Thanks for coming to our first weekend Convention, held in August 2016 in the Black Mountains on the Welsh borders. We're already planning a follow up event and would love to hear what you thought of our first gathering... there are just five short questions.Take the survey
Our 2016 48 page programme is still available here, detailing the full activities and scope of our inaugural Campfire Convention camping weekend, taking place August 12-14 in the idyllic rural setting of the foothills of The Black Mountains in Herefordshire on the Welsh borders.
Issue 1 of the Campfire Companion features welcome from firestarter Pete Lawrence, a rallying call from keynote speaker Brian Eno and full details of our speakers, panels and thinkshops, our musical programme, our body & soul practitioners, food and drink at the pub, and camping guidelines.
You can also check out out weekend timetables - what's on when, as well as information on our Guilds, a key part of the social network, soon-to-launch.
If you're thinking of taking an extended break in this neck of the woods we offer a few tips on walks, local attractions, Hay-on-Wye, where to hire a bike, have a wild swim or go canoeing..
Download and browse at your leisure - and please share the link to anyone who you think might like to come. We have a maximum capacity of 500 and not many tickets left!
Click on the image below for the guide...
We are putting out a call for you, as new Campfire members to tell us what you want - from our social network, our events and what we could achieve in a wider context.. Here are some of the answers. Have your say here
Jonathan Tawn "I think we can do things differently. Lets work towards a greater level of collaboration and discussion, lets drop the singular from our postings and work towards a 'we' instead of 'i’."
Jenny Swindells “It would be great to be part of new developmental ways of thinking and working.”
Kath Cockshaw "I am looking for new ways to bring people and organisations together across communities of interest to address big issues, not least the current defunct political system, resulting in impactful action. Which is why Campfire Convention appeals so much."
Ian Ellison "I was inspired by the parallels and possibilities when I heard about Campfire on 6 Music, and - mixed with Big Chill memories - it got me wondering about the potentially more powerful blend of physical and online network 'spaces' to seed new ideas. I'd like to be part of the experience from the outset.”
Louise Wright "Enabling people to have a meaningful say in their lives and communities. To harness the skills and abilities of all to create power from within"
Rees Wesson "Meeting, chatting, drinking, playing music. What's not to like?"
John Bampini "We've had decades of neoliberal policies destroying the well being of people and redistributing wealth to fewer people. It's time for 'regular' people to unite and tackle the 'establishment'. I see Campfire as a step in the right direction and an opportunity to 'network' and enrich our lives and projects too."
Street Life "Creativity comes from unexpected connections between unrelated concepts or ideas. Collaborating with other people, with different ideas, many coming from different angles and with different goals often makes amazing things happen.”
Craig Edmunds "I pride myself in everything I do, to not take the easy path, to not take the path most attractive or beneficial to me personally and instead to look at everything for what it is, and what it can be for a wider cause."
Clare Hearne "With a grassroots and strategic networking interest in Herefordshire community health and wellbeing, particularly 'social prescribing' healthy alternatives for families and the troubled youth agenda, I'm really hoping campfire and Pete Lawrence, will take the initiative practically locally here on this one and act as a galvanising focus to assist with recruitment and implementation of the compassionate communities (CoCo) model already working in neighbouring Shropshire."
Tom Wilding “it’s an ideal place to meet and exchange ideas & knowledge while finding new friendships and skills."
Grant Read "As an event and gig photographer I see a wide range of styles in music, fashion and business approaches. Most people are taught in a linear fashion unfortunately the brain does not function that way. I would note the work of Tony Buzan as the Inventor of Mind Maps - the most powerful "thinking tool" of our times. Ideal for creative minds. Thinking outside the box of conventionality, inspiring and helping to develop peoples creative dreams. If we can think it, we can create it."
Jon Norris "The right to be heard is not the right to be listened to. Galvanising people in very small communities around an small very local issue, regrouping around the next issue empowers people and helps them take interest in larger but still very local issues. Our present methods of electing "politicians" does not"
Simon Sanders "It's all about exposure. Exposure to new ideas, new perspectives and new people Exposure for one's own ideas, ambitions, dreams and schemes Exposure to the elements - sun, rain, wind, whatever the weather. Expo? Sure!"
Jo King "I don't know what Campfire is, I suppose it is who it attracts. But I know I feel a little excited by it. I think the potential here shines out because there is no overpromising, just a lot of gentle initiative and creativity. I would like to give to that."
Cory Hope "Very exited about Campfire and the potential development of an alternative to commercial social networks.”
Mark Drury "The gathering together of loving people. For years now, the distance between the lives and minds of the materialistic and the spiritual has widened; whereas the arena for materialism has become scandalously overt there has been little sign of unity within spiritual circles. I believe that Campfire Convention will offer us all a place of solitude and community wherein we can relax in the knowledge we are among friends!"
Claire Watts "We need a different solution than mass vigils and twibbons, one that leads to real change. What is it that we can do together to make a difference!”
Jeremy Pearce "Campfire will work for me as a means of connecting with other like minded people ,building and bouncing around thoughts and ideas from as many angles and prospective imaginable. Oaks come from acorns and an idea can turn into a virtual forest and now is the time to plant .!”
Juliet Fay "Looking for opportunities to increase well-being and connectedness in my community & networks on and offline so that creativity can flourish and we can thrive. Eager to collaborate. Always looking towards fresh ideas."
Stephen Mitchelson "The act of writing is by necessity a solitary existence. However, there comes a time, particularly as a playwright, when the writer needs to include others in the process. Campfire offers the opportunity to make this an uplifting, creative and supportive experience.”
Tim Harper "Tech is now available to allow people to connect and build communities and products to support and inspire. I do this professionally and am always on the look out for interesting, exciting ground breaking opportunities to apply these skills for the greater good.”
Liz Kirby "We love collaborating, especially in projects that have community, music and radical politics at their heart. Love and music.”
Eileen Inglis "I'd like to grow this idea and would love to meet more collaborators! Also keen to share my expertise to help others get their ideas off the ground.”
Baffled Ape "I've been tiring of Twitter for some time and although Twitter has been my main source of news, info and links to like minded folk for several years, I’ve been looking for something to take the many individuals with inspirational ideas and talents to the next level."
Narn "Life is for living, and enjoying what you do. It means finding your passion and using that to inspire yourself and others. The Campfire sounds like the ideal platform for that”
DJ Dub "As a dad of two I am increasingly worried about the world my children (& everyone else's) will inherit & this seems like an excellent place to start to build a new future!”
Bronwyn Oldham "We would love to get involved, maybe host a regional Campfire symposium in Leigh-on-Sea; we have the space, the artists and the audience! Next year will be our 20th Anniversary and we want to encourage the whole town, young and old, to get together and start talking through the medium of art…”
Adrian Josey "Now is the time for a more fruitful and active community to break through, listening to Pete Lawrence on the Cerys Matthews Show made a lot of sense. My Interests are Music production , VJ/DJ, Art and Project Organisation, I would be more than happy to contribute with any of the above.”
Ed England "I find my social world, virtual and real, become increasingly narrow. I crave some new inspiration and new opportunities for collaboration - in music, storytelling, views and opinions. And I hope I can offer the same.”
Anna Broadhurst "Guilds and chapters are my thing. I work in technology and am especially interested in solving problems through lean principles and collaboration. I believe these principles can be applied to any project, product, scheme or event. Active learning and creativity can be at the heart of everything no matter what the genre”
Amy Sheldon "I've just heard Peter talking to Cerys on BBC 6music and I was nothing less than intrigued to find out more. I run my own website network of small businesses like makers and designers who are all in the creative industry, so I'm interested in photography and music and anything artistic and cultural. I'm game to get this site going.”
Jean-Phillippe "I've just heard about Campfire and I feel it would be a great platform to become a digital/sound artist and network or with like minded people or find collaborators .”
Alex Stewart "I am involved in many creative projects and like to encourage athers to make changes in their lives. I believe that major political and behavioural changes have to start from the individual up, not from instruction from above and understanding that sharing and asking others for help does not denote failure and weakness as can so often be thought in our present age. I hope to find like-minded people on this adventure. There have been many adventures and crossroads and just possibly this is the time for another.”
Claire Stevens "Intrigued and excited by the concept and the bringing to life of the Campfire. Looking forward to refreshing debate, joining a creative collective, exposure to wider thinking, fresh perspectives as well as the opportunity to be a part of an new enterprise; a place where the fatigue of media manipulation and small mindedness can be banished”
Gavin Sharp "Ideas are the start of everything and conversations can plant the seeds of new ways of thinking and start the process of creating new things.”
Genesis Rowley "Being a self employed blacksmith I would relish the opportunity to engender collaboration and the sharing of ideas with people outside my normal circles.”
Dave Roffey "An online community free from trolls, or those with nothing to say. A place where debate is welcomed, reasoned and encouraged, where creativity and talent can be celebrated and effort applauded. A place where new discoveries can be shared and enjoyed, and hey, a place where the odd little bit of silliness still has a place.”
Jenny Teasdale "I'd love to see the shaping of a new gorgeous place for like-minded creative souls to connect. I'm excited to see and contribute to user features being created and will connect with people for hopefully fruitful and inspiring conversations for all.”
Paula Knee "I'm interested to keep learning, talking, learning, doing, learning, creating.... Sharing ideas that bridge art, science, politics - photography, human perception, physics, politics of science and technology…”
Liz Hames "I like to think that Campfire will become a welcome and safe environment, that people will return to time and again, to experiment with ideas and concepts before taking them out into the wider world.”
Carol Alevroyianni "I like the idea of campfire being a place, virtual and physical, to network with other people who are making things happen, not just being opinionated but actively agitating and building good projects, events and meet ups. A small step towards making this a better place to be.”
Caroline Kerr "Campfire is full of possibilities and that's what I'm searching for. There is so much to discuss...to talk about....to do. Campfire is place to go virtually and in person and opens up real potential for conscious communication. I'm looking forward to being part of a thriving creative community with a social conscience.”
Kate Doody "We all need community to nurture us and enable us to flourish - many are accidents of time and place but we make them work for us. Deliberately creating a new community, around who we are now, where we are now, what we have come to believe and what of our lived experience we can all offer and share, is both exciting and reassuring and feels one of the most positive things I could be involved in right now: I look forward to the campfire and the conversations sparking around it.”
Elizabeth Carter “I’m in because of old and new friends, Conversation and music and beautiful location. And fire at night! I have lived longer than I am going to live and want to sit around the campfire thinking and talking about how we make this fourth quarter count and as we move towards the certainly of death how we have a great end of life. I want to be part of the generation that redefined the conversation about a good life and a good death.”
Sharon Prendergast "I'm one of the many many people who found in Jeremy Corbyn a leader who speaks my language and represents the ideals I have held dear all my life, but seemed previously unrepresented. I'm hoping to make connections and share ideas, with a view to making our society, locally, nationally and even internationally, the best it can be.”
Eleanor Miller "In many ways, including literally, I love to sit around a campfire and share stories with likeminded friends and strangers. I'm very interested in alternative communities. I belong to and support all kinds of groups of people who may not be considered mainstream, from authors to Pagans to Paleo advocates to people with alternative experiences of mental health.”
J.P. Ryding "I'd like to keep the embers of the campfire glowing by encouraging debate and artistic endeavour. I find many creators, definitely including myself, are looking for honest considered feedback on the things that they create and are grateful and motivated when someone takes the time to appreciate their efforts or points of view. I hope that this project will offer an alternative to the self-promoting, crowing, aggressive social web that we have at the moment and I would be very pleased to help nurture it and its contributors!”
Neil Lawson "Sometimes you just need to be heard. I see a place where people can post a thought or idea and receive feedback, whether it be support, guidance, constructive criticism or lead to collaboration.”
Robert Wilson "I hope to be able to both contribute to and draw from the collective creativity, be that in my main subjects of interest (audio production and technology) or others.”
Nadia Chambers "I've never been involved in anything quite like this before - and it is ringing so many bells for me.”
Philip Wilson "I am interested in voices and how they communicate ideas. By reading and listening to others, and by writing, I am hoping to find my own voice. This is my strategy for transitioning from a life of traditional work to what comes next. This is something most of us have to face, through choice or imposition. What can those of us in this 'post-career' phase of life learn from each other and from others, and what can we contribute to future generations at a time when society is so fractured and polarised. Can Campfire hear voices that have been exiled by the democratic deafness around us ?"
Andie Brazewell "Looking forward to sharing ideas, discussing concerns, realising values and meeting like minded children. If not for myself, for our children's children, I come to the most loved network on our planet and enjoy with kindred spirits."
Greg Madison "People' need to change if the way we live is to change, otherwise there really is no change. Alongside systemic change we need to learn to listen deeply to what we actually experience and know 'bodily', then we can build new ways of living together that are wiser and more creative than anything we have attempted till now... Psychologists and academics and professional agitators etc are not the experts. We have a lot to 'unlearn' in order to be open to new possibilities."
Debbie Golt "I'm seeking new opportunities and connections and Campfire Convention strikes a chord. Looking forward to dynamic discussions and marvellous music in such a lovely location .... And the fabulous fire …"
Karen Hiorns "I want to be a part of something new and exciting and make new friends and feel good vibrations in a beautiful setting with music and a fire…”
Elizavet Tapini "The world moves towards automation, scarcity of resources will affect our lives more and more, wherever we are. As skills become obsolete, new ones need to develop. This cannot happen if we don’t create a shared knowledge base, which can operate both within and outside the monetary system. People will need jobs and skills to create new social practices, if we are to manage the difficulties we face ahead. From learning to listen to each other to developing sustainable practices and localised networks, we need eachother. Let’s do it."
More about our first event which was staged in August 2016 here
Campfire Convention's venue for its inaugural weekend event is the wonderfully situated Bridge Inn in the small Herefordshire village of Michaelchurch Escley, nestled in the foothills of The Black Mountains on the Welsh borders. The pub is an unspoilt 16th century riverside inn, restaurant, farmhouse with an adding field that we're utilising as a campsite.
The Cool Camping website says "The pub, a low-beamed inn of indeterminate age, was once a place where drovers slaked their thirst before taking their herds or flocks across the river. Today it still serves locally brewed real ales, and meals that use locally sourced produce wherever possible. A large folder in the pub bulges with scores of local walks – if you did one a day you’d be here all summer – urging hikers up to Hergest Ridge, the Devil’s Pulpit, Arthur’s Stone and beyond. The cycling is pretty good here too, with plenty of very minor roads wending their way from somnolent village to somnolent village, before surprising the patient pedaller with huge open vistas of Herefordshire hills."
The Bridge Inn, Michaelchurch Escley, Herefordshire, HR20JW
"It's sited beneath weeping willows beside a brook and it's an idyllic place to nurse a pint of tuck into hearty local dishes, such as braised shoulder of lamb with Gwatkin cider" - The Independent
"In a pretty spot down by the river...It’s achingly lovely, with willows weeping down the footbridge...And Glyn is the nicest host" - Daily Mail
Help crowd fund the Campfire project. It aims to establish itself as a community driven, co-operative social network and event which will require developers, staff, and funding for events, amongst other things. If you'd like to help us out, we'd love to hear from you...
I'm pleased to report that Brian Eno has accepted my invitation to appear at the first Campfire Convention event as keynote speaker this August. Having worked with Brian in the latter days of The Big Chill when he brought his '77 Million Paintings' project to Eastnor Castle, it feels timely to be renewing acquaintances now that we're both involved in social and political activism. In his letter to me, Brian remarked that he was especially happy to hear that I was turning my energies towards supporting Corbyn. He also said that he hoped to see lots of that kind of activity over the next few years and it is indeed proof that the propaganda machine isn't working.
Whilst mindful that Corbyn has brought about some major changes and made things appear possible that a year ago were completely out of reach, I'm also getting on with initiatives preparing Campfire for imminent launch. I have been keeping Brian up to speed with my thinking in terms of the initial ideas I have for speaker and panel content at the event which seems to be evolving on an almost daily basis. I'm hopeful that we'll arrive at a unique blend of art and politics and to be getting the first event off the ground in the Black Mountains, so close to where The Big Chill made its inauspicious outdoor debut 21 years ago only adds to the excitement for me.
Having heard Brian speak in London in early February at the JC4PM rally, and listened to his John Peel lecture from late last year, it became clear that we share a lot of ideas on how we should be moving forward - harnessing a collective energy via community thinking and encouraging people to find ways of making a living from doing what they enjoy. Never before has the quest for finding ways of personal and collective expression through art been so important and to that end, we're both excited about the ideas around Universal Basic Income that have been very much on the agenda in recent months, and something along these lines could support a liberation of creativity and isn't as far-fetched as its critics like to think. Hopefully Campfire's online presence will offer an outlet and forum for those sparks of creativity and with some lateral thinking, I hope we can arrive at way of rewarding our own members too, as I outline here. I certainly had something along these lines in mind as a process when the idea first formed, though if we're to be truly democratic about this, I can't claim to have all the answers!
Eno also prompted us - when the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that she thought that it was a good idea for students not to go into the arts and humanities because they didn’t offer such good job prospects as the STEM subjects, you somehow know that the time is right to not only restore a sense of balance, but to get active in terms of rethinking our relationship with culture and society. Interestingly we've both been quoting Thatcher's infamous one-liner "There's no such thing as society" recently.. that's a great motivator in itself for proving its value, in new ways and with added strength.
There's also a view gaining credence that we're already moving into a phase where capitalism isn't really working any longer as a model and we have to look to communications networks to lead the way, away from market forces as a primary motivator. Much of it is coming down to networks vs hierarchies in many ways, neoliberal economics colliding with network technology and many traditional, unquestioned ways of doing things are beginning to look outmoded. We need new structures for the means of production of intellectual 'goods' to move into the hands of the many.
I think many of us are also aware that we have to move fast, to make the most of the changes that are opening up everywhere. We need big visions, we need people able and willing to articulate their own utopian thinking for ways forward and who can relate them to the here and now. Making those bridges rational, grounded in economic thinking and graspable for most people is the key. Alongside that, we need new media to be organising, adding new perspective and getting the message out. Not just to middle England but globally and the internet is the way we can do that.
I'm very much looking forward to welcoming Brian and all other guests to Campfire Convention 001.UK on August 13th.
Campfire Convention is a new social network and event for creative people seeking an alternative space, due to launch at www.campfireconvention.com once we have finished our beta testing programme.
You are currently browsing an information site giving details and previewing what is coming...
We are offering the last free memberships for early 'Trailblazers' as we move into the completion of the beta testing of our site.
Sign up now at https://campfireconvention.uk
We are also doing Campfire Conversations in different locations through the UK.
Campfire is about seizing the initiative to build and shape our own world.
We believe that there is a desire for a new community with potential to grow into a vibrant ecosystem where people can come together to share common interests, passions, ethics and motivations, whether related to work or play. We aim to provide an environment where members can facilitate personal and social change, free of many of the restrictions and machinations associated with commercial interests.
The Campfire platform is designed to be truly progressive in an era where increasingly Facebook/Google-style algorithms define and categorise us according to commercial imperatives. The priorities of the Campfire community will be led by its members and its aim is to develop a truly modern co-operative.
The concept has been devised and is led by social entrepreneur Pete Lawrence, the founder of the successful Cooking Vinyl record label and Big Chill festivals. The Big Chill was well known for its thriving and proactive online community before the current mainstream social networks were established. Pete says "What are we aiming for? Obviously a thriving community, a vibrant website and exciting events, but our vision can extend a lot wider. We can play our part in social change, in helping create a fairer society and in empowering our own membership, both individually and collectively by providing an environment where ideas can lead to inspiration, debate can lead to determination, co-creativity can lead to collaboration and realisation, which in turn can lead to recognition, confidence and financial rewards too."
How is Campfire different? Read our blog
Want to be involved? - Join our team
Our social network - and how it's shaping up
Campfire Convention 001.UK
Last summer, we staged our first weekend event (12-14th) in the English countryside