Celtic nations and regions come together in Brittany

The inaugural Celtic Forum will take place in Rennes on Thursday 3 August, ahead of the start of annual Interceltique Festival in Lorient, which begins on Friday (4 August).

The Celtic Forum will bring together leaders from the Celtic nations and regions – it will be an opportunity to strengthen relationships and discuss areas for potential collaboration. The First Minister will hold bilateral meetings with other Celtic leaders during the Forum.

Festival Interceltique de Lorient is the largest annual celebration of Celtic culture of its kind. The festival is a celebration of the traditions of the Celtic nations and regions, with music, dance and visual arts, sports and gastronomy. In 2022, the festival attracted around 900,000 people over 10 days.

As a key part of the Wales in France year, there will be a strong Welsh presence at the festival this year, including musical performances by folk trios VRï and The Trials of Cato, as well as Only Boys Aloud and harpist Meinir Olwen. There is also an exhibition of photographs by Scott Taylor and a dance production, Qwerin, to be performed in the Théâtre de Lorient.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“The Celtic Forum is an excellent opportunity to come together as Celtic nations and regions, to build on our cultural and historical links and seek out areas for future collaboration, such as marine energy.

“Ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate the Wales-France relationship, revitalising existing partnerships and planting the seeds for future collaborations in culture, sport, the economy and innovation.”

Antwn Owen-Hicks, delegation leader for Wales at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, said:

“We’re presenting a strong programme of artists in Lorient, which reflects the ongoing development and confidence in our arts and culture.

“There’s always a lot of interest in the Welsh artists amongst the festival goers. From Only Boys Aloud’s songs to Cerys Hafana’s sublime triple harp playing or the joy of Qwerin queer street folk-dance, our programme this year will provide an opportunity to discover Wales’ talents and culture and entice the audience to visit Wales.“

Backed by the Arts Council of Wales, and led by its agency Wales Arts International, the Wales in France culture programme is a celebration of the arts, languages, sports and song.