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)


Tech Giants and Civic Power


Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King’s College London, and author of Tech Giants and Civic Power, wrote an excellent article for The Observer last weekend, which raises important questions about challenging the powers of the tech superpowers and what we want from social media and who we endorse by giving those powers to. Their dominance stretches far beyond the commercial world into the political and the civic. We therefore need to decide how best to respond to them.

The news agenda is rapidly moving towards folk journalism and DIY news, one which will take away from the monopolies stranglehold on 'reliable' news funding via advertising. The model is changing and, for better or worse, we need new platforms and new ways of collating and corroborating accurate news stories and social comment.

Moore recognises that news is more interactive and more in our hands than ever before. "The brave new world of platform news is one of DIY news. It is a world in which we – the user – produce, publish and promote the news ourselves. It is a world in which we rely on our peers and on those we follow to discover stories. It is one in which we verify news rather than relying on established news organisations and journalists to do it for us. For some, this is an exciting, democratised new digital world. For others, it sounds exhausting, chaotic – a world of fake news and filter bubbles."

The tech giants, driven by ad sales revenue and increasingly by chasing clickbait, have rapidly taken over the role of news providers, opinion formers and social movement power brokers, their algorithms now having profound effect on the stories and news we see but the question now is how can the world's news and comment be brought to us without being dominated by commercial concerns?   "These are not public spaces, they are commercial private spaces, with their own rules and their own means of enforcing them.”

I'm now, as a result of this article, reading his paper, Tech Giants and Civic Power'. More on this later.



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