Campaign extended! Our deadline has passed but you can still help.
Campfire : Help us spark a radical new model for community social networking
£26,205 raised
105% of £25k goal
179 contributors
101 Weeks running

The Opportunity

What if social media didn’t lock us up in online echo chambers, exploit users for their data, wasn’t funded by advertising or dictated by algorithms and didn’t exist to line shareholder's pockets?  What if, instead, it actually did what it says on the ‘social network’ tin? Help build and strengthen communities? That’s the vision for Campfire Convention, a new kind of conscious social media that works for its members – and seeds new ideas and social change for the benefit of all.

In the wake of the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s now clear that the 'surveillance capitalism' model of social media as an advertising platform is unsustainable, built as it is on monetising data. The full implications of us choosing a digital advertising platform as our presumed safe space in which to spill all our most intimate thoughts, hopes, fears and passions are only now being realised. It creates a forum in which the owners of a gigantic operation rule the social media world, arguably the wider world too, for their own ends and for shareholder profit.

So I am proposing a radical new model for social networking and pitching the level of our appeal at £25k to start to do the ground work around the upgrade that is needed so that we can put a Karma plan in place along with launching a platform cooperative, when we will also be inviting members to buy a stakehold.

I’m Pete Lawrence, co-founder of The Big Chill festival which gave early exposure to the household names like Lily Allen, Goldfrapp, Amy Winehouse, Gotan Project, Mr Scruff, and Röyksopp. And in the past I’ve been 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. All well and good. But my roots remain in the grassroots.

My background is music and events. In my late 20s I set up the independent record label Cooking Vinyl, which became infamous for a field recording of an American folk singer recorded in very DIY fashion around a campfire at a folk festival in Texas. That recording, which cost £1 went on to sell nearly a million copies and establish the label as a maverick force in the burgeoning roots and world music scene. The Texas Campfire Tapes

The Big Chill started by inviting 150 friends to a Sunday chill out club in north London. It grew by word-of-mouth, and almost by accident, to a 40,000 capacity festival, known for pioneering new evolutionary entertainment. We were the first festival to have a website in the UK, the first to webcast and the first to have a thriving online community, many of whom connected and collaborated on a daily basis.

It was through the Big Chill's flowering that I saw the power in community, and people uniting around a purpose or common interest. This led me to explore further how communities can make a difference, so for the last decade I have been inspired to evolve a new form of social networking. Big Chill

Enter Campfire Convention. Bridging the divide between on- and off-line, and giving virtual and face-to-face interactions equal weighting. Already Campfire's events all over the UK have shown those who have attended the value of meeting in person, being in the physical presence of others and feeling their passions, respecting their ideas and viewpoints. We have developed a core network of quality contributors and are already syndicating the writing of key thinkers and commentators such as George Monbiot, Daniel Pinchbeck and Kate Raworth. In the real-world space, we’ve had inspiring conversations, lit Beacons around the world, and sparked new projects ranging from musical collaborations to launching a Citizens’ Assembly initiative.

Bringing people together has been the common thread through my life's work. My way is to join the dots, then step back and watch the sparks fly. It’s never been more urgent to ignite synergies around social change and conscious transformation.  Join me as we light a beacon for hope in the dark called Campfire Convention.

Campfirers at event

The Campaign

Myself and a small team have spent the last four years building the site to the soft launch stage. At a great personal cost, we’ve succeeded in inspiring a growing team of volunteers, writers and event trailblazers to come together to build something of value. We’ve started to grow a network of support around us including people like Brian Eno, our first Patron. Now, we’re ready to take things to the next level – and push the platform closer to its full potential.

It’s time to get the help we need, and to reward our team for their efforts. This is where this crowdfunder comes in. 


The Next Phases

1 ) Handing the torch on to our members : Not just in improving the way our global Beacons operate but in terms of empowering our membership to step up and build resources together via shared ownership. By backing this campaign you are enabling our Karma Scheme, which aims to reward creativity and kudos with points that translate into a real profit share based on activity and feedback around your ideas. (Phase 3, this campaign)

2 ) Developing our Mentorship Circle : Unlocking our potential through the sharing of skills and passions. We're offering our first mentorship sessions in this crowdfund but also intend to pilot our first Trailblazers weekend retreat in June in Devon around this concept. (Phase 4, launch summer 2019)

3) New social innovation : 2020 Vision : A Project proposed by our patron Brian Eno will encourage creative ideas and new ways of rethinking democracy and the machinery of community. (Phase 5, launch spring 2020)

4) Building editorial and content : We are already syndicating the writing of key thinkers and commentators but are well positioned to develop our own news and magazine section as a journalistic voice in its own right. (Phase 6, launch autumn 2020)

5) Building the Ecosystem : Enabling our lead developer Tim to pioneer new ways of working with open source approach to software with Campfire as a hub that can benefit other like-minded communities working for social change by offering them an out-of-the-box solution for building their own social network. (Phase 7, launch spring 2021)

assorted campfirers

Campfire is well placed to play its part as a force for significant social change and is supporting the work of communities such as Extinction Rebellion, We Own It, Building Bridges For Peace, Flatpack Democracy, The Tree Conference, Sortition Foundation, Red Brick Building, The Alternative UK and others.

It would be easy for me to walk away from the project and enjoy a quiet life but there is a burning passion within me that knows this can work, that Campfire can be an important model for future directions in community social networking.

That's why I can't ignore the fire in the belly that drives me to make this work for everyone to develop new frameworks and community connections that help speed up this transition that is already in progress.

Campfire isn't a service, it's a community initiative, which focuses on building something that we can all benefit from rather than 'what's in it for me’


The Landscape

We already have a track record. We do have an active network online and membership is steadily growing by word-of-mouth, even though we are still pre-official launch. We are already organising face-face events. Our early Beacons are already looking at templates for organising productive meetings, working out how to stage citizen's assemblies and getting involved in initiatives with the homeless.

We have a Firestarter (me!), working full time, a few occasional contributors and volunteers and one part-time developer. Although not comparable in any way, Facebook, as of December 2018 has 35,587 employees.


The Impact

I realised through my Big Chill years that communities can make a big difference in terms of social cohesion, mutual support and frameworks for engagement.

Campfire, like The Big Chill before it, is about interaction and fun - but there is also a deeper purpose. It can offer real life experience in a community setting, learning from practical experience around events, opportunities to create, co-ordinate or join groups and initiatives. Campfire is positioned to facilitate the process of social change and that change starts with each and every one of us, the way we choose to live our lives and how we interact with those around us.

My track record usually comes back to bringing people together. At a time when people need to come together and talk more than ever to make sense of the rapid change in the world, not all of it welcome, we need to be finding ways to find common ground. This has been brilliantly articulated by our member Vicki Burke.

"I believe in the one hundred monkeys theory: that once enough of us have learned how to step into the new way, as we are all connected, we all step up together.  We can begin to heal and start to function as a society based on love and compassion."

We can develop new ways of communicating and co-operating. Annabelle Macfadyen wrote this excellent article on the need for good conversations.Good conversations, good collaborative work and good practice can make a difference and help us to build a better world together.

Here is DJ Greg Wilson's take on Campfire:

Risks & Challenges

If we don't reach target at least we are rewarding some of the amazing voluntary work that has been put in building the site and overseeing the software upgrade. Tim, our developer, will get first call on the funding, having put in weeks of due diligence when he could have been earning a crust with any number of other projects and we thank him for having the belief and optimism that we can get to where we want to be.

We are testing the water on this funding round to see if we have the support and the encouragement from enough people to join us on this journey. If this funding initiative works, then a new world of possibility opens up for community social networks and a true alternative. We already have the next five phases mapped out. 

This is all about handing on to the community and shaping a truly modern co-operative that can pioneer a new model for a community network as we enter post-capitalist environment.

Here's DJ Norman Jay's take on Campfire:

Other Ways You Can Help

If you're not able to chip in to help, that's no problem. Campfire has a policy, wherever possible, of offering free bursaries to our events and also a free membership option to those who can't afford to contribute. 

You can help us by sharing this campaign on social media with your friends or telling them about our community. The campaign also has some amazing perks attached - all members of Campfire offering their time and skills with events, 'how to' sessions and forums for passing on their knowledge and enthusiasm to support the Campfire cause.

Word of mouth got us this far and I believe personal recommendation is the best way of all to take us further.

I thank you for believing in this dream. Together we can make it real.

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Meet the team

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Position Total raised
Mentorship : Photography Documentary Project
Estimated delivery Jul 2019
Andy Scaysbrook offers 'The Great British Seaside' photography workshop weekend - learning the art of editorial photography and visual story telling.

Date: Aug 17/18
Venue: Swanage, Dorset
For up to 8

We will be spending the weekend shooting the story of the Great British Seaside in Dorset. We will be shooting portraits, landscapes, abstracts and everything in between and you will also be learning the art of photo journalism and digital publishing. We will also be putting together a digital magazine that will showcase all of the participants work. Working alongside myself and my fellow photographer, Andrew Bell, you will learn the art of telling visual stories and creating stunning photography projects. The cost for the two day workshop is £210 which includes two full days of photography in Swanage. You will need to book accommodation. View last workshop here
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Mentorship : Social Media For a New Age
Estimated delivery Jun 2019
Join us online to talk Social Media For A New Age, as author Katie Brockhurst shares her latest research on the future of social media.

Mark Zuckerberg recently wrote that the future of social media is a move from the Town Square (Facebook/ Instagram Newsfeeds) to the The Living Room (Messenger apps, groups and subscription based models )… Here we will also consider the Campfire as an alternative/ complimentary space for your social media activities and strategies.

Social Media For A New Age : From the Town Square to the Living Room to round the Campfire.
Tuesday 16th July 2019 17:00 - 19:00 pm via Zoom £25

If you would like to use social media in more meaningful way; authentically & confidently creating and sharing content to support you, your ideas, your business, your mission… And if social media stresses you out, makes you feel overwhelmed or obligated to use it to promote yourself or your business…. This session might just be for you.
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Mentorship : Vocal Improvisation
An afternoon of relaxed and sometimes challenging play exploring vocal improvisation.

Date: Sunday 30th June 2019, 14:00 - 17:00
Venue: The Naval Room, The Archangel, Frome
For up to 12 people

We’ll loosen up our voices, sing, throw caution to the wind and express parts of ourselves that may be shy but won’t be able to resist. Using fun games and structures for accessing and liberating sounds, grooves, words and feelings, we’ll build up rich vocal soundscapes, interacting with our inner voice and with each other.

The session will suit people who already have some confidence in singing, or other forms of improvisation, and are ready to stretch themselves a bit. It's not really a 'find your voice' kind of workshop, although you may well find it, along with other things you didn't know were there.
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Mentorship : Go Ferment!
Morning session covering the joy of Fermented food. Taking away the mysticism and demonstrating how easy it is to make, store and the various ways of serving these healthy options.

Venue : Warminster
Date : June 22
Times : 9.30-15:30
For up to 10
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£35 + shipping
Hand printed Campfire T-shirt - HEART.
Ships Worldwide
Mark your support of campfire with some quality merch! These 100% organic cotton, fair-trade t-shirts will be hand printed to order by a Zappa-esque artist based in the hills outside Lisbon; a land where eagles soar in clear blue skies, lizards flit between baking rocks, and ancient vineyards produce a fine local nectar. Each will be signed/stamped by the maker - Lucas Almeida. Beyond limited edition - these are works of art. Available in a range of colours and sizes, in female / male cuts.
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Hand printed silkscreen t-shirt - BLAZE
Mark your support of campfire with some quality merch! These 100% organic cotton, fair-trade t-shirts will be hand printed to order by a Zappa-esque artist based in the hills outside Lisbon; a land where eagles soar in clear blue skies, lizards flit between baking rocks, and ancient vineyards produce a fine local nectar. Each will be signed/stamped by the maker - Lucas Almeida. Beyond limited edition - these are works of art. Available in a range of colours and sizes, in female / male cuts.
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Mentorship : Aerial Yoga Introduction
Estimated delivery Jun 2019
A 3 hour session of amazing Aerial Yoga.

Date: 22nd June, 09:00 - 12:00
Venue: The Red Brick Building, Glastonbury
For up to 7 people

It is exercise in disguise! Discover the fairy being within and bring it out. Loads of strong conditioning exercises, with plenty of time to achieve some cool tricks and poses. Some base fitness and strength is advised to get the most out of this session.
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Blissed out yoga retreat day
Estimated delivery Jun 2019
Following the traditional principles of Yoga with a western contemporary twist. This will be a fairly strong vinyasa flow class with a beautiful yin session to balance the yang.
Venue : Red Brick Building, Glastonbury
Date : 22 June 2019
10:30 - 15:30
Food at 4pm
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Campout 2019 Volunteer Ticket
We're offering a small number of Volunteer tickets for our 5 day Campout in Somerset. They include camping for four nights and all entertainments, in return for a minimum of 4 hours volunteering at the event.

Date : August 28-September 1st 2019
Venue: Field 725, near Frome, Somerset
20 tickets available

A five day gathering in the glorious Somerset countryside celebrating life. Join us for talks, panels, ‘how to’ sessions, games, cookery, alternative therapies, music, performance art, foraging and yoga. The vibe is hay bales, campfires, night skies, cinema, saunas, street food, picnics, glamping and much more.
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How to cook up a vegan storm
Venue : Community Learning and Resource centre, Wimborne
Date : Sunday October 6th
No of people : 3
Join us in the kitchen to create a two-course vegan lunch. Prior to the session, we can explore with you what sort of food you'd like to cook. Let's sit down and enjoy the meal together. Go away with a recipe card, full tummy and a culinary experience.
Sound Kitchen is Wimborne’s first fully vegan cafe.
Organic produce and sourced locally where possible.
Gluten and nut free options always offered.
All food cooked with intentional love.
10% of all profits to grass roots charities.
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Mentorship : Fire on Metal - How My Art Evolves
Estimated delivery Jun 2019
Come and join me around the Campfire in my garden in Lyme Regis. I will be giving a talk about my work, my inspirations and my experimental arts practice that I have been developing over the last few years.

Venue : Uplyme, Lyme Regis, Devon
Date :
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Mentorship : Raw Chocolate Making
Estimated delivery Aug 2019
Learn how to make delicious chocolates from raw cacao and take home your own box of chocolates.

Location : The Red Brick Building, Glastonbury, 16:00 - 19:00
Date : 12 October 2019
For up to 10 people
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Mentorship : Releasing Your Music
Estimated delivery Jun 2019
A myth busting day to help you navigate all the blocks (creative and logistical) to getting your music released and promoted.

Date: July 20th 2019, 10:30 - 18:30
Venue: Eugenie's home in Worthing, Sussex
For up to 8 people
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Mentorship : How To Be Yoga
Estimated delivery Nov 2019
A day workshop on living an authentic life.

Venue: Kimm's home in Poole, Dorset
Date: 9 Feb 2020
For up to 8 people

Yoga is not just a series of asanas, it is an ancient practice with the fundamental aim of training the body to be able to sit in meditation for long periods of time. The basis of the practice is based around the 8 Limbs of Yoga and the Yamas and Niyamas. These practices are often lost in some of the modern yoga on offer but they are incredibly helpful in assisting us in developing a more peaceful way of living.
This one day workshop is offered to those seeking a deeper understanding of what causes the stresses and imbalances in daily life and how to utilise ancient wisdom to bring greater harmony and gratitude into daily routines. We will look at the benefits of rituals and how to develop our own, the creation of altars and there will be a despacho fire ceremony to round off the day.
Vegan lunch is included.
£100 - full day with full proceeds to Campfire
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Mentorship : How to Write From The Heart
Estimated delivery Sep 2019
Kimm Fearnley is opening her home at the beautiful south coast for a one day workshop on writing from the heart.

Date: 3 November 2019
Venue: Poole, Dorset
For up to 8 people

You can find examples of her work on Campfire where she aims to delve deeply into her senses to produce copy that invokes emotions in the reader.

The day will start with a simple heart opening ceremony and meditation and tea followed by an Awakening Senses Walk and note taking. There will be a vegetarian lunch provided with the afternoon dedicated to putting pen to paper.

Her work as a healer and yoga teacher as well as being a former-journalist enables her to combine these skills to provide a safe space to explore the blockages that stop us from writing deep from our hearts.
£100 - for a full day. all proceeds to Campfire Crowd Funding
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Walking weekend in the Peak District
Estimated delivery Jul 2019
This will be a 2-night B&B style weekend stopover in Buxton in August with an accent on the outdoors, with an invigorating walk on the Saturday as a sample of what Buxton has to offer. Wholesome home cooked food and good conversation...

Date: Friday 9th - Sunday 11th August 2019, from 18:30 on the Friday to 17:00 on the Sunday
Venue: Buxton, Derbyshire
For up to 8 people

Possible activities include:
1 Hill walking in stunning Derbyshire countryside.
2 Tour of the town on foot or on the Buxton electric ‘Tram’.
3 A visit to St Anne’s church in Higher Buxton: the oldest building in town and time out in Scrivener’s Bookshop – one of the country’s most interesting secondhand bookshops.
4 A visit to Buxton Museum and The Green Man Gallery.
5 A backstage tour of Buxton Opera House followed by a visit to Buxton Taphouse to sample some unusual local ales.
6 A visit to Poole’s Cavern, followed by a stroll up through Grinlow woods to Solomon’s Temple for good views of the town.
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Mentorship : Taking risks & following gut instinct
I will focus on how ideas generate for me and how I then conceptualise and pursue those ideas.

Date : October 25, 2019
Time : 10.30 - 17:00
Venue : Frome, Somerset
For up to 4

With lots of stories and anecdotes, as I recount going self employed at 28 and then working through each of my three major projects, Cooking Vinyl label, Big Chill festival and now Campfire Convention.
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Mentorship : Event Planning Weekend Session
  • 0 bought
  • 15 remaining
Estimated delivery Aug 2019
This informative and engaging course will provide much of the knowledge and essentials for putting on events, together with sharing my 30+ years experience within the events industry, including festivals and corporate events.

Date: Likely 21-22 September
Venue: TBC Birchover Barns
For up to 15 people

As part of the Campfire Mentorship Circle I am happy to announce that I will be offering a weekend course based around events - discussing all aspects of event management including financials, legislation, planning, delivery and promotion of events whether for 30 or 3000 participants.
I have chosen a Peaks self catering location as the base for the course, providing an insight into the planning and execution of a small learn shop event.

The shape of the weekend will include;
- Sessions on specific topics delivered by myself
- An interactive look at specific event projects that participants have.
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Mentorship : How to Make a Podcast
How to create perfect podcasts and recordings for radio, with BBC producer Helen Lennard.

Date: Friday 21st June, 10:30 - 13:00
Venue: Fora Soho Podcast Studio, London
For up to 9 people
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Show Discontinued Perks
Campfire's Little Chill
Mentorship : Playwriting Workshop
Glamping weekend @ Campfire's Trailblazers weekend

Can you spare two minutes to help spark an exciting new model for community-based social media?

OK, two minutes might not be enough for that. But it's plenty of time for you to personalise and share a copy of our campaign to those you think might be excited by it.

Together we can build something very exciting that also pays back to its members. And sharing won't cost you a penny—just a few minutes of your time.

Register now
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