There is a direct lineage which is all about connecting people, celebrating life and making a better world.
Organically developing a new festival ethos which positively impacted lives for over a decade, The Big Chill was conceived in February 1994 by Pete Lawrence and his partner at the time, Katrina Larkin. Starting out as a new type of Sunday multimedia club, they put together an event at which people were able to network and enjoy an experimental, audio-visual, ambient environment as part of an eight-hour event. Set in the back rooms of a London church, it was the first to have its own website and the venue offered free internet access. Jump to 2002 after wondrous parties exploring the dleights of several festival locations, The Big Chill settled into its long term home at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire. These early events in the 2000’s saw some of the most beautiful, inspired gatherings of people in a field, with a masterfully curated programme of live music, DJs, arts and culture. The Big Chill formed a connectivity like no other festival had done, continuing until 2009 when, two years after Pete Lawrence’s exit, The Big Chill sold to Festival Republic and a few dramatically different years took place before it was put to rest in 2011. To this day, people who went to the Big Chill have a deep connection.
Jump to 2019. The Campfire Convention, Pete’s new social network, holds a small event in late July called The Little Chill. By word-of-mouth, this event caught the eye of many who had been a part of the Big Chill movement in the late 90’s and 2000’s. The Little Chill was one of those events that you ‘just had to be there for’, an intimate group of old faces reconnecting after years, and new faces connecting for the first time. A shared love and unity happened that weekend with some old school musical names on the line up such as Norman Jay MBE, Tom Middleton and Fila Brazillia’s Steve Cobby.
“Being at the Little Chill just made me realise how much I've been missing the people and the general vibe of the annual Big Chill get-togethers. So, so good to bump into old friends and 'family' and to genuinely feel the love.” - Bruce Bickerton Little Chill artist and attendee.
Campfire Convention, the production company responsible for the Little Chill, is led by Pete Lawrence along with a team of dedicated volunteers. With a common ethos of bringing people together to find new ways of sharing, to create new social media platforms free from exploitation and to connect like minds to empower via open discussion and debate, Campfire Convention believes in making new positive pathways in times when one could doubt our future. This positively driven collective consciousness takes place while sitting round a campfire getting back to our earthly roots.
Pete Lawrence says “We want to re-spark the positive and collective energy that we encouraged back in the 2000’s but update it for modern times and we hope that through shared open dialogue and discussion (and a little bit of music of course) we can find exciting and fresh focus to give hope to imagining a future as we’d like it”.
After several smaller Campfire events, the next event is “Campout 2019”, “five days of sharing ideas, inspiration, connection and collective joy” at the end of August, set in the glorious Somerset countryside. Celebrating life, it is a wide-ranging event with talks, panels, ‘how to’ sessions, games, cookery, alternative therapies, music, art, film, foraging and yoga. The vibe is hay bales, campfires, night skies, cinema, street food, picnics, glamping and much more. The aim is to combine a feminine intelligence with a masculine intelligence to explore ways we can all dance together in a oneness that honours and celebrate these differences but also transcends them and harnesses the combined energy in a universal consciousness.
There are over 20 speakers planned, including Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion. Other speakers include Brett Hennig from Sortition Foundation, author of The End of Politicians, Momentum former vice-chair Jackie Walker, who was recently suspended from the Labour Party over allegations around anti-semitism, which led to a feature film by John Pullman entitled Witch Hunt and Frome residents Jo Berry, who committed her life to the peaceful resolution and mediation of conflict after the death of her father, Tory MP Sir Anthony Berry, killed by the IRA in a Brighton hotel bombing in 1984; and Flatpack Democracy author and architect of Frome’s independent politics revolution, Peter Macfadyen.
There is already much demand for a Little Chill # 2 for next summer, but don’t wait until then, get along to Campfire Convention's ‘Campout 2019’ to meet some like minded individuals and connect with your surroundings in a socially dynamic environment.
Campout 2019, August 28-September 1 at Field 725, Critchill Estate, Frome, Somerset, BA11 4JL