Rule cuts snap-happy parents out of the picture at Bathurst Eisteddfod

THE issue of parents being unable to photograph their own children during the Bathurst Eisteddfod has reared its head as the popular community event moves towards the end of its first week.

Many parents are upset they can’t take photos of their children performing. There is a notice on the syllabus that says the use of all electronic recording devices, including cameras and mobile phones, during performances of the Bathurst Eisteddfod is strictly prohibited.

Eisteddfod Society president Paula Elbourne said rules about people taking photographs at the eisteddfod had been in place for some years, long before she came to the role. 

She said an agreement was reached between the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC) and the Eisteddfod Society not to allow photographs, except for those taken by professional media photographers. 

Ms Elbourne said when it came to sessions involving large groups of children, such as choirs, bands and dance troupes, having a lot of parents standing up throughout the performance and snapping flash photos can be distracting to children who are already feeling the pressure.

“From the eisteddfod society’s point of view we cherish the kids’ ability to be on stage with their peers and we know how distracting it is to have flashes going off,”she said.

“We want the kids to enjoy themselves.”

She said the matter came to a head when the number of photos being taken by parents got out of hand. It coincided with the introduction of new privacy rules at BMEC. 

Ms Elbourne said the eisteddfod society was considering the idea of engaging someone to film the bands and choirs, however, it would require obtaining permission from individual parents and the schools beforehand.

She said the professional news media had been permitted to take some photographs to ensure there was a snapshot of the eisteddfod for that year, otherwise, over time, the history of the event would be lost. Next year marks the 70th year of the Bathurst Eisteddfod.

“We also encourage schools to put on a performance at school so it falls under the school’s discretion as to whether parents can take photographs or not,” Ms Elbourne said.

“I completely understand how proud parents are to see their children on stage, but the privacy of all children also needs to be respected.”

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