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, Charles Eisenstein, Jason Hine, Tom Hodgkinson, Naomi Klein, E.P. Thompson, Plato, Fraser Clark, Jeremy Corbyn, Arundhati Roy, Tony Benn, Richard D.Wolff, Daniel Pinchbeck, Bill Drummond, Jonathan Pie, Derek Jarman, Monty Python, Offshore pirate radio, John Peel, Margaret Attwood, Cecil Sharp, Tom Middleton, Alan James, Greta Thunberg, Charlie Brooker, James Veitch, Mac Macartney


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


New Eno-supported initiative to launch Campfire's best ideas


There isn’t any money in a lot of these ideas, so they don’t get aggressively promoted and are often ignored by the media. I want to see those ideas coming out into the open to be tried and tested and improved. 


Following my meeting at Brian Eno's studio recently, we plan to offer an award for the best new ideas across the broad spectrum of social innovation.

Here is Eno's copy, describing what what we think Campfire can contribute as part of its Pioneers project.

Everybody knows we’re at a turning point. The old order has become unstable and is breaking down around us. That process is conspicuous, but what is not so obvious is that new shoots are starting to emerge too. The future is being born, but nobody’s paying much attention to it. Disaster sells newspapers, but hope generally doesn’t. The end of an old order is the beginning of a new one. How it turns out depends on us, and what we dare to hope for. 

Nicholas Albery was a man who peddled hope. He founded and ran an organisation called THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL INVENTIONS but unfortunately died in a car accident in 2001. Every year he published one or two or even three books in which he collected together any good social ideas he’d picked up…and the books were bursting with them. For me, it was the best read available.

The ideas ranged from the microcosmic - how to prevent slugs eating your strawberries, for example - to the cosmic - how solve global warming by moving the Earth into a slightly different orbit.

Nick’s death left a great hole: ever since then I’ve been wanting to see an organisation that would do the same job - act as a place for the sharing of new social ideas. There isn’t any money in a lot of these ideas, so they don’t get aggressively promoted and are often ignored by the media. I want to see those ideas coming out into the open to be tried and tested and improved. 

Is that something we could do at Campfire?

Albery's books are a delight to dip into, with their compendium of creative ideas for transforming the world we live in. 'Creative Speculations' Social Innovation Awards 1997 highlights show how ahead of the curve the ideas of times were, such as the eerily prophetic 'speaking circles', 'automatic copyright for inventions', a 'school for social entrepreneurs' 'basic income for local service' and 'transforming a bad school through pupil empowerment' .


This is certainly something we could do very well at Campfire, a potentially fertile environment which has already spawned fledgling creative Projects such as Urban Renewal through Street Art, Volunteering With Refugees, The Campfire Storytelling Circle, The Happiness Project, Vegan and Vegetarian Resources, The Thinking Environment, Gardening From Scratch, A Diverse World, An Inclusive Life, Infrastructure as a Shared Resource and Self-Build Passive Eco Home. Check the Projects pages out now and if you'd like to join as a collaborator for any of these send the owner an email from the front page button on each Project.




Eileen Inglis

Brilliant!! There's definitely a need for more support - financial and otherwise that facilitates the testing of new ideas! Look forward to hearing more about how this is going to work.


Sharon Prendergast

I'll be visiting a new project (public meeting next week) which sounds like it might just fit this bill. Will report back when I know more about it.


Suzi Glantz

A few ideas for the name of the project:

Brainwave Bubble Project/Award

Brainstorm Project/Award

Quantum Leap Project/Award

Sea Change Project/Award


Suzi Glantz

Or how about 'See Change' instead of Sea Change!

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