A three party zone

Charlotte Gillett, 22, at Glastonferret at the Mad Ferret on Fylde Road in Preston
Charlotte Gillett, 22, at Glastonferret at the Mad Ferret on Fylde Road in Preston

It’s back and it’s bigger.

GlastonFerret, the city’s signature indoor music festival, returns for an eighth edition next month.

And the event, hosted by The Ferret pub on Fylde Road, has been extended to an extra evening.

GlastonFerret will once again be decked out in grass and hay bales to provide that authentic festival vibe.

Organiser Richard Lomax is in no doubt of the festival’s main selling-point, saying: “I still find it special to see people’s expressions when they first walk into the place and see the grass on the floor. That doesn’t go away.”

More than 20 artists are scheduled to play the event, which will be held over the weekend of July 4-6.

Welsh band KEYS headline the Friday evening, while GlastonFerret mainstays Middleman will aim to bring the house down on Saturday.

Closing out the weekend are the Manchester-based Folks, with their brand of classic rock-and-roll.

Singer Gideon Conn is described by The Ferret’s Nick Duffy as representing “a mix between folk music and hip-hop”, while Richard’s “hidden gem” is The Happy Soul on the Sunday.

Richard added: “Since Fraser Boon and I started GlastonFerret, it has long since been about creating something special.

“That is achieved every year when the people involved pull together to turf the inside of a venue and put on a weekend of wonderful music.

“We’ve had barbecues in previous years. It’s usually been run by a local band in order to make some money to fund a release of an E.P. or a single, so this will be the first time the meat hasn’t been supplied by Aldi I imagine.”

Which bands would he recommend seeing?

“This weekend is chock full of great acts. Where do you start? Gideon Conn? KEYS? Middleman? Bird To Beast? Sky Valley Mistress? Rook & The Ravens? 1.21 Gigawatts?

“My hidden gem tip would be The Happy Soul (from Manchester) playing on Sunday, July 6 at about 5pm. Great band. Great songs influenced by gospel with three-part harmonies.”

And the organisers are promising no late controversies, like the Ferret’s Somerset rival. Such as animal rights activists calling for heavy metal headliners Metallica to be pulled from the Glastonbury line-up this year, after it emerged front man James Hetfield is narrating a TV series about hunting bears in Alaska.

Hetfield is a keen marksman and member of America’s National Rifle Association – and if they are booted out of the Pilton event that has its roots in the counterculture and free festival movements, they could be offered a support slot in Preston.

Richard said: “We could probably squeeze Metallica on the bill but it’d have to be an acoustic set at about midday on the Saturday.

“I don’t think our Public Liability would cover any bears though, so they’d have to stay outside.”

The line-up

As usual the event will be held the week after Glastonbury itself: ‘Once again we’re avoiding Glastonbury weekend to avoid treading on the Family Eavis’s collective toes and stealing their crowd.”

Customers can buy a £10 weekend ticket which guarantees entry for all three nights of the festival. Alternatively, Friday tickets are £3, while Saturday and Sundays cost £6 each. The music starts at 7pm on Friday, and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Headline acts include Keys and Three Dimensional Tanx – who have featured at the festival before – on the Friday and Gideon Conn (on the Radio 1 playlist) – an artist described by a member of staff as representing a “mix between folk music and hip-hop” – on the Sunday. Other bands include Leeds regulars Middleman, Bird to Beast, who will feature at Kendal Calling, and Rook and the Ravens, fresh off the back of their US Tour, which took in locations such as Vegas, Phoenix and Chicago.

The pub will lay on a BBQ and there will also be a cider festival.

Nick Duffy, a member of staff, said: “We can guarantee that no bears will be shot near Glastonferret!”