Support The Ferret, This Place Matters

by The Continental & Ferret Fundraiser for Ukraine in Preston, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 17th November 2020 we successfully raised £9,686 with 327 supporters in 240 days

The Ferret occupies a unique niche in Preston's grassroots live music scene supporting emerging musician and artists. Please help to save it

by The Continental & Ferret Fundraiser for Ukraine in Preston, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Provide employment for artists, who's work has dried up during this current pandemic.

Replace outdated and  unreliable sound technical equipment

History of The (MAD) Ferret...

The Ferret is a small independent music venue and bar situated next to the Univeristy of Central Lancashire (UCLan) campus on the outskirts of Preston city centre. It has a 200 standing capacity, 100 seated. It was established in 2006 as The Mad Ferret and the lease taken over by present owners the Rowlands family in 2014 to save it from closure.  The Ferret was refurbished in 2104 at a cost of £70k using savings and begged and borrowed money from family and banks turning it from a rundown dingy place into a bright modern themed space.  

I took over as manager in 2014 and we developed a strong brand supporting local young musicians starting out and attracting emerging touring artists. It's primary purpose was set out to support and showcase new exciting talent in the alternative music scene, as well as performance art and spoken word, and experimental sound and art.

What we are About

The Ferret has always been unique to Preston's music scene in its focus on showcasing young and up and coming talent which often only finds an audience in the bigger cities of Manchester and Liverpool. It's Facebook page and website highlights the diverse events at The Ferret, many of which are free to attend. Preston has a number of pubs hosting local rock bands and cover bands but The Ferret occupies a unique niche.

The central programme of The Ferret has always been to offer young talent a place to develop their music on a stage with professional PA, lighting and a talented sound engineer, to a responsive audience. It programmes the whole range of music from Hip Hop, Indie to Blues and Jazz and so on. The audience experience is central, and The Ferret has almost 12,000 Likes on its Facebook page which confirms how much it punches above its weight.

 What we Do 

The Ferret hosts upwards of 200 shows a year the majority of which are free entry. Examples of artists who got exposure at The Ferret early in their careers would be 

Ed Sheeran;  Blossoms;  She Drew The Gun;  Red Rum Club;  The Orielles;   Royal Blood;   Wheatus;   Lovely Eggs;  Ginger Wildheart;  Rae Morris;  The Blinders;  Bo Ningen;  Catfish;  Idles ; Working Mens Club;   Jeffrey Lewis;  Evil Blizzard amongst many.1584693963_10258156_10152393424806484_6167045230829319073_o.jpg

The Ferret also works closely with The University and Arts groups hosting events during the annual UCLan Improvised Jazz and Music Festival. It is currently working with arts promoter Garry Cook to host performance and spoken-word events monthly. The Ferret is also a venue for the annual Preston Arts Festival. 

UCLan music students showcase their bands at The Ferret termly. The Ferret also works closely with the graphics arts dept at the University and offers wall space to students and hosts social events for the graphics and music department. The Ferret also supports arts graduates with photography and music tech students using the space.

The Ferret hosts regular events such as quiz nights and open mic nights supported by students and many local musicians who like to take advantage of the professional set up to develop their talents in front of a live audience. Recently it introduced an open decks night for would be talent in this field to book a residency spot, which is proving very popular. The Ferret talent spots through these events and offers support slots to promising young performers.

The venue supports young local musicians starting out, hosting Last Band Standing competitions offering substantial prizes to the winners including recording time and headlining spots.

Glastonferret is an annual three-day music and performance festival during which the venue is cloaked in real turf and straw bales. This legendary Preston event sells out each year. Glaston Ferret - Robin Hill Photography

The Ferret offers space to recycled clothes markets and a regular Cuba charity evening raising money for Cuban musicians and medical charity. It also hosts charity events throughout the year

The audience frequently refer to themselves as the Ferret Family. The staff team are passionate about music and work really hard to make the audience and artists feel at home. Despite the limitations of the venue we have developed a strong and positive reputation among touring bands and their agents for the hospitality and organisation.

Current situation

Like most small music venues, The Ferret struggles to make any profit. Grassroots music venues are the lifeblood of the music industry, it is not an exaggeration to say without them there would be no music industry. They need lots of dedicated nurturing. The Ferret has never been run for profit but operates more like a charity no-one on its board takes any money or dividends from the venue. It is a labour of love borne out of a passion for live music.

Since the initial refurb it has been difficult to find any money to upgrade. The sound engineer Tom Lawton has struggled along with outdated and inadequate equipment. For the past two or three years The Ferret has had a lot more nightlife competition as has the live music scene in general.

My Role (Danny Morris)

Despite leaving The Ferret to go full time into promotion, I remained a loyal and regular customer. A new team was put together almost a year ago to do some refinancing and re-organisation of the venue to bring it back to its former glory days. I offered my contacts and experience as a national promoter and together we have gradually re-vitalised the programme of events. The path has not been smooth as at the same time UCLan commenced its ambitious Adelphi project entailing extensive road closures around The Ferret coupled with the wettest February on record. However the programme we had planned for 2020 was the most ambitious and exciting yet with names like Louis Berry, Mark Morris, Nigel Clark and others. Its future was starting to look bright and we had great hopes it could be stabilised financially.

Then the coronavirus hit and everything has been put on hold. Besides threatening the already fragile future of the venue it is hard to see all the musicians, artists, photographers and musicians we offer support to locally, struggling as their work disappeared overnight along with the loyal staff on the team.

What we want to achieve

The Ferret adds so much to the city's arts and culture scene, its loss would be a tragedy to the Community that love it. We really need to be able to support our sound techs, retain our staff and promoters and keep The Ferret operational even if only at the media level when the inevitable happens and we close our doors, so that we can ensure we rebound from this with a functioning venue and a dynamic programme.

We intend to use some of the funds raised to replace some of our substandard and outdated sound equipment, sponsor 2 artists to do some work at the Ferret and upgrade the outside lighting and signage plus pay the rent!

The worst thing for us having worked so hard over the last 12 months would be for the Ferret to decline and be unable to reopen. We welcome the government's help but it is not enough as the future time scales are so uncertain. We need The Ferret to stick around and will do everything we can to try and ensure this, but we cant do it alone and need help. We promise to try to match any money raised in order to provide an even better resource for Preston.


All you Ferret supporters, our CF end date is 9th May at noon, you’ve all been incredibly generous, fantastic response, quite unexpected and moving but we need to explain that we are having to stretch our target a little and extend deadline in order for us to join the national effort being run by the Music Venue Trust.

To explain The Music Venue Trust have just started a National Crowdfunder campaign. There’ s lots of publicity around it to get the big boys in the industry involved, record companies, agents, bands, politicians, press etc.

We found out last week we wern’t  involved  in this national effort  as our own Crowdfunder which  we got off the ground  in mid March was almost at an end so couldn’t link to theirs

 There is a map on their link #saveourvenues, which if you click on it gives a map of venues at risk. The Ferret WAS on earlier in April but not anymore as you need to be linked to their Crowdfunder campaign. We’ve worked with the Music Venue Trust and CF staff to ensure once our Crowdfunder is extended and aligned with their campaign we’ ll be back on the map.

 Their Campaign works like this, once a venue hits their target the rest goes into a pot for those that haven’t reached  theirs  or,  those  that need immediate help from the Crisis fund, which is being built up at the same time to ensure NO venue closes because it can’t pay its bills.

As you can appreciate we need to be part of this otherwise it looks as though we are home and dry and as the opening date of music venues is likely to be the last on the list, we are certainly not at that point. Even if we don’t raise much more cash (we are only increasing our target back to 10k) the main aim is to be in the national support group. We don’t want decision makers clicking on the link and not finding The Ferret. The Scottish Government have pledged some special help for Music Venues to be given to Local authorities thanks to the lobbying of the quite amazing Music Venue Trust, may happen here, who knows. We also want to help the national campaign and not seem like we are ignoring it.

Our initial fund will be paid by CF next week so your rewards will be sorted out.

One thing the national campaign is keen to do is get artists doing a live stream show for donations. Hence the She Drew The Gun stream you may have already seen on Ferret page  .We’ve had The Templebys, Ivan Campo, Whinge ,Nigel Clark (Dodgy) and Gary Taylor (on Sunday) supporting us already, with Evil Blizz in November in a real live show ! so anyone who wants to perform get in touch.

We ask project owners to honour their rewards wherever possible but please note that all pledges are donations and there is no guarantee that you will receive any rewards from the project owner. Please see our Terms of Use for more information regarding rewards for pledges.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£20 or more

Save Our Venues T-Shirt

Support our venue and the Save Our Venues campaign with a high quality 4 color print Gildan black shirt featuring the official Save Our Venues logo • Available in five sizes • Price includes delivery •Delivery can take up to 21 days, The Ferret will also throw in a voucher for £5 free drinks

£10 or more

0 of 10 claimed

Draw for Sherlocks autographed poster and lighter

Pledge £10 or more and select this reward to go into a draw for these fan items , winner to be drawn from first 10 pledges who select this reward

£10 or more

44 of 44 claimed

Ferret t-shirt

Pledge £10 and receive a Ferret t-shirt.

£10 or more

20 of 20 claimed

free entrance for 2 to Blinders sold out gig

next 20 people to pledge £10 or more will be entered into a draw for 2 tickets to sold out Blinders gig in September at The Ferret, No other reward allowed with this but you have a 1 in 20 chance of winning

£10 or more

16 of 16 claimed

weekend tickets for Glastonferret

2 Weekend GlastonFerret tickets per £10 pledged

£10 or more

20 of 20 claimed

Draw for 2 tickets to Evil Blizzard

Next 20 people who donate £10 or more will be entered in draw for 2 tx to sold out Evil Blizzard . 1 in 20 chance of winning . You must select this when you donate

£10 or more

5 of 5 claimed

LEFT T Shirt

Check out Ferret page for photo and details of these cool T Shirts for you LEFT fans

£20 or more

20 of 20 claimed

Free gig tickets

Free tickets to any of our ticketed shows to the total of £40

£20 or more

33 of 33 claimed

Craft Beer Delivery

Whilst self isolating get a beer delivery worth £30 to your door.

£30 or more

14 of 14 claimed

Gift Voucher for The Continental

Get £40 worth of vouchers for the cost of £30 which can be redeemed on food, drink or shows.

£30 or more

11 of 11 claimed

2 course meal for 2 plus bottle of wine

2 course meal for 2 plus a bottle of house wine at The Plungington mains plus a starter or dessert

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