The SMU/UMD Eisteddfod


The SMU/UMD Eisteddfod


Eisteddfod is a Welsh word meaning “a gathering of bards and minstrels.” Records indicate that the first eisteddfod was held in 1176 at Cardigan Castle in West Wales where poets and musicians competitively performed for the royalty. In 1858, the first public, national eisteddfod was held in Wales at Llangollen. There were very few, if any, eisteddfod festivals during World War I and II; in 1947, however, in an attempt to break down cultural and political barriers, the first International Musical Festival was held. The festival took place in Llandollen where people of many cultural backgrounds (Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, and Yugoslavian to name a few) came together to enjoy one another's cultural and musical traditions, and to perform as well. 

In 1971, Glasser founded the first Eisteddfod Festival at SMU. International traditional musicians were now drawn to SMU's campus for the festive event.

Though the eisteddfodae are more formal and larger scaled than the ceilidhs, the two events co-existed through the 1970s in Southeastern Massachusetts (the ceilidhs were held on a weekly or monthly basis whereas the eisteddfodae were held annually for three consecutive days in the early fall). The ceilidhs on campus ceased in 1980, but the annual Eisteddfod festival was held annually in October from 1972 to 1996. In 1996, the UMD Eisteddfod celebrated its 25th anniversary. Unfortunately, in May of 1997 campus administration decided to withdraw funding for the annual event. There was no festival held between 1997 and 2000.

Funding for the UMD Eisteddfod festival was provided by the Allocations Committee, the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and annual student fees. Organization of the festival was provided by the Eisteddfod Executive Committee. The committee was comprised of professors of traditional music, performers and artists of traditional music, traditional storytellers, broadcasters of folk-radio, and others who may have a great interest in the annual UMD Eisteddfod Festivals.

MC 2 Finding Aid

Eisteddfod Performers, 1971-1991

Eisteddfod Concerts, by Date