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Eisteddfod by the Bay


Lesley McGurgan OAM

Former Councillor and Mayor of the City of Kingston and the City of Mordialloc






                            Volunteers Morning Tea at Oscar's Hangout







‘Competitor number 21 is performing…’

Countless times have I sat in the wings at eisteddfods and sent a fervent, telepathic apology to the poor volunteer who has drawn the short straw of having to attempt the title of my definitely-not-in-English, swapped-in-at-the-last-minute song.

On a microphone. In front of people.

I think we can all agree, that’s a tough gig. I’m just grateful that I’ve never received the side-eye from any volunteer, because with some of those song names, I completely deserved it.

Having performed at eisteddfods and competitions on and off for the best part of the past decade, I’ve come to realise that emerging performers have so much to be thankful for in the army of eisteddfod volunteers.

There are many paths to musical greatness, and one way of achieving career success is to work your way through the eisteddfod circuit. Start small, and go up from there.

There are lots of benefits to doing it this way. Each eisteddfod offers the opportunity to perform and network, receive feedback from an industry professional, and a chance to win some cold, hard cash along with other prizes to advance your career.

For the most part, these opportunities are made possible by hundreds of volunteers in dozens of eisteddfods across the country.

The volunteers involved aren’t just those you meet at the registration desk, or on stage announcing your pesky song title just before you perform. Eisteddfods are months in the planning.

Long before eager performers jump on the Stardom website to register for their sections, volunteers on eisteddfod committees have already spent many hours working out the puzzle of fitting those sections together, and lining up even more volunteers to ensure they each section runs smoothly.

They’ve also spent countless hours ensuring that their eisteddfod is one that a performer would be proud to have competed in. They’ve gone to great lengths to get the best adjudicators, sponsors for prizes, good venues, and fabulous accompanists.

And then someone has to publicise the eisteddfod so that performers flock to it. Someone has to be on social media. Someone has to be in charge of publicity emails. Volunteers have to be recruited to mail out hundreds of entrance forms, and again to mail out all the programs once they’ve been finalised. And speaking of programs, someone has put that little booklet together; a fiddly task in and of itself.

Then there are the minutiae. What flowers should be presented? What should be served at supper for a late-running section? What’s an appropriate amount of prize money for each section? What should the certificates look like? Which trophies look best? All of these tiny details, and countless more, need to be decided.

In every eisteddfod, from the earliest planning stages to the moment that last prize is given in the final section, the volunteers are there, unpaid, giving up hours of their time to help advance emerging performers’ careers.

Why do they do it?

It’s quite simple. They love it. They love the music, they love the performances, and they love – and see the importance of – doing their part to foster new talent so that good music may be heard in years to come.

In an age where it seems that fewer people appreciate the arts, and in a time-pressed climate where volunteers can be more difficult to find, it’s a special thing to know that people are giving up their time, unpaid, so that one day in the future you might be paid and acclaimed as a performer to do what you do best.

Thank you eisteddfod volunteers, for all you do. I am extremely grateful.

And I swear that from hereon in, I will notify you well in advance of any not-in-English songs with tricky titles I might want to perform.

Eisteddfod by the Bay is a not for profit organisation run by a voluntary committee who are dedicated to the performing arts. Eisteddfod by the Bay is grateful for the support provided by all our sponsors and thank all the volunteers who assist us throughout the year with all disciplines. Without the continued support of sponsors and volunteers we would not be able to provide such a high standard of competition.

The Eisteddfod by the Bay Committee is open to anyone who would like to contribute to the success of our eisteddfod. Our President Jill Page would be pleased to speak with you on  0412 161 399  or

If you would like to get involved through sponsorship or volunteering please contact the
President or the Section Convenors. Their names and contact details are listed under their

The eisteddfod commenced in 1955 as the Mordialloc Eisteddfod, and ran for many years under this name. We are proud of our long history in nurturing the performing arts and allowing each competitor to perform to the very best of their ability. We  look forward to continuing to support and encourage  our entrants to develop and gain confidence now and in the future.

The  Committee wishes you well in your competitions for 2023.

68TH Eisteddfod by the Bay

May 20- September 10 2023

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The Eisteddfod by the Bay is supported by their local Community Bank branches, Parkdale and Mentone East

The Eisteddfod by the Bay is supported by the Victorian Government through the

Community Support Fund

2010 City of Kingston Australia Day Community Group Award

The Eisteddfod by the Bay acknowledges the financial support of The City of Kingston

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