It’s the end of an era at Preston’s top music pub.
Landlord Frazer Boon, the man who founded the Mad Ferret, who turned a standard pub on Fylde Road just across from the university into one of the city’s best music venues, is stepping down after seven and a half years.
In those seven years, he’s welcomed hundreds of bands to play on his stage, both local and from further afield.
Even huge star Ed Sheeran has graced the Ferret stage. In an inspired piece of booking, they snapped him up to play a show just before his debut hit, The A Team, went in at Number Five in the UK charts.
By the time the gig went ahead, Sheeran was a huge star - and he even created headlines on the day of his visit by tweeting an offer to play a live gig in a fan’s front room in return for a shower and a cup of tea!
The pub will be celebrating his final night this Saturday with a very special edition of their Antics clubnight, featuring a live performance from Winchester band Wild Smiles.
Frazer first arrived in 2005, when the pub was called Times Square. Although he wanted to put on live bands, it was a year before he changed the name and began making major changes.
He says: “I knew that I was going to put live music on but I didn’t think I would turn it fully into a live music venue. It just evolved that way.
“It was just so successful when we put bands on that it just grew.”
In 2006, as the students arrived back, he refurbished the pub - and changed the name.
The Mad Ferret name was chosen as a tribute to Oasis and the Manchester bands that Frazer loved.
He says: “We had a few names in mind but that one seemed to fit.”
The Ed Sheeran gig was possibly the craziest moment - even One Direction’s Harry Styles showed up in the audience that night. Frazer recalls: “That was just sheer luck - we just got in at the right time.
“Then, 12 months later, I was watching TV - and he’s playing the Olympics opening ceremony! It was ridiculous!”
Another of his proudest memories will be the success of their yearly festival in a pub, Glastonferret. Now in its seventh year, the two day gig sees the entire pub turfed out in a unique style.
Frazer says: “Glastonferret has always been very big on the agenda. People just get so into the atmosphere and it really is a proper festival vibe - in a pub!”
He is staying in the trade, working for the Spirit Pub Company, and said: “It’s just time for a change. It will be good for both the venue and for me. Let someone else come in with fresh ideas.”
Antics clubnight with Wild Smiles runs from 8pm to 3pm. Entry is £3.