It is said that in 1612 Robert Dover borrowed £10,000 from Sir Baptist Hicks - Campden's famous benefactor - to stage the first games. We don't know how much of that he actually spent on the event itself, and that event would have been a much longer, more elaborate affair - the Jacobean equivalent of a modern day festival. But still, it's a huge amount of money by today's standard - over £1m 😳
Robert Dover's Olimpick Games now cost around £25,000 to stage each year, with the split being roughly £15k on essentials and £10k on entertainment.
It is run and managed year-round by a small working committee and on the night, put on by a small army of busy volunteers, nearly all of whom are from Campden and surrounding villages. (We'll talk more about those wonderful folk in later posts.)
We raised in the region of £6,000 this year through various events in the town, and the sheer generosity of people and businesses. In addition to the modest success of the 2018 event, it amounted to a healthy balance sheet.
In order to try and protect the future of the games and promote the history of the event, we are always looking at how to complement the fundraising by finding independent revenue in ways that don't over commercialise, but help bolster the coffers in case of unforeseen events. It also allows us to bring more unusual, entertaining events to the hill each year.
This is still very much a local, community-driven and focused event, but when people hear the cost, some baulk at it. The reality is that to stage a fun, safe event on open land in 2019 is simply quite an expensive job, just to get the basics done!
If you've been reading previous posts, you'll know that we've been working to create a design specific to this year's event. Well it wasn't just a vanity project - thank heavens for that, I hear you cry!
We've created a simple, unique range of merchandise to buy on the night of the games. Numbers are limited and we won't show you everything now, but we wanted to give you a sneaky peek at what you can expect.
The team have worked really hard on this project and if people buy them, it will - on its own - fund nearly half of next year's games. We'll also be able to take card payment on-site this year, for the first time, which will hopefully help. Keep following us for more build-up and share our posts as much as you can - we're extreeeeemely grateful!
Thanks for reading!
The Robert Dovers Games Society.