I'm hosting a Jake Blount gig in Wales

We're very happy to confirm that we've bagged one of just a handful of UK dates on the forthcoming Jake Blount UK tour and he will be coming to Monmouth with his Trio to play for us on Sunday July 2nd.

Jake Blount is one of the most important new voices to emerge on the American roots music scene in recent years. A talented multi-instrumentalist and powerful, soulful singer, Jake is also a specialist in the early folk music of Black Americans. His work shines a light on the major contributions that Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ artists have made to American folk traditions, which have often been overlooked. Based in Rhode Island, Jake won the 2020 Steve Martin Banjo Prize and was nominated for Artist of the Year at the 2023 International Folk Music Awards. He has studied with roots music luminaries including Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins, and has a BA in ethnomusicology from Hamilton College. 

Jake received considerable acclaim for his 2020 debut album Spider Tales and the 2022 follow-up, The New Faith, was released as part of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings’ African-American Legacy Series. Described as “Black folk music from the future”, The New Faith has received glowing reviews from Rolling Stone, The Guardian and many more. It sees Jake exploring new sounds and tones, incorporating electric guitar and percussion alongside banjo and fiddle. 

Conceived, written and recorded during the darkest months of Covid lockdowns, it imagines what Black music might sound like in a not-so-distant future world devastated by climate change, and is centred around radical new arrangements of traditional songs, including Black spirituals and Blues. Jake is a sensational and mesmerising live performer, and will present these summer 2023 UK dates in a trio format, also featuring renowned Wabanaki (First Nations) musician and activist Mali Obomsawin and gifted multi-instrumentalist Gus Tritsch.

Monmouth is my new home - the Uk base for my shepherds hut and camper van. The venues on the farm where I am living weren't available for the date offered by we're very happy to get the green light from nearby Dingestow Village Hall. Look out for gigs to come at Trealy Farm

Tickets are available from https://tinyurl.com/jakeblountwales

We're about to confirm a bar for the evening serving local ales and ciders, wines and softs.


Campout 2023

You are warmly invited to  join us at a new site in the Oxfordshire countryside for this year's Campout in August. We are offering a rare opportunity to put our phones away, immerse ourselves in nature and share our ideas, skills, music, stories, food and outdoor activities. 

Every conversation can make a difference and this is a great chance to connect. More than ever, we need new models for living in a radically changing world. We have a unique opportunity to build resilient community from the grass roots with potential to transform humanity and evolve our world. 

This is a gathering where we bring our own creativity and unique gifts to co-create a courageous and open community space where magic can occur.  We invite you to join us in the English countryside for four days of co-creation, inspiration and celebration.  

Ticket link / info: https://www.campout.live/

Spring equinox and remembering love

Campfire's World Harmony initiative launched in 2020 during lockdown around community connection and universal wisdom with a beautiful visual representation of Beacons, both traditional and futuristic, using drone programming and XF. 

We may not all be able to light a Beacon but we can appreciate the symbolism. This is technology for good. 

Solstices and Equinoxes as key parts of nature's cycles are great opportunities for personal and social change. 

The track features a remix of 'Love Is The Anwer' by the Campfire Circle Singers including Mozez, Neil Cowley, Matt Coldrick and three choirs plus a reading from 'Desiderata' by Pip The Poet. 

The remix and original versions of the track were produced by myself for Campfire Convention 

The video was produced by John Hopkins @ Celestial 

#worldharmony #loveistheanswer

and the original 'Love Is The Answer' with vocal by Mozez

Politics? We're now fighting in a different dimension

It's been a week or two of of 'lightbulb moments'. Amongst other things, Charles Eisenstein's take on whether or not it's time for an Amnesty in relation to what happened around Covid, parliament finally getting nudged into debating Covid effects relating to vaccines (even if it takes a 'scoundrel' like Sir Christopher Chope to be a somewhat unlikely cheerleader ringing the alarm bells) and for me, the outstanding moment, listening to Simon Elmer reframing what's going on in the world, in relation to the new 'battles' we have on our hands in a fascinating interview on James Deligpole's podcast, as posted on this network by Ebi Diete-Spiff this week. 

In essence, the old politics is being superseded by a different 'dimension' of struggle. I quoted Elmer from the podcast on Thursday's Zoom too when he outlined this"

"Our politics is so compromised now. Nobody believes in it as a forum or a medium for change. But our resistance to digital ID and everything that is going to come from that comes from a different source of resistance.

If we can resist in that dimension, that is our greatest chance for change. Parliamentary politics has been too compromised. We need a complete change.  We can still fight at this level of culture, education, propaganda, ideology, of ideas."

What he's confirming for me is that party politics is rendered obsolete (which is the starting point for our Trailblazers movement)  We are now moving into vital ideological fights against corporatism, globalism, the march of technocracies to control us, WHO, CBDC, WEF, law makers who are rapidly amassing the power to override governmental policy etc etc. All the dark stuff Elmer brings into focus.

It feels like a waste of time to play party politics as currently we've moved into what feels like a one party state anyway (Labour are just a different shade of conservatism). A definition as black and white as 'good vs evil' would certainly come down to individual value judgement but it's clear that those who are wise to what is going on at a higher level would argue that a different 'battle' has come into sharp focus.

This 'battle' is outlined by Elmer and can defined as follows (taken from one commentator's review of Elmer's new book 'The Road To Fascism'):

"The book takes us to the shift in crisis from Covid-19 to Ukraine, and now a new prime minister has been selected by the globalists. As boasted by its leader Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum is infiltrating governments to ensure the Great Reset. Our parliament has become WEFminster, inflicting the global biosecurity state on citizens who naively believed – and many continue to believe – it is serving the nation.  

We are in a battle of biblical poignancy against a dystopian technocracy that will dehumanise us and determine whether we live or die. If you think that far-fetched, you should read Elmer to understand the predicament for humanity. Awareness is the precursor to resistance.”

I've just ordered Elmer's book and I'd recommend it based on what I hear on the podcast.

Simon's introduction to the book:

With the lifting of the thousands of regulations by which our lives were ruled for two long years there has been an understandable desire to believe that the coronavirus ‘crisis’ is over and we will return to something like an albeit new normal. But as new crises have sprung up to take its place — war in the Ukraine, the so-called ‘cost of living crisis’ and the return of the environmental crisis — it’s increasingly difficult not to look back on ‘lockdown’ as the first campaign in a war that has not been declared by any government but is no less real for that.

The willingness of our governments to use the forces of the state against their own populations on the justification of protecting us from ourselves signals a new level of authoritarianism — and something like the return of fascism — to the governmental, juridical and cultural forms of the formerly neoliberal democracies of the West, and one of the aims of this book is to examine the validity of this thesis. Its purpose in doing so, however, is not to contribute to an academic debate about the meaning of the term ‘fascism’, but rather to interrogate how and why the general and widespread moral collapse in the West over the past two-and-a-half years has been effected with such rapidity and ease, and to examine to what ends that collapse is being used.

The more deliberate is the immiseration of the populations of Western democracies, the clearer it becomes that the war started by COVID-19 is not between nation states but a civil war waged against our institutions of democratic governance and the division of powers between executive, legislature and judiciary. Insofar as these institutions and this division are being dismantled and replaced by the rule of international technocracies that, under the cloak of the ‘pandemic’, have assumed increasing power over our lives since March 2020, this war represents a revolution in Western capitalism from the neoliberalism under which we have lived for the past forty years. Where it is heading with ever greater speed and finality, and which The Road to Fascism sets out to demonstrate, is the new totalitarianism of the Global Biosecurity State. 

Blog post originally published on Campfire Network 13.11.22 https://campfireconvention.network/posts/politics-were-now-fighting-in-a-different-dimension

Where Is Campfire at now?

Keeping and nurturing self-love for our visions

The Campfire story is very relevant to what I have been talking about in the previous blog (here, I have edited a single blog down to two separately). 

I have felt a strong sense of personal calling for the last decade or more towards a combination of building an independent social network online and in parallel putting on events (part from the lockdown months). This calling presented itself out of a vision for possibilities that my previous project The Big Chill opened up, described by some as ‘a glimpse into a utopian world’. How people acted towards each other was revelatory, like they’d been offered a long weekend get-out from what some described to me as their commercial, often humdrum, consumerist, advertising, media-led, living-for-the weekend merry go round and plonked into a totally different environment, in rural idyll for sure, but also one where people behaved differently to others. There was awareness rather than blindness / fear, there was openness, there was a sense that the world could different and much better. The fact that we know of at least 40 marriages that came out of Big Chill connections (we also had a thriving social network engagement) still makes my spine tingle. Changing lives (for the better) is a powerful incentive towards enable people to meet in a sacred space.

Against that backdrop, I felt very inspired to build on that sense of community, but to bring a sense of purpose centre stage which to me ten years ago, seemed more resonant now as many people started to look beyond hedonism into something a little deeper. This first required a leap of faith for me as it was a major commitment of my time and limited financial resources - and then great fortitude and resilience as and when I encountered obstacles. Building the architecture to underpin a social network isn’t easy and despite attempts to find funding in the early stages, it didn’t happen so, having already embarked on a commitment in my own heart, I resolved to put in my limited life savings, amounting to many thousands of pounds. 

So has it been worth it? Time will tell, but I have no doubt that without taking the sort of leap of faith Paula Moss talks about (above), I’d probably be doing something much more unsatisfying and I would feel unfulfilled. Just seeing the way people respond and bonded at our most recent events has given me inspiration way beyond any financial considerations. That investment has paid back in dividends in terms of human emotion and human connection.

That’s not to say that we don’t need a funding solution immediately. Campfire is still a tiny business as it has virtually no income. Nearly everyone on our new Mighty Network site has opted for free membership and only yesterday, as I was giving a new member a private Zoom walk-through I heard those words again “I will not pay for social media”. I could get into a long rant about this and have done in the past. It’s all part of changing the ‘what’s in it for me?’ mindset to ‘Imagine what we might build together that’s fantastic”.  

To make that leap people just need to realise this isn’t about the old model of profit and exploitation. I have never taken a penny out of Campfire personally (and I know i’m lucky and privileged to have what is left of the savings I acquired when I had to exit The Big Chill). I know how many thousands I have put in, and I also know that I’ve learned a lot - and furthered my understanding of the vital importance of community and the role it plays at the central hub of this life. 

The idea mooted by many is to return to the micro payments of our Mk1 site. We didn’t have many thousands joining but there was a steady flow at £1.66 a month (£20 a year). Those who had chosen to join felt more commitment as it was more than another free service. I had a strong feeling now that if those who had joined Campfire in the first six months of our Mighty Network era had put in a couple of pounds a month, they’d have been much more inclined to be active and to be part of building community discussions and interaction. 

Where is Campfire now? 

In the interests of transparency, I am happy to share Campfire’s latest accounts for 2021, a year in which we were building and trialing our own site (pre Mighty Networks) so had little revenue from either membership gifts or events (Covid meant cancellations of all events the previous year too).  In short, our turnover was £3,317, costs came in at £12, 067, showing a loss of £8, 873, which was underwritten by myself. Total assets less current liabilities (my directors loan) comes in at a negative figure of £79, 736. 

If anyone reading this feels moved towards donating via our ’Support Us’ red button on the Campfire site or this Donorbox link,  (Mighty Networks make it mighty difficult to transfer a membership from ‘free’ to ‘paid’) we’d love to hear from you. 

Since our launch earlier this year, our appeals have led to five people contributing £275 so far. If we could get just 100 people donating £50 a year, we’d get pretty close to covering our server, network and radio expenses. Events are something totally separate. This year’s Campout made a small surplus, FYI (not quite as much as the first step donation target would make. 

Let’s see what we can build together. If anyone would like to volunteer, please get in touch. We need an accountant, an events manager and at least a couple of people to help as ‘guiding lights’ would be wonderful, so decisions can be made by finding consensus in a small group. And, without putting too fine a point pin it, we need around 1000 people either taking a paid membership level or donating. 

At the moment there is strong sense of reckoning. Something is building and many can feel it. Campfire feels like it needs to be part of this shift as a community. It’s partly awakening, born of more self development, meditation, partly a visceral reaction to the way we’ve been ‘governed’ in the last few years, though the seeds were sown long ago. Initiatives such as Julene Siddique’s ’Systemic Social Change’ (due to launch Campfire’s Courses & Learning early next year) are vital to this as her diligence and guidance is offering a platform for us to all come together not only to recognise and call out the ‘pressure points’ in the existing systems, but to work together to find hands-on practical solutions, new ways, new frameworks, entities and language that we use as markers as we start to work towards a new system of distributed leadership. 

This post was taken from the middle section of a blog post I originally made on Campfire Network 06.10.22  https://campfireconvention.network/posts/how-can-we-be-the-change-we-wish-to-see