Male, , birthday 29th October
Joined August 2015

The biog says

"Social entrepreneur Pete Lawrence is the conceptualist and firestarter of this social network and community Campfire Convention, a concept he has been working on for the last decade and is currently launching.

Prior to that, he is probably best known as the co-founder of The Big Chill, and originator of the 'boutique' festival experience. The event quickly attracted a large number of very loyal followers, building to a peak in 2005 of 35, 000. Pete gave early exposure to such names as Lily Allen, Goldfrapp, Amy Winehouse, Gotan Project, Mr Scruff, Röyksopp, Zero 7 and Lemon Jelly. After establishing itself as one of the top half dozen UK festivals, Pete was included in Time Out’s Top 100 ‘movers and shakers’ alongside the likes of Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay, Madonna, Brian Paddick, Ken Livingstone and Tony Blair.

In the mid 80s Lawrence was recognised as a respected tastemaker with an unconventional flair when he discovered and spontaneously recorded US folk singer Michelle Shocked on a walkman around a Texas campfire for his fledgling Cooking Vinyl label. The resulting album ‘The Texas Campfire Tapes’, with its £1 ‘field recording’ budget, went on to top the independent album charts in 1987 and establish the label at the forefront of the world and roots music scenes.

Subsequently, Pete also became a writer, radio DJ and journalist. Through the 90s he had regular columns in Top, Update and Jockey Slut as well as founding, editing and publishing his own On magazine. Pete has arguably been one of the most influential and respected tastemakers on the electronic and downtempo scenes, and made his BBC Radio 2 debut on August Bank Holiday 2006 with a two hour chill out show. As an artist, he records under the name of Chilled By Nature, and in 2006 released his first album ‘Under One Sun’ on Big Chill Recordings, featuring a number of live guests, including The Swingle Singers, and Mozez of Zero 7 fame, who collaborated with Pete on ‘State Of Grace’.

Pete resigned as a shareholder and director of The Big Chill in early 2008, moving to the village of Braunston in Northamptonshire and has principally spent his time developing a blueprint for a social network, Campfire Convention, an evolutionary platform for creative thinkers, funded and shaped by its own members, which also stages events with community focus. Campfire is now online at and Pete is currently living in Frome, Somerset.


Key Skills





Ray Lawrence, Pauline Lawrence, My children, Frank Zappa, Ry Cooder, Scilla Elworthy, Paul Mason, Brian Eno, Kate Raworth, Shoshana Zuboff, Roger Deakin, Stuart Maconie, Steve Jobs, Jeff Jarvis, Tom Hodgkinson, Naomi Klein, E.P. Thompson, Plato, Fraser Clark, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Tony Benn, Richard D.Wolff, Daniel Pinchbeck, Bill Drummond, Jonathan Pie, Derek Jarman, Monty Python, Offshore pirate radio, John Peel, Danny Baker, Cecil Sharp, Tom Middleton, Alan James, Erica Ruben, Charlie Brooker, James Veitch, Mac Macartney


Campfire Convention (founder / firestarter), The Big Chill (co-founder), Cooking Vinyl (founder)


Campfire trailblazes direct politics


Campfire is supporting trailblazing political alternatives to mainstream political parties as we move towards more direct democracy. Get involved and help us imagine our world, what we could do if we supported a network of independent candidates...


Shadow politics starts with imagining our world, reinventing ourselves as a utopian political movement of independents, in a very different mould, as a much-needed alternative to the circus of conventional party politics. 

What do we want and how do we get it? It might normally be suggested that we’d be indulging in this for fun, but things aren't normal and the situation has suddenly become a whole more serious and we need to do something positive now.

We are now facing a rare opportunity to work towards a system of truly democratic politics that brings back control to a more localised level, based on consensus not compromise.

We need a way that people can start to govern themselves via more direct forms of democracy and we have the technology to support this. We can construct a community-led constitutional convention (that could be as simple as outlining our ways of working) that sets out its stall as a truly modern co-operative, which can also become a hub for a network of independent operators to challenge conventional politics in their local constituencies. It's not for Campfire to determine how we elect our representatives, how we ensure that they are accountable to us, and how local members can be truly involves in a wide range of political debates but we can certainly act as a conduit or a hub for getting people talking to each other. 

We now need to take a global standpoint as our axis, a belief that though there may be local factors that provide variants, we are all essentially coming from the same place. There is no ‘other’ in our language, we are all in this life together and need to find ways of celebrating each other’s company, each others' unique qualities and the social and economic benefits that can flourish through diversity and collaboration. The magic that occurs when sparks ignite between people.. 

We have a duty to shape our politics around the notion of ‘we’ before ‘i’. We are all about people helping each other, working for the good of all. When the community prospers, we all prosper and share the fruits of our successes. Campfire's Karma scheme aims to reward those who put the most in and work for the benefit of the community. 

People have not been heard or listened to for decades. Campfire can build resources, we can create an environment where our members can listen to others, we can aim to make sense of the world around us through discussion and move towards building policies and solutions by consensus. What can we learn from each other? What can we give to each other? We will encourage our members to find their own voice, to maximise their own skills, creativity and earning potential by engaging with the wider community in a global context.

We need to move from the traditional job market economy into what comes next, which we ourselves can define. New models for co-housing, for a carbon-neutral future within a few years, for planetary and personal health, new models for community participation and ownership, new models for economics, for mentorship, teaching and learning. And above all, new models for joining the dots and connecting people in an ecosystem where we all work together for social change.  Campfire has the scope to be an international progressive force for change as it ultimately works towards a world without borders, where we join the dots but respect the differences and always look for the common denominator. 

In the landscape of shadow politics, the Independents movement can offer the true alternative to monolithic, outmoded political party squabbling by identifying and electing local movers and shakers that are grounded and well-versed in local issues, initiatives and welfare incentives.  The Frome model (Flatpack Democracy) is a good place to start. We can facilitate discussions about the burning issues of the day - whether they might be supporting the increasing momentum towards universal basic income, the need to reform Westminster politics, the urgency to step up tighter environmental controls to counter global warming, of free education, of shared resources in the public interest, against privatisation of many of our basic services. 

These policies can become central to Campfire too and our role will quickly become clear, whether as pressure group, think-tank or activist campaigners, whether working alongside progressive political independents or trailblazing our own initiatives.

The Campfire has symbolically been a great leveller, a place where social bonding occurs, a space that taps into the essence of how we communicate with each other, fostering a culture of listening, a spirit of open-mindedness and altruism. These qualities will be at the heart of Campfire, ensuring that the younger people who will shape our future can make the best of this world. As a priority, we will discuss what we can contribute to future generations at a time when society is so fractured and polarised. 

We are in a position to new facilitate this new Project as a political entity, which can act as a hub for discussions and initiatives with a view to changing the political landscape. We invite you to come and join the discussion and get involved at our Campfire Conversation meetings around the UK and at the annual Convention. 

We will discuss how we can collectively focus on the important policy initiatives happening at local level at our Campfire Circle meetings. It will be our duty to listen to the voices that have been exiled in the democratic vacuum around us. In the meantime, Campfire aims to be fun, provocative and thoughtful. 

If you wish to avoid political involvement altogether, there are 14 other Guilds you can gravitate towards and maybe you're happy not to challenge the status quo?

As Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”





Michelle Spriddell

There certainly has never been a time of greater need for the manifestation of this type of political direction... Looking forward to hearing more and seeing where it leads . ....

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