Your Campfire Convention 001.UK weekend


We've been at The Bridge, Michaelchurch Escley doing our inaugural Campfire Convention 001.UK

We'd love to hear what you thought of our first event, the site, the location, the highlights, what ideas you have, what's your wish list, who you've met, what you discussed, where we can go in future...

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RE different yoga at later time/s

I spoke to several people who expressed they would ve liked the yoga session at a later time, say 9am, maybe another could be arranged in the future? I also mentioned was a longtime Kundalini yoga/meditation teacher & they were very intreasted & asked if I was teaching on the camp. I would love to teach this if you re intreasted.. its not posture focussed so quite different to what was being offered, thanks x

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What a weekend!

It's difficult to find the words that fully describe the weekend that was. Totally awesome. Brilliantly inspiring. Humbling. Life changing. An experience I will never forget. I met up with very dear friends and made some new ones too. Some very special new ones. I feel privileged to have been granted the honour of being part of the very first Campfire and cannot wait for the next one. Thank you to all of the contributors, organisers and other lovely people from all walks of life who joined us for my best weekend this year, so far X

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Warm Hearts, warm sunshine

Loved the weekend: great site, great people, even great weather! It was provocative in the best way and I came away buzzing with ideas of how to contribute. I'm making it a personal mission to get more children and young people there next time. :)

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Fantastic Experience.

I had a brilliant weekend! Having been involved in co-operatives most of my adult life, I felt cc ticked all the boxes. I would, however, like to understand the funding mechanism. As a community we should shoulder any loss together which, I am sure, many of us are prepared to discuss and contribute to.

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Inspiration ignited

Thank you to everyone for making the inaugural Campfire Convention such a wonderful experience. It was lovely to find a space to meet up with friends, make new friends and to simply sit and absorb all of the inspiring (and sometimes heart wrenching) information people were sharing, their passions and views on the world around us; as well as exploring my own place within it. I would be very interested to play a part in bringing more visual art (I use that term in the broadest sense) and perhaps some making workshops to a campfire convention. There are some amazing practitioner- campaigners who create works which help us to understand and interpret the world around us and the issues we can all face on a local and global scale. Would be very happy to discuss this further...

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Loved it. The campfire was the most magical element, and more might be made of it. A final fire on Sunday night, leave Monday, might make a satisfying narrative curve. Maybe an element of purely acoustic programmed performance at the fire would work. I'd be happy to pay a bit more for showers . Workshops in which everyone is active .Dave Dobson called his psychotherapy/ hypnosis symposia "funshops". Just a thought in passing.

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Brilliant weekend, brilliant vision.

First, a heartfelt congratulations on what has been conceived and realised; it is incredibly impressive and has the potential to be vitally important at a time when the elite are taking more and more for themselves. As Greg Thompson said at the conclusion of his talk, we are no longer living in a capitalist system its becoming more of a feudalistic system. I agree with him and it’s happening right under our noses and not enough is being done about it, what with the Labour Party being in such a state. The weekend offered a beacon of positivity, much needed after the recent deluge of bleakness. After the discussion on storytelling and seizing the narrative I was somewhat depressed having been told that the political narrative was always the same and involved the creation of a common enemy, the promotion of a charismatic leader who then leads us to defeat the enemy and on to the promised land. Really, can it be so reductionist? It did, however, promote a discussion between us that led us to conclude that the left doesn’t have a common enemy around which we can mobilise. Yes, there is anger but it is dissipated; spread around a number of bogey men. Too few understand what neo liberalism actually means and although austerity may be despised the narrative of “we have to live within our means” seems to counter whatever anger there is. Campfire has the potential to shed a light on what is actually going on and I -and I get the feeling many others- will thank Pete for being the facilitator/fire starter. Practical feedback follows, 1. Could the quiet camping area be locked between say midnight and 8am. Make it clear that the gates will be locked and no one be allowed to either come or go during those hours. First, in retrospect, having those idiots driving around our tents in the middle of the night at speed, knocking over porta-loos was really very scary. It wouldn’t have taken much for something to have gone badly wrong and the whole weekend turned into a tragedy. Second, sort of defeats the object of the quiet camping if someone parks their car inches from your sleeping head (despite the existence of a car park and acres of space) and then starts setting up camp very late, as happened to us. 2. I realise the lack of showers was a costs issue. I wondered whether something very basic, ie cold water, open air, could be easily put together? 3. I liked the fact that there wasn’t too much going on so there was this sense of a sharing of the same experiences. Nevertheless a number of the events overlapped and I was torn between missing the start of one or missing the end of another. Could there be say 10/15mins intervals between events? 4. Having said that I liked Eno’s suggestion that perhaps some events should have a finishing time that is more open ended. Or possibly better, following a talk on stage there is an area (another tent/large gazebo) where the conversation/debate can continue if that’s what is desired. 5. Having said that I think there is a better way of fostering the debate than asking people to step up to a microphone to say their piece. In spite of wanting to get away from audience/panelist divide, I think this method simply co-ops an audience member as a panelist, albeit temporarily. Some people, myself included as I can never think of the right thing to say in time, find this a little intimidating. One method I have worked with involves setting up a number of separate tables (hay bales) where there is one permanent member (say a panelist) and one broad area for discussions (ie topics within topics) per table. The remaining audience can choose which table interests them the most and join it. They can either stay put throughout or move on as the fancy takes them. After the allotted time everyone comes back together and the permanent members summarise for everyone the nature of the discussions at their table. I think this might have been a better format for the final discussion/feedback session. A theatre group called Devoted and Disgruntled are particularly good at this. 6. I didnt think the architecture of the Garden Stage worked because of the pillars and supports at the front. It sort of gave the impression the panelist were behind bars or at least they felt a bit tucked away from the audience. Small quibbles on an otherwise excellent weekend. Thank you all.

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Suggestions :)

Tim and I had a wonderful short break at the Campfire Convention, we really enjoyed the talks and relaxed atmosphere, and the freedom to stretch out for a while without it being over crowded. Here are some suggestions. On arrival it would be good to have a brochure highlighting the map of the site and times of the guest speakers. Maybe when people purchase a ticket on line they can get a downloadable PDF to save on printing costs. Took me a while to realise that there were signs hanging up, and maybe some sign posts showing where the campfire is with arrows or something. We have three kids ranging from 14, 11 and 5. We didn't bring them this year because we wanted to have a break but on arriving and seeing some of the kids having such a ball we wished we have brought them as we could have stayed longer. It would be cool to have a campfire section for their age groups too,maybe an area focused on entertainment for them based on hand crafting, story telling, an enchanted fairy walk through the woods sparking imagination, weaving, building a den out of willow, a two hour afternoon slot for them to dance to etc.. I know many sling mums who do baby carrying so it would be nice to have a mothers den for them to feed their babies, connect on natural parenting etc.. toddler age is always a tricky one so again it would be cool to have an area that parents with young children can relax while they play. Maybe a circle of hay so that the toddlers can't run off with wooden bricks to play with etc.. a blowing bubbles artist,'d be more than happy to connect you to some of my friends who can arrange this - the kids are our future. Young teens could perhaps organise their own music section within the event. I'm aware that many don't want to be tripping over young children while they enjoy a few drinks, relax etc, so creating a separate area could be a compromise and encouraging families to be respectful to the more grown up areas for adults having adult time. (could be costly) instead of disney bouncy castle could be awesome for adults and kids alike. I definately think also that it would be good to have a phone charging portal for people to charge their gadgets, the internet worked really well so that was a good idea as there was limited phone reception. The food was great and there were some good choices, however it would be cool to maybe have a vegetarian/vegan stall and a mocktail bar, young green coconuts, natural ice lollies for kids, juice bar, iced herbal teas etc.. For the people who don't drink alcohol, my husband and I recently gave up the sauce and we love our mocktails and teas. Maybe a few more toilets in the quiet camping area too and a shower if possible.

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Little Chill

I has a lovely weekend and met loads of interesting people. Well done to eveyone involved in making it such a chilled little event. Worst thing for me? Hmm, I am not the most fastideous of people, but by Sunday morning the packet of wet wipes in my car proved handly as there did not seem to be anywhere for punters to wash their bits. Best thing for me? Friendly open discussion with lovely people all weekend. What did I discuss? LEDs, Ash dieback, safeguarding policy, labour party and Corbyn, camper vans, project funding, gay porn and on and on. Who did I meet? Lots of people, but spend most time with the people camping nearest to me at the top of the field, who were fun and considerate.

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Quality not quantity

Idyllic location, top weather, tantalizing topics and passionate people.. Well en-riching to be with such creative thinkers, educators, environmentalists, gardeners, spiritual folk, artistes, musicians and party goers in a beautifully held, collaborative space to find positive ways forwards and solutions for Our World.. Well done and THANK YOU!!!.. to be contd.

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Giving thanks

As the crew clears up around on this sunny morning, I’d like to pay tribute to the incredible devotion to the cause from all our volunteers, the enthusiasm and energy of our panellists and the staff of The Bridge Inn, who tirelessly worked all week to ensure a smooth running event. It was fantastic to feel the love and warmth from all around and I have to say that this was the most amazing team of people that I’ve had the pleasure of being part of. In March very few of us even knew each other. We laughed, we hugged, we connected, we imagined, we dreamt, we cried. We celebrated this fragile and temporary humanity. Special mentions for Pete Blunt and Cathryn Butler for their unwavering attention to detail in the build up and through the event itself. This was the ultimate team effort and shows what is possible. The few hundred who came to this inaugural sparking of the Campfire have helped us shape something that can become a force for change, for fresh thinking and new directions. To see a new community come together in a few short months, even before our website is properly active, has been one of the biggest thrills of my life. This is our time and we have to seize the initiative. Rob Lawrie’s tweet this morning meant a lot to me “What an absolute pleasure to part of something that will change the landscape of aid and politics from the bottom up”. It’s that sort of belief and hope that will see this succeed and give us the energy for change. So many have already told their stories to me of how Campfire has inspired them to look at their lives in different way and many have also shared stories of how they’ve made new friends for life and already conceived ideas for new Projects and initiatives and how they can work with others on the social network to progress these ideas. I’m now planning to head for home later today and make final preparations for inviting Founder Members onto our site this week. Watch this space...

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The wagons are about to roll

So we're packing the vans and heading off to site now. Forecast looks promising, the sun's shining.. Can't wait to get there. This is the culmination of months of work for the team and many volunteers. I'd like to thank them all, however it all works out. It's been incredible to see this team come together, a highlight of my life.

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