musical and literary competitions. It's a day of national pride, where the Welsh language is at the forefront, highlighting its importance to the cultural identity of the people of Wales.

Focus Wales: A Music Festival with a Twist

Held annually in the town of Wrexham, North Wales, Focus Wales is a unique music festival that integrates the Welsh language and culture into its programming. It’s an international showcase of Welsh music and arts where approximately 200 bands across various venues play over the course of four days.

While the festival welcomes artists from all over the globe, a special emphasis is placed on Welsh language music. Several performances are conducted entirely in Welsh, demonstrating the language's musicality and adaptability to diverse genres. It's also a platform for emerging Welsh artists to get noticed in the music industry.

Focus Wales is not just about live music; it’s also a place for learning and knowledge exchange. The festival offers interactive sessions in the form of panel discussions, workshops, and Q&As. Many of these sessions revolve around the contribution of the Welsh language and culture to the music industry, advocating for more representation and preservation.

On the final day, to highlight the importance of the Welsh language, the festival crowns the best Welsh Language act. This Goron Crown, inspired by the national eisteddfod tradition, is a coveted honour in the Welsh music scene.

The Aberystwyth Food Festival: A Celebration of Welsh Cuisine

When it comes to culture, food and drink are indispensable. The Aberystwyth Food Festival, held in the picturesque coastal town of Aberystwyth in South Wales, is a foodie’s paradise that champions the Welsh language and local produce.

The festival showcases a diverse range of Welsh food and drink, from traditional to fusion. The stalls boasting Welsh-English signs are filled with mouthwatering delights such as traditional Welsh cakes, bara brith, cawl, and a variety of local cheeses and ales.

What makes this food festival unique, however, is its commitment to the Welsh language. Each food and drink stall provides information about their products in both English and Welsh, fostering an immersive bilingual environment for visitors.

The festival also organises live cooking demonstrations conducted in Welsh, with translations available. These sessions not only provide culinary tips but also serve as an engaging language-learning exercise for attendees.


In a world that is increasingly globalised, the importance of preserving local languages and cultures cannot be overstated. Festivals like the National Eisteddfod, the Cardiff Festival of Welsh Language Music, the International Welsh Poetry Festival, the Welsh Language and Heritage Festival, St David's Day, Focus Wales, and the Aberystwyth Food Festival play a crucial role in maintaining the vibrancy and relevance of the Welsh language and culture.

These events highlight the dynamic and multifaceted nature of Welsh culture, from music and poetry to food and heritage. They serve as a reminder that the Welsh language is not merely a means of communication, but a bridge to the rich historical and cultural tapestry of Wales.

Whether you're a native Welsh speaker, a language enthusiast, or simply curious about Welsh culture, these festivals offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in an authentic Welsh experience. Rest assured, you'll leave with a greater appreciation of the Welsh language and a few words or phrases to add to your vocabulary. So, mark the dates on your calendar and prepare for a memorable journey into the heart of Wales.