The Eisteddfod was founded in 1946, following a small event in 1945 to raise funds for the Congregational Church (which was opposite Wadworth’s Brewery). It was started by the late Ray Smith (uncle of the current patron Simon May) who remained as Director and Secretary until 1970. It proved such a success that it became an annual event, held in halls in Devizes including the Town Hall and The Corn Exchange.
Michael Oliver then took over as Director and the event grew more and more successful, eventually moving to Devizes School.
Another chapter was written when, in 1995, the Eisteddfod was taken over by Dauntsey’s School at West Lavington under the Directorship of Chris Thompson, the School’s Director of Music.
In 1988, the Jazz star Jamie Cullum won a piano solo in the U10 section – and our Patron, Simon May, won an U10 piano duet in 1953.
There was no Eisteddfod in 2004 but the competition resumed in 2005 in Devizes under the Directorship of Ken Morrison. Frank Shipway took over for 2010. The executive chairman is Simon Jacobs.
In 2013 Michael Johnson, the well-known violin and piano teacher, examiner and musical director agreed to become Director of the Eisteddfod.
The Eisteddfod now also organises the annual Young Musician of Wiltshire, the Wiltshire Choir of the Year and this year the Musical Theatre Young Artist competition.
In recent years the Eisteddfod has grown from a one-day event to the present five days. In addition, the Eisteddfod promotes events at other times of the year including an annual Class Winners’ Concert each February and up to four Showcase Concerts given each year in various parts of the county.