The Ferret is a bar located on the fringe of the student area in Preston, it has a formidable reputation for hosting live music fit for a student audience.
Many current music sensations have played a set at The Ferret in the past, such as Cabbage, Alt-J and Ed Sheeran.
The range of music organised to play at the venue is outside of genre-centred boundaries, with hip-hop and rock music alike. Experimental sounds are encouraged.
Tim Davies, former manager of the venue, now takes a smaller role in organising events for each week.
“I try to organise things early, and get in contact with people a couple of months before”, says Tim.
“Sometimes we’ve had bands which cancel weeks before they’re scheduled to play, and then it’s a huge amount of stress trying to find another group to replace them.”
Every summer, usually in July, The Ferret stages a small music festival. Called ‘Glastonferret’ (cheekily modelled after the Glastonbury Festival), the details for the coming event this year are sparse and the organising team at the bar are remaining tight-lipped.
“We have plans,” says Tim, “but we can’t say anything about it yet. My band [‘Sweet Deals on Surgery’; math-rock band in which Tim plays the drums] is performing, so there is that to look forward to.
The previous year’s Glastonferret was the 10 year anniversary of the event. As part of proceedings, it included a number of bands and artists from the north of England – The Ragamuffins, FirstnameFrank and Gideon Conn to name a few – as well as some novelty acts, such as a throwback to the 1920s with old films backed up with live piano.
“It went really well”, recalls Tim. “We pulled in more numbers than we expected and it was a fun weekend for everybody, including the people behind the bar.”
The music scene in Preston has taken a casualty in recent times, with the venue 53 Degrees closing its doors to regular weekly events.
In the student area of the city, only The Ferret and the student-focused bar Ships N’ Giggles host performances on a regular basis.
Outside of the university area there is The Continental. It is hoped that The Ferret, The Continental and its long-standing peers in performance-hosting venues will continue to carry the torch and ultimately bring the city of Preston to a ‘must-visit’ rank for musical acts, both national and international, though this ultimately comes down to the city itself and its battle to find an identity.