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New Take On Music Crowdfunding From Cooking Vinyl's Pete Lawrence & Book Publisher Unbound

Pete-lawrencePete Lawrence, founder of England's Cooking Vinyl record label and The Big Chill festival, is launching another more intimate festival called Alfresco. But instead of directly crowdfunding the festival, he's releasing a book full of stories about his past and offering tickets with pledges via Unbound, a book crowdsourcing and publishing service in London. For a variety of reasons it seems likely to be a success but, so far, only 5% of their goal has been reached.

The first Alfresco music festival is billed as the "launch party for Pete Lawrence's first book 'The Big Chill and Other Alfresco Stories'". It's being held in partnership with Unbound who are bringing literary talent to the gathering.

Unbound: The Big Chill and Other Al Fresco Stories by Pete Lawrence

Alfresco takes place on June 9th weekend in Warwickshire, UK with an exact location to be announced. It's described on the book's pitch page and will be releasing only 499 tickets available via a 100 pound pledge as part of the book promotion:

"The location is a glorious natural farm setting in the Warwickshire countryside and the ethos behind the festival is to dismantle the gap between audience and performer. There will be be no publicised line-up, no VIPS, no sponsorship and no free tickets. You'll see a mix of Unbound authors, DJs and live music in the main tent and sessions around a large camp fire."

"Pete will talk about his book and do a signing session and the unbounders will tell you the story of their first twelve months in operation themselves. We've had a great year, and hope you can come to help us celebrate. The bar will serve local beer to help wash down the hog roasted by our very own John Mitchinson."

So it seems like an Unbound festival organized by Peter Lawrence with funding provided, at least in part, by ticket sales tied to the book. The Big Chill and Other Alfresco Stories can also be prepurchased as an ebook or various bundles that combine a hardback and an ebook. This fits Unbound's basic model which is to hand select the books they will crowdfund and then to produce the books themselves making them available in hardback and ebook editions.

The book features stories from Pete Lawrence's life which sounds quite interesting. It included launching Cooking Vinyl, a record label whose first big release was a bootleg recording of Michelle Shocked produced without her permission that's referenced but not identified in the pitch video. Pete Lawrence recorded it at a festival campfire on a Walkman. Lawrence released it as The Texas Campfire Tapes and it went to #1 in England.

Not surprisingly Michelle Shocked was not happy with her first release being a bootleg. In fact, the album was released at the wrong speed and titles of many of the songs are incorrect. It is now available in a more representative version with additional material.

This kind of explains the gap in information on the pitch video and in various web sources about Cooking Vinyl's involvement and origins. Lawrence is also known for The Big Chill festival which grew from an indoor event to an outdoor festival that kept growing. Along the way the festival went bankrupt, reorganized, found new partners, went bankrupt again, was sold and then reorganized.

In the States The Bill Chill's claim to fame may well be the Kanye West appearance in 2011 in which he was booed and started in on a rant which included the claim that people looked at him like he was Hitler.

Apparently these incidents won't be the focus of the book which should be a good read. Unbound does ship internationally so I assume we can get copies in the U.S. and the ebook should be available one way or another. The whole project sounds like an excellent experiment.

Next up for Pete Lawrence will be the launch of a social network called Pic-Nic Village.

More: Interview with Pete Lawrence

Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs about dance at All World Dance. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.