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)


What are Campfire Conversation events?


If you like the idea of what Campfire is doing and want to put on a Campfire Conversation in your local area, either as a stand alone event or as part of a Campfire-curated club night or function then you may find these guidelines useful:

  • Find a venue and a concept that works for you.
  • Contact with your idea : ie - venue, hours, concept, door tax, ticketing.
  • If the date goes ahead with official CC status, you as 'local organiser' would take responsibility for any venue hire costs, local promotion, contractual arrangements, staffing and insurance and collect the ticket revenue. A deal would be worked out on any percentage profits with Campfire and / or members taking part in the event. The local organiser would be responsible for any loss.
  • The event would appear on Campfire’s official site and associated social media pages.
  • Introducing Campfire. There will be a brief script to read out about 'What is Campfire' 
  • If possible the discussion should be conducted in a circle, on one level (ie no stage)
  • Campfire would supply PR material - flyers, cards, posters/banners
  • Recording and archiving, a report of the event would be required within 7 days

For an event to qualify as a Campfire Conversation it should consist of a substantial element of talk, interview, debate, panel or discussion including Campfire accredited members.  It can also include film, audio visual performance, live music, DJs, theatre, mixed media. An actual campfire would be a bonus!  The event can also be a private function. All content and any proposed speakers / panellists should agreed with Campfire in advance.

Our first Campfire Conversation was staged in Manchester on November 20th, 2015 and organised by Paul Darnborough.

The concept of the Campfire Conversation took shape in the autumn of 2015 after discussions between Pete Lawrence and Paul Darnborough, after he invited Pete to come to Manchester. In November, the first Campfire Conversations were staged at The Carlton Club in Whalley Range, Manchester. The evening was a mix of traditional club night with a spoken word hour in which Paul interviewed Pete about his plans for the community and also delved back into the days of The Big Chill, where some of the lineage for ideas carried through to the present day were first formulated.

Other Campfire Conversations have taken place in Todmorden May 4th 2016, Yorkshire; Nottingham on May 6th 2016, Beatherder Festival, Lanchashire (July 17 2016); Hartlepool Folk Festival (October 22nd, 2016) , Musicport Festival in Whitby (October 23rd, 2016)

We are keen for the 'Conversation' idea to evolve to the point that various members of the team can take the initiative and talk about the project, as it unfolds.

If you are interested in hosting a Campfire Conversation please email





More From Pete Lawrence