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Image courtesy of http://creativecampden.co.uk

Chipping Campden may seem like a typical sleepy Cotswolds town, but at certain times of the year, the residents gather for two popular events that bring the whole community together. Both the Music Festival and the Olimpick Games are held in annually in May, and we have all the information you need about them.

Campden Music Festival

First held in 2002, the Chipping Campden Music Festival is now a very popular event amongst not only the locals but also passing visitors. Regarded now as one of the UK’s top festivals, guests come from across the globe to watch some of the world’s best musicians take to the stage.

The setting for the festival is within the historical St. James’ Church, and guests can look forward to recitals from favourite artists such as Imogen Cooper and Julius Drake on piano, the Nash Ensemble, Jack Liebeck on violin and many others.

The festival takes place over two weeks and is complimented by the RSC just down the road, and set alongside the beautiful Hidcote and Kiftsgate gardens nearby. Thanks to the generous donations from the festival’s sponsors, ticket prices remain low with students set at just £1 per entry. Along with providing music in the church, the festival also runs workshops, which are led by experts in their fields; in fact, in 2008 the Festival Academy training orchestra was formed. This allows students and recent graduates who are advanced in their abilities to play alongside more experienced and professional orchestral players. This is one music event not to be missed.

Robert Dover's Olimpick Games

The Chipping Campden Olimpick Games may not have had as much coverage as London 2012, but it was certainly more fun. One fact you may not have known is that actually, the modern day Olympics has its roots in the games first played in this small Cotswolds town.

It is widely recognised that around 1612, a man called Robert Dover, a lawyer by trade, thought that physical exercise was the only way to defend the kingdom. It is also thought that Dover wanted to get the rich and the poor together, and believed that by holding the Games, he would increase social harmony. The idea caught the public’s imagination, and before you know it, we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of what is now often called the Cotswold Olimpicks.┬á

In fact, the British Olympic Association used this fact as part of their bid for the London 2012 Games, saying: “An Olympic Games held in London in 2012 will mark a unique anniversary – it will be exactly 400 years from the moment that the first stirrings of Britain's Olympic beginnings can be identified.”

In the first Olimpick Games, it is thought that events consisted of rural activities that took their names from the surroundings, such as the Scuttlebrook Race, named after the Scuttle brook, which used to flow through the town until it was covered over in 1831. There was also a procession, which consisted of the Scuttlebrook Queen and the crowning of the new queen in the Square. Today, Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpicks carries on these early rural traditions and sporting events, which include Shin Kicking and Tug O War. But these days you’ll also get hotdogs and candyfloss thrown in as well.

We can’t think of two better reasons to visit Chipping Campden in May!