The Ferret is one of the most popular music venues within Preston, Lancashire, and on the third of May 2016 I was delighted to get an interview with their manager Dan Morris to get an insight on what The Ferret does and to help you get a gig at this spectacular venue. Dan used to study illustration and design, where all the posters in the venue come from his graphic design experience. He has also got a lot of experience with bands as he has been in a few since the age of 12, which lead him to be a touring musician doing a few circuits up and down England as well as a few gigs abroad. He said he has found a different path and that he likes putting the events on and giving bands a boost “it’s good fun”. As mentioned in the interview they run a festival called ‘Glaston Ferret’ and this year it is the 10th anniversary. It starts on the 8th of July to the 10th. – This interview was carried out in 2016, if you would like to find out about the events and Glaston Ferret then visit their website. The link is at the bottom of the page.
How long have you worked at The Ferret?
“I have been here two – two and a half years.”
How did you get the job?
“I used to play music here loads, and I knew one of the mangers and then one day I gave her a bag of weed and she gave me a job. And I have been here ever since.”
What events do The Ferret run? Is it just gigs?
“No we do loads of stuff. We used to do a thing called trash cinema, obviously we do gigs most nights of the week. We do quiz nights on Mondays, we do open mic nights that’s where anyone performer can come down and play anything from fire breathers to poets to guys that play the kazoo, guys that play the sitar, we have loads of variety down. We also run a festival called ‘Glaston Ferret’, which we put real grass down in the pub, real hay bails. We have two stages,30 bands over the course of three days it sells out every year, it’s brilliant.”
How much are the tickets for Glaston Ferret?
“Its £6 a day or weekend ticket for £12.”
How often do you have bands playing?
“Mondays we have quiz night and sometimes we have an acoustic act playing that, Tuesday are paid in shows like touring bands but that’s not every week, Wednesdays are open mic night, Thursdays is gig night but it varies between touring bands to paid in shows to blues nights, metal nights, rock nights to hip-hop nights which is a new one next week. This Thursday we have two Korean bands playing. Fridays and Saturdays are free entry shows so touring bands are playing but it’s free so we can get music to the masses and then Sundays it varies like Thursday. Sometimes it could be a paid in show sometimes it could be a themed show. There will be live music pretty much every night”
What do you look for in a band/is there a certain band you go for?
“Not really to be honest. I f I think people want to hear them or should hear a band I will definitely put them on. Also there are little bits will a band bring a certain amount of people in, will the punters enjoy that band, is it going to be accessible for everyone for people who don’t know about the show, will people leave when they hear it, that sort of thing. We try and put every genre on at some point in the night so we have anything from hard core screamo, goth industrial metal to light jazz on a Sunday night. So it’s wide variety of stuff we try cover every base really.”
If a band wants to play here how do they get in touch?
“If they get in contact with me or they would go through the Facebook page. Either way I will pick it up and take a listen. So it varies, sometimes I will discover new music and I will ask or they come to me and ask me if I can have a listen to and if I like it see if we can get a show together and match all the bands so there are also of different ways; you can come in, ring up, email me or you can email the pub really.”
What does your job entail?
“I manage the place, so I am general manger here but I am also a promoter, events coordinator and the graphics designer, so covers a lot of basis.”
If you could book any band for The Ferret, who would you it be and why?
“Oh god so many, I am really proud of May there are a few bands on there that I have been try to get for ages you see so Trampolene and Cabbage are two of my favourites at the moment. Catfish and the Bottlemen again would be great. We have had them on a few times but having them again would be perfect.”
From your point of view would you say its difficult to get into the music industry?
“Very difficult, bands are ten a penny theses days, there are so many different acts, different varieties as well. You gotta break into the Manchester scenes as well but I know a promoter in Manchester called Gaz who runs Night and Day café and I know for a fact that I get ‘x’ amount of emails a day and he gets triple that so if you need exposure you need to get in to these venues. We’re right at the bottom of it, so we are a grassroots venue, very much called the ‘toilet circuit’ if you an get in with us it’s a step up but then obviously you got to step up again and then again then you will get noticed by an agent or someone one will take you on and then you will get the bigger gigs. It’s incredibly difficult.”
If a band wanted a gig at The Ferret, how would they get your attention?
“If they email me and I like what I hear, some acts take you by surprise, there was a band called Arcadia recently that emailed me and I listened to about 2 or 3 songs and I was blown away, I was like yeah I definitely need to get these guys on, I then booked them, went on their Facebook page afterwards and started listening to it all then realised they were 17 year olds from Stoke. I was like what the hell I thought you guys were seasoned musicians, it was brilliant. So yeah it takes you by surprise sometimes, but the best way is to email it across and obviously we’ll take a listen.”
Do you have any advice for new artists?
”Just keep going, keep practising. You’re not going to play to 500 people at the Ritz in Manchester if you’ve not played 100 gigs to 3 people in a place like this, so keep going, don’t get disheartened, constantly writing, constantly moving, constantly asking for gigs, just keep moving, keep going forward and just never stop and don’t look back.”