Cerys helps #Cardiff2017 preparations at ‘beautiful’ stadium
1st June 2017, 12:01 pm By Principality Stadium
Welsh music star Cerys Matthews has made an exciting return to the National Stadium of Wales in the build-up to the hotly-anticipated UEFA Champions League Final.
The biggest sporting event on the planet between Real Madrid and Juventus kicks off on Saturday 3 June at 19:45 with a television audience of 200 million worldwide.
Ahead of the big event, the singer and television presenter joined stadium staff to help prepare the iconic venue, and the reputation of her hometown, for the eyes of the sporting world.
On The One Show (Friday 2 June at 7pm) Cerys Matthews will be making the most of her access-all-areas pass to see how the stadium is gearing up for the biggest event Wales has ever hosted.
“It’s massive for Wales,” said Cerys, who could hardly contain her enthusiasm.
“Events like this help people know we exist and brings visitors to the area, both of which help make connections and rouse business interests. Ultimately, that brings money into Wales and people from all over the country are already excited.
“Football fans love the National Stadium – they came here when the new Wembley was being built and fell in love with the place. What’s not to love about the stadium? It was such a great call to build it in the heart of town. It’s convenient, it’s beautiful, the acoustics are incomparable, and the people of Wales deliver a welcome that's unbeatable around the world. I can’t wait.”
As well as getting stuck-in to life behind-the-scenes at the venue, Cerys got to relive the ‘unforgettable’ moment she performed alongside Shirley Bassey and Bryn Terfel at the opening ceremony of the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
“There was a palpable thrill in the air, a sense of belonging and pride and excitement as we broadcast live to billions around the world for the very first time: and all from the heart of Wales capital city Cardiff,” she said of that day.
“It was certainly a moment to cherish for so many of us. I’ve loved returning ever since and there have been so many memories in the last 18 years. It’s a great stadium, perfectly located next to the river and in the bosom of Wales.”
Asked about her memories of the performance, she said: “Running (badly) across the pitch in heels was one memory, singing live (not playback) was very cool, and taking off a black long coat to reveal a red rugby shirt covered in crystals.
"But the best, most acute memory was the feeling of togetherness. There were 70,000 voices singing in harmony, singing out to the rest of the world. I’ll never forget it.”
Cerys’ love of Welsh sports also took her ‘on the road’ in support of Welsh football for the historic run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in France last summer.
“I’m a massive football fan. I follow a lot of teams; Luton, Swansea and of course, the national team of Wales,” she said. “We’ve been all over Europe to follow their exploits and 2016 was the best summer ever.
“Seeing the team play in France, bringing my children with me, and letting them stay connected to their Welsh roots was all part of witnessing a legendary performance by the boys in red. TogetherStronger – what a motto. It's a great ethos to bring to the table of life.”
That ethos of togetherness has seen the Football Association of Wales, alongside UEFA, the National Stadium of Wales, South Wales Police, Welsh Government, Cardiff Council and all city and transport planners working to deliver the greatest sports show on earth in Cardiff.
For all Cardiff 2017 info, head to: cardiff2017.wales
On the eve of Wales' biggest event, watch Cerys' unique stadium experience on The One Show – live from Cardiff – on BBC One, 7pm (Friday 2 June).