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St Catherine's and Ball d'Argent, 2016 - proposal

This is a proposal to combine Ildhafn's annual camping weekend - St Catherine's Faire - with Lochac's music-and-dance event, the Bal d'Argent; to the advantage (we hope) of both events. 

The event will be a fully-catered weekend, with accommodation, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

The majority of the "usual" St Catherine's will run outside: fencing, archery, armoured combat, maybe Arts and Sciences classes.

Meanwhile, the hall will be used throughout the day for dance classes, and the lounge for music classes and/or rehearsals. The upstairs lounge may be available for a second stream of music classes, if needed; and the chapel for a second stream of dance classes.

On Saturday night there will be a simple, early dinner, followed by a magnificent ball - the Bal d'Argent - in the hall, and a bonfire and bardic circle under the oak trees. We'll all come together mid-evening for a splendid supper. 

Saturday will be Guy Fawkes Day, so we'd like to work in some suitably themed stuff (even though the gunpowder plot was just outside our period - 1605).

The budget (and the rest of the proposal) is based on that for May Crown 2015.


Dates and times

Friday November 4th to Sunday November 6th, 2016. (The only weekend in November when Hunua Falls is available). That's late for the Bal d'Argent, but a good time for our Barony. 


Auckland is mild in November, but changeable. Daily maxima and minima are usually in the teens (22 is unusually warm). November is one of our dryer months: about 10 rain-days, with moderate humidity.

Opening and closing times

The site will open for staff at 4:30pm on Friday, and for the populace at 5:30pm. We can't allow people on site earlier, as it may be in use by another group. (There's a possibility staff may be allowed on site earlier; will not be confirmed until a few days before the event - it depends on other bookings). 

Friday will be ungarbed, or rather, garb optional. 

The event will close immediately after lunch on Sunday, at around 1pm. We must be off site entirely by 3pm; and expect to begin the site-inspection with the caretaker somewhat before that.

We need a fast set-up and pack-down. That was tough, but manageable, at our previous events at this site. 



Detailed discussion is on a dedicated page.



Stewarding team: Katherina Weyssin (Katherine Davies), Vettoria di Giovanni (Shannon Wanty), William de Cameron (David Robb). Exact duties TBA. 

We're all experienced stewards, with a slew of events under our belts - kingdom events, baronial investitures, St Caths, Bal d'Argent, other dance-themed events, etc. We work well together. We're also all passionate dancers!

Many others in our group have offered to help in smaller ways (e.g. assistance with food, or music, or classes): I have no doubt of our having plenty of support, and plenty of opportunities all who wish to join in.

Dance and music stuff: We have an excellent collection of dancers and musicians locally, both inside the SCA and from neighbouring groups. Our local dance group - run by Katherina Weyssin (a dance laurel) is strong (regular public performances), and we have plenty of capable teachers, even before we start looking further afield. Our local instrumental music scene is newer, but flourishing. I expect we'll also get good support from the folk- and early-music scene across Auckland - there's lots of friendly overlap.



New Zealand dollars are used throughout.

Break even

The site has a minimum charge of $1700 - i.e. 36 people attending the whole weekend.

We've used "50 adults" as a reasonable number across which to spread the fixed costs. We will almost certainly get many more than that, but the low number should allow us to make a reasonable profit, given the size of our group.

We won't make a substantial loss unless we fall well below the 36 people needed to cover the site minimum; nor will we make a substantial profit unless we get well over 50 adults for the weekend. 

Budgeting for children

Our aim is to charge children only what they cost us. We'll make our profit from the adults.

Site: Hunua Falls charges $24 per day for anyone 5 and over.

Food costs: minimal for 0-4, about 1/2 for 5-11, adult price for 12-17. We're not expecting many under 5s, so we'll absorb their (minimal) food costs.

Other: Adult bookings will cover all other miscellaneous costs, and provide the profit. No late-booking fee for kids (though we'll collect it from their parents).

Partial attendance

Site charges $24 per person (5 and over) per day: $24 for a day-trip, $48 for two days, or the whole weekend.

There will be four booking categories - other options may be negotiated with the stewards.

Budget for Bal d'Argent / St Catherine's Faire, 2016

It takes 36 attendees (any age from 5) to cover the site minimum of $1700. "Fixed costs" are distributed across 50 adults.

  Adult Youth (12-17) Child (5-11) Infant (under 5)
Booking option A B C D      A B C D      A B C D     any
Site fee  $48 $24 $48 $24 $48 $24 free
Food (see detailed budget below) $39 $28 $19 $8   $39 $28 $19 $8   $20 $14 $10 $4   minimal
Fixed costs ($8.20 per adult)                        
Snacks for set-up crew ($40) 80c                      
Petrol ($100) $2                      
Laundry ($70) $1.40                      
Cleaning, lighting, decorations, rubbish, etc ($100) $2                      
Printing ($100) $2                      
Kingdom Levy  $1                      
Total cost to us $96.20 $85.20 $52.20 $41.20   $87 $76 $43 $32   $68 $62 $34 $28   minimal
Price to charge $97 $86 $53 $42   $87 $76 $43 $32   $68 $62 $34 $28   free

The spreadsheet used to generate the budget and profit projections can be found here.

Discussion of line-items

Site - $24/person/day, above a minimum $1700

The site charges $48 for people attending on 2 or 3 days (i.e full weekend or Sat-Sun), and $24 for day-trippers. Children under 5 are free, others pay adult price for site. 

The site minimum is $1700. To cover that we need 36 people attending for two days, or an equivalent combination including day-trippers (e.g. 30 for the whole weekend, plus 12 daytrippers on Saturday). 

The site will require an $850 deposit about 8 months before the event (March 2016), and the other $850 of the minimum two weeks before the event (mid October 2016). They'll invoice us after the event for rubbish disposal and extra people.

The laundries and barbecues are coin-operated, so the steward will need a cash float.

Food - $39/person

All meal-budgets are well-tested: based on those used for and May Crown 2015, and previous events; which allowed cooks to produce excellent meals while spending 85-100% of their budgets. We've cut the budget slightly, as these have now been tested so well.

Meal Day price per adult Notes
dinner Friday $7 plain but hearty dinner, that can be served through the evening to late-arrivers
breakfast Saturday $4 cooked breakfast - porridge, fruit, eggs, bacon, toast etc
lunch   $5 plated lunch - a pie served with salad, fruit, etc
dinner   $6 a light, simple dinner before the ball and bonfire
supper   $7 a sumptuous supper-and-dessert, served mid-evening
breakfast Sunday $4 cooked breakfast - porridge, fruit, eggs, bacon, toast etc
lunch   $5 plated lunch - a pie served with salad, fruit, etc
miscellaneous   $1 tea, coffee, cordial, etc
Total   $39  

While we've budgeted per-meal, small amounts can be moved from one meal's budget to another as required.

The event will be fully-catered. The kitchen is excellent. We'll do our best to cater to special dietary requirements, as always.

Set-up Crew Snacks - $40

Ildhafn customarily provides snacks or a lunch for the event-staff who are likely to miss meals in setting up and packing down.

A large box of apples, juice, chocolate and biscuits - and the ability to do a pie-and-chips run if people get really hungry and stupid - does wonders for keeping a happy, sensible crew who all like each other (and the SCA) at the end of the event.

Petrol - $100

Ildhafn customarily pays for the petrol for a trip from the Quartermaster's house to the event site and back, to transport bulk of the group's gear.

  • Comparison with past event expenses
    • $70.54 (St Catherine's, December 2012)
    • $81.98 (Bloth, June 2013)
    • $48.96 (May 2015)

We only used about half our petrol budget last May, but that was in a period of unusually low petrol prices in NZ.

Laundry - $70

It costs about $60 to get all our group's linens washed and dried commercially.

We'll do some on site in the coin-operated washer and dryer (which is cheaper); but will wash more than usual, as we're providing napkins with lunch. Steward will need cash float of ~$20.

Miscellaneous - $100

This includes:

  • Rubbish: food-waste is free (goes to local pigs). Other rubbish at $2.50 per bag, disposed of by site. Past event there have cost $7.50-$40, scaling with attendance.
  • Lighting: oil, wicks, candles. Unlikely to exceed $20.
  • Cleaning: our group maintains a well-stocked cleaning box (usually). Minor additions are unlikely to exceed $20, if we have a big event we may need to spend a lot more (but will be making lots of money, so not a problem)
  • Decorations
  • Firewood: site provides wood for the burner, we have a source of free wood for the bonfires.
  • anything we haven't thought of

In practice, if we get a very large event (over 100 people, say) we may need to spend more on this. Rubbish and cleaning products scale with numbers, the others don't really. But at that point we'll be making a healthy profit so eating a bit of it for more loo paper and jiff won't hurt. 

Printing - $100

Typically absorbed by stewards in Ildhafn, but likely to be high enough in this case that we'd like a real budget for it. Includes gate paperwork, site signage, sheet music, ball lists, etc.


The event falls on on Guy Fawkes Day. In New Zealand, it's legal to buy fireworks for a few days before Guy Fawkes Day, and to set them off that evening. With the permission of the Kingdom Seneschal and site Custodian, and in accordance with local regulations, we'd like to do that.

If we get a smallish event we'll use a portion of the "miscellaneous" budget. If we get a large event (and thus are looking at a good profit) we'd like to take a little out of the general budget. 


We have not included "contingency" as a line item: the budget is well-tested, and there is a small contingency built into most items.

Profit projections

We expect attendance of about 60, with up to 80 being entirely plausible. This is based on past St Catherine's Faire attendance, plus the extra people we expect who will attend for the Bal d'Argent (say 3-6 from the Crescent Isles, 3-6 from Australia, and 6-12 from Auckland, who are interested in music and dance but who don't often come to SCA events). 

This will probably generate a profit of $100-$500.

At 40-50 attendees it's likely to just break even: most "fixed" costs actually somewhat with event size. Below 36 we may make more substantial losses, but we feel this is very unlikely. 

Source of profit:

We need 50 adults to cover the fixed costs. For every adult above 50, we make ~$8 profit (including part-event bookings).

We'll pick up some more profit from late-booking fees ($10) (usually about 25% pay this); and anywhere cooks come in under budget.

Proposed Prices (assuming budget as above)

       Attendance Adult (18+) Price Youth (12-17) Price Child (5-11) Price Infant (under 5)
A Whole event


$85  $66 



Saturday + Sunday

$85  $74  $60 
C Saturday only $50  $42  $33 
D Saturday evening only $40  $31  $27 
  Event membership for any adult not already a subscribing member +$2  


Summary of booking options: what you get
  Friday Saturday Sunday
  Dinner Accom. Breakfast







Ball and



Accom. Breakfast






Schedule for Bookings
  Bookings open Prices increase Bookings Close Bookings Finalised Event!
Date May 1st 2016 August 1st October 20th October 27th Nov 4th-6th
Period before event 6 months 3 months Two weeks One week  

Bookings open on May 1st, six months before the event- that will keep all event income will be in one financial year. We'll advertise it earlier.

Adult prices rise by $10 on August 1st 

Book and pay by August 1st for the early rate. Stewards can waive this at their discretion.

Bookings close a fortnight before the event. There'll be a waiting list, so late-bookers can replace anyone who cancels at the last minute. Stewards can accept late bookings, at their discretion.

Changes and cancellations

With full refund until a fortnight before the event; no refunds after bookings close (except for cancellations for illness, emergency, etc). 

Booking form

We have a well-developed online booking-form for our larger events (see here, for May Crown 2015).


New Zealanders pay in advance by direct deposit.

Visitors from overseas may pay in advance by direct deposit, or in cash on the day (NZ dollars).

We expect payment promptly after booking (save from international visitors who have arranged to pay on the day).

Cap on numbers - 120, somewhat flexible

  • Accommodation: the site can sleep about 122; with more room for tents
  • Hall: the hall has tables and chairs for over 100 (more at a pinch)
  • Kitchen: a large industrial kitchen; will not struggle even with site at capacity
  • Toilets: the site's septic tanks can't handle more than 120 at a time; but they can arrange portaloos if we'll need them



See separate page.


The Bal d'Argent always includes a number of competitions for dancers and musicians. These will run during the ball itself. There may be further competitions - a tassel kick, best costume in the theme of the ball (white or silver with blue trim) and more. 

This year's Guild competitions:

  • Non-rondel - Maltese branle
  • Group - Rufty Tufty
  • Serif - Amoroso, Voltate in Ca Rosina, Parson's Farewell
  • Music - Gelosia