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Meeting Minutes / Campfire Circle 004.UK : Leamington Spa




Pete Lawrence, Rowena Harte, Colin Consterdine, Josie Kemp, Rebecca Dennitt, David Owen, Sharon Prendergast, Paul Hiatt, Jan Trembecki, Ruth Wallsgrove, Meryl Van Spall, Nadia Chambers, Mark Robbins, Pete Blunt, Suzi Glantz, Sandra Ashford

Pre discussion

  • Recap Campfire Convention 001.UK
  • Campfire Conversations – First 'pilot' event took place on Wednesday in Lewes - very successful. in pub where Headstrong Club (Thomas Paine) met, before he came up with the American constitution.  Whole range looking likely in May / June / July all over UK from Scotland to Cornwall (see Forum, see prospective datesheet in this article) - from allotments to cathedrals.  Leamington CC – Parish Church – July 1? - Adrian Gaines?
  • Projects being revamped with templates to help structure different projects. Will be like 'microsites' for every member.
  • Brian Eno Ideas Initiative to reward original ideas – an award, for 002?

Other things going on

  • Peter Macfadyen, Flatpack Democracy and how it has worked in Frome, Somerset – gave a speech at 38 Degrees Lewes (which is also a Transition Town). Independents took over Frome council – can we help facilitate this elsewhere?
  • Creative Speculations (1997), Cornucopia of Ideas (2001), Institute for Social Inventions books masterminded by Nicolas Albery which prompted the Eno idea
  • Co-working spaces?
  • Northampton!
  • Transition Towns – learning from what worked and what didn’t work, eg scaling up; could be about trying to be completely independent in the hills/ purist, rather than how we work together
  • Discussion on local councillors, independents can take over town / parish councils.. need to move to plan for general election!  – there is training support available, but a decreasing pool of party members to put forward to stand in local elections
  • Discussion on swings; getting people to understand they voted for the people who (eg) pass fracking in Ryedale, or are trying to repeal Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’)
  • Activism is no longer a dirty word (Lewes people all wanted change at local level, great ideas and initiatives)
  • We are fed up of yah boo and sound-bite politics
  • We’re about building resources – via Projects. Brining people together locally
  • Looking at commonalities rather than differences
  • 38 Degrees event – tables coming up with initiatives, made participants activists working on them
  • Women’s Equality Party – is working in the background; what’s important is that there are things everyone can identify with, support
  •  ‘Pantsuit Nation’ is an interesting example of a non-party, upbeat stream on Facebook
  • How we talk with each other, engage with each other – it doesn’t mean not being passionate! And it certainly doesn’t mean agreeing with everyone.  See draft in the Campfire Community forum
  • Braunston Bugle on Facebook – can also be very divisive for the village. So hard to get the right tone when you write, rather than talking face to face
  • On CC, we know we’ll probably meeting face to face the people whose posts we read


Pete B – Braunston – worked on putting together CC 001 August 2016. Did Braunston festival event with Pete 2011

Paul – at school with Pete – Radford Semele – water engineer. I don’t say I am particularly political, 16 year old son now interested post Brexit and Trump.

Jan – new to this. Want to be involved in something going on

Mark – went to CC 001, having heard of it via social media – marvellous. Farming now.

Ruth – also grew up in Leamington

Meryl – also knew Pete as teenagers. Not an activist but wants to do what I can

Nadia – Portsmouth, recently retired from Health Service, stumbled across CC via a friend; did a thinkshop at CC 001. CC floats my boat, thinking about what it can do – limitless potential

Colin – musician, working for youth charity creative director of multimedia suite. Love CC. Love writing for CC – currently writing an article on work-life balance.

Rowena – involved via CC, primary school teacher. Lovely to get fresh ideas, and want to give something back.

Josie – art and design all my life, met Pete via Bellowhead. Was very active, now a bit of an activist in my own head these days. I get very angry eg about Monsanto, Microsoft.

Suzi - retired music promoter, grandmother. Can’t remember how I found out about CC. Very active in 1960s, one of the first members of FoE. Totally appeals to me – alternative way of being in the world. A rebel all my life

Rebecca – "been a rebel all my life too!" Freelance musician/ music educator / working for community musicians, creating communities, empowering.  Four children 20s – 7, all on autistic spectrum, so a lot of time investigating how to come to terms with diverse family communities.  How we construct events for all of us.  I’ve been waiting for something like CC for a long time. I care so much for communities, I’m a better person when I’m with other like-minded people. Folk Against Fascism.

David – originally Leeds, went into advertising (the SAS of capitalism) – love/ hate.  In a rock and roll band in 20s, crashed and burnt in NYC, went to art college, mainly work as an artist. A lot of work in the folk community; criminal justice. Still do music.  Very much in favour of direct action. Don’t wait for permission!

Sharon – least activist/ most conventional person… Trained, got a job, still in that job.  However, my aunt was at Greenham Common, still a rebel at 92. Come from a family of nurses – just found out we’re descended from F Nightingale. Took my family to CC 001. Political scene is not meeting needs now.  I will defend the NHS with my dying breathe.

Pete L – Big Chill made me realise the power of communities, including a web forum (around turn of millennium).  Firestarter, potential to grow in different ways..don’t know where it will go as everyone takes it where they want.

Campfire Convention 002.UK

Pete L: moving on from last year.  At Hawarden Estate, Flintshire, North Wales (August 4-6) Arrival on site Thursday - Sunday evening. Four areas this time – four campfires, each a centre for activity.  Central, and 3 Guild-focused (Creative, Leisure, Tools for Life).  A bit more open space, as Brian Eno suggested.  Relaxed entertainment around central campfire, more acoustic (like Sam Lee/ Unamplifier event). 

Other comments :

  • People like boogying – some amplified DJing?
  • Like the sense of not rushing from one thing to another – time for conversation.
  • Maybe reduce number of panels? Under 500 attendees, different licence at 500
  • Compere to keep on touch of what is going on? Eg Jez Allerton nominated?
  • Using sound related to art? Eg in the morning; ambient
  • Yoga and mindfulness was also just perfect – lovely in the glade
  • What about children?  Eg getting them engaged; inclusive
  • ‘Kindling’?
  • Working groups – eg Beacons or new Projects – can link to resources, can be open or closed
  • Suzi, Rebecca on children; Ruth also interested
  • Responsibility? People seeing things through – stated deliverables?
  • Helping people develop skills – peer mentoring –
  • Also not being passive – all of us make it


  • Early bedtimes… so people can get up early for the first discussions. Liked by many in surveys
  • Some want to boogy later– but if acoustic not such a problem for noise
  • David says people will move to anything – ie brass band
  • ‘Audience development’ – not everyone knows how to be an audience; we respond differently to actual voices
  • The Greg Wilson set was brilliant…
  • Unicorn event have no amplified music - run for 8 day camp


  • Firm of Poets in Wakefield (Rebecca)

Food and drink

  • Take control of income-generation opportunities
  • Food last time not great (lack of vegan / veg options despite prior discussions)
  • There is some brilliant street food around
  • Hawarden site – does have excellent café on site, and very experienced at events – local sourcing (Good Life Experience – Cerys Matthews involved in festival on same site in September, with her business partner Charlie who lives at estate)
  • The Bridge underestimated the amount of work last year because he wasn’t experienced
  • Someone to oversee food and drink? Hawarden to pitch
  • Hawarden might do the whole thing – depends what we want to get from it, and what they want to get from it; including the bar


Pete B – can’t cater for everyone inside fully – have to go for a happy medium.  Go for some shelter.

  • Nice to go for CC tent?
  • There is some local infrastructure – Hawarden can get us lovely tents
  • Also Shropshire based tent provided (via Ros Fry)


Pete B – have an aerial plan.  Off main road, carpark and farm shop; dedicated carpark for CC; camper van space, old cricket field with pavilion, flat camping with fence to denote; other side is the main event, with dips, nooks and crannies, big space to left that we could spread into. Toilets and water – looking into compost toilets on site? 

  • Alternative Technology Centre not far away…


What we still need to discuss here on 002

  • Volunteer tickets
  • Decision making going forward – groups, collective discussions
  • Budget


Ticket sales – maximum £38,000 ex VAT, including camping/ camper vans, not including bar/ food sales

Costs? – could potentially be a lot more. Allowing for PA, generators – need to add in security costs,

  • Discussion about glamping option offered by Hawarden – how much would people expect?  Hawarden charge £400-600 for a bell tent with beds etc a weekend.  How near to loos?....  This sounds cheap.
  • How about CC having really cheap tents, communal?
  • Sell space in a bell tent? – for people coming on their own.
  • Cash flow not a big issue
  • Paying contributors? Paid musicians essentially at cost last time.
  • Volunteers were fed last time – over-generous?  Could we do it cheaper?  Feed on their shifts?  One meal token per shift.
  • Numbers of stewards? 20 last time; the only people who didn’t show were those we didn’t know who asked for free tickets in return for stewarding.   
  • Good to ask people when they wanted to work a shift (or don’t want to because they want to go to something).
  • Paid role for organising stewards?  Splitting ticketing/ guests from stewards/ volunteers. Also paid role for secondary site manager, especially overnight duty.
  • Free tickets for volunteers? Lots volunteered and paid for a ticket.  Make it clear you can choose.
  • Eg cheap steward volunteer ticket for a certain amount of time and meal token per shift?
  • The most important thing was being there…

PB : Need around 30 stewards this time.


  • Certainly not all middle class
  • Not many young last time
  • Not very ethnically diverse last time
  • Make sure photos aren’t all white, male


Comment on outline timetable.  Main central area – start and end there each day. Some not gathering/ session, eg exhibitions.

  • Minimal PA at every campfire, roving mike
  • People can arrive Thursday; spontaneous fire that evening perhaps, nothing formal
  • How do people suggest/ offer to present or perform?
  • Program working group/project – post suggestions there, under appropriate guild
  • Mailshot to mailing list for submissions, but main target is people on site already
  • Children – don’t always have to be ‘children’ event, eg pop-up guitar class…
  • Scratch choir!
  • People hungry for participatory art
  • Room for lots of little things – cookery, film shows (power from generators),
  • Learn how to light a fire….to start
  • Stalls? – Pete L not keen (‘ethno tat’), apart from bookstall / record stall
  • Needs properly curating – Colin up for this

Set up

  • Main ‘campfire central’ has a bit more cover; smaller might have a canopy.  Small platform at main? – maybe, plus hay bales.
  • Space needs designing, including main bar, food stalls, routes – David Owen offered
  • Pete B has the map from google earth
  • Hawarden only food providers? – it depends
  • Discussion on waste food; eg FoodCycle – Nadia will talk with them re local hub
  • Unoccupied spec for spontaneous discussion? Or stay where you start when event ends and timetable moves on elsewhere

Volunteers to set up projects:

  • Nadia - food network
  • Colin - stalls
  • Rebecca - children/ kindling
  • Suzi - disabled access/ children
  • David and site layout, visual art on site

Other ideas:

  • Workshops generally – participatory workshops – singing, dancing,
  • Thinkshops – talking, debates, presentations (as last year)

Friday and Saturday night entertainment? How many performers do we need? – Unamplified ideas. Start 8pm instead of 6pm.

Safeguarding policy – a good idea.

<tea break>

Still to address –

  • Programme ideas still?
  • Ticketing
  • Steering etc teams
  • Ideas Initiative
  • CC Greece?


Page/ flyer with photos (James Rock), minimal details at this point.  Print run too, Can hand them out to the right people. First stab at tickets is via site shortly, so ask likely people if they are interested in the site.  Someone to oversee ticketing? (Cathryn involvement + assistant/s tbc?)

  • Other activities at the time – Sidmouth, Together, always other festivals on all dates
  • Template stewarding form – Rebecca; can mentor someone to do this?
  • Students who want to get into this – as a paid role? Local?  Glyndwr/ Wrexham – Josie will contact.
  • Internet provision? No phone signal last year – but there is a signal here.  Ask Richard T re internet?
  • Sound and archiving – Graeme Holdaway has volunteered
  • Copyright - waiver on recording – something on tickets?
  • PA for Pete… Sharon has a friend who can do virtual assistant who may be interested

Working groups:

Steering group: Pete L, Pete B, Colin, Rebecca, 

Admin team: Josie, Rebecca, Ruth, Sharon; ask Cathryn re structure / involvement

Hospitality for participants (artists, speakers) and artist liaison: Suzi to lead, Jan, Colin, Nadia

Look at how to use Beacons – Pete, Ruth.. can set up new Projects / Beacons for these working groups (see footer of these minutes). Pete , Ruth, Colin will liase

How to progress content: post in CC002.UK forum  thread if you can’t think of anywhere else, better to set up a project to propose specific event. Draft timetable is in

Brian Eno Ideas Initiative

When to launch? Sponsorship; one speech before CC?

Steering group : David, Nadia, Suzi, Colin, Rebecca, Mark, Ruth, Adrian all interested to discuss.

Promote the Eno / ideas initiative on the road

  • Leeds, Hull for Conversations on road? – Rebecca/ David have contacts in Leeds. Anyone in Hull? – Paul Darnborough working there.

Shortlist ideas and get them to do short presentation at CC002, everyone votes with their bodies.

Discussion about people wanting others not to take their ideas… warn them that’s not what this is for.

You are Entering Intellectual Commons zone – any idea expressed here can be taken up by anyone here.  Present your ideas as courageously as you dare!

CC Greece?

Big Chill reunion would be backward looking for PL though fun…. Trick would be to combine the two elements successfully as social and constructive sessions. Would need team to put together content and also admin team (at hotel?) idea for an event, around 300 people max, but could work for considerably smaller too.  Pete can look at potential venue, last week in September (still good weather then), probably Paros (via Mykonos flight / Athens at that time of year probably easiest.)  Pete will do a bit of initial work on it.  It would be a hotel – if by the beach….


Represented here: Whitby, Portsmouth, Braunston, Shipston on Stour, Milton Keynes, West Wales, Worcestershire, Northampton, Banbury, near Wellingborough, and Leamington itself

Nurse, social media, freelance event producer, water engineer, farmer, retired nurse, musician, youth worker, primary school teacher, meadow maker, asset manager, artist, music educator, retired music promoter, artist, musician



 CC002.UK Steering Group Project / Beacon   (Colin Consterdine, Ruth Wallsgrove, Pete Blunt, Rebecca Denniff, Pete Lawrence)


ADMIN TEAM : To be set up Cathryn (tbc), Ruth, Josie, Sharon, (any more offers?)

PROGRAMME TEAM :  (any more offers?)












Lou Mycroft

Really useful flavour of the day, thinking it all through, thanks x

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