Pete Lawrence

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Pete Lawrence
Pete Lawrence in 2008.
Background information
Born (1957-10-29) 29 October 1957 (age 58)
Origin Leamington Spa, England
Genres Ambient
Occupation(s) DJ, event organiser, musician, music programmer
Years active 1986 – present
Labels Big Chill Recordings
Cooking Vinyl

Pete Lawrence is a conceptualist, recording artist, DJ, event organiser, music programmer writer and broadcaster based in the UK.


Lawrence created the concept for The Big Chill in February 1994,[1] originally as a new type of Sunday multimedia club. Then, with his partner at the time, Katrina Larkin, he put together an event at which people were able to network and enjoy an experimental, audio-visual environment, as part of a multi-faceted eight-hour event. It was the first London club to have its own website and to offer free internet access and was initially noted for its ambient and downtempo soundtrack, contributing to the development of the chill out’ boom at the turn of the Millennium.

This “festival in a club” concept adapted relatively easily to an outdoors setting and in 1995 Pete Lawrence and Katrina Larkin staged the prototype Big Chill Festival, paying great attention to detail, choice of idyllic rural locations, and nurturing of a loyal online community, all of which created the blueprint for an annual event that went beyond being a straightforward festival and which helped to change the nature of UK festivals, spawning imitators that had varying degrees of success.

While building Big Chill to a capacity of 35,000 by 2007, Lawrence gave exposure to such relative unknowns as Lily Allen, Goldfrapp, Amy Winehouse, Gotan Project, Mr. Scruff, Röyksopp, Zero 7 and Lemon Jelly, in the process establishing The Big Chill as one of the top UK festivals. He was also instrumental in taking The Big Chill concept to several locations worldwide, including Egypt, Hungary, Finland, Italy, France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand,most of these in collaboration with The British Council. Latterly, he masterminded a three thousand capacity, two-day festival in Goa, India in April 2007.[1]

Lawrence was also involved in The Big Chill's expansion into opening London venues. The Big Chill Bar in Brick Lane, was followed in autumn 2006 with the three story Big Chill House in Kings Cross. He has also produced many mix albums that attempted to capture the essence of The Big Chill sound, for his own and other labels, as well as releasing his own recording project Chilled By Nature, a realisation of an ongoing musical vision that had been distilling since the mid 90s.

Pete Lawrence describes his work Chilled By Nature as “spiritual music, that celebrates being alive on earth, with all its beauties and imperfections, joys and personal travelogue - an attempt to capture the bigger picture and through it, to reflect my experiences and emotions.”

Through Chilled by Nature's EPs, one-off tracks and collaborations, live performances at The Big Chill festival, and the debut album Under One Sun, which also includes guests The Swingle Singers, members of The Bays and the track 'State of Grace' co-written with Mozez of Zero 7 fame, Lawrence has combined combines a diversity of influences, most notably folk, classical, jazz, electronic, ambient and lounge, to produce cinematic music, perhaps best described as a new kind of electronic chamber music.

Lawrence became a respected musical tastemaker when he discovered and recorded US folk singer Michelle Shocked on a walkman around a Texas campfire back in the mid 80s, for his fledgling Cooking Vinyl label. The album ‘The Texas Campfire Tapes’ went on to top the independent album charts, sell over 250, 000 copies and establish the label at the forefront of the world and roots music scenes. Subsequently, Pete Lawrence also became a writer, radio DJ and journalist of some renown. Through the 90s he had regular columns in Top, Update and Jockey Slut as well as founding, editing and publishing his own "On" magazine. His most recent writing featured in his first publisher book as co-editor ‘Crossfade - a Big Chill Anthology’ (Serpents Tail).

In December 2007, Pete Lawrence and Katrina Larkin were voted into Time Out’s Top 100 ‘movers and shakers’ with notable people such as Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay, Madonna, Philip Green, Brian Paddick, Ken Livingstone and Tony Blair.[2]

Lawrence stood down as a Director and Shareholder of Chillfest (The Big Chill) on 06/02/2008.[3]


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