Iconic Preston venue holds ‘weekender’ of live music to celebrate being saved from closure

By Charlie Fenton

25 May 2024

The Ferret in Preston is holding a ‘We Saved The Ferret Weekender’ of live music to celebrate it being saved from closure by the Music Venue Trust.

Headlining the event is Nigel Clark of Dodgy, Tony Wright of Terrorvision, and WYRES an up-and-coming indie alt band. 

It comes after the venue was saved from closure on May 10 by over 1000 donations. 

Matt Fawbert, Director & Programme Manager of the venue, speaking to NME, said: “This is a monumental moment for The Ferret.

“We’re extremely pleased to be able to say that our venue is now safe & secure for years to come. We want to thank everyone who invested & donated, but today we especially want to thank our friends at Music Venue Properties.”

“To have a landlord that is dedicated to live music and supporting grassroots music venues gives us the security & confidence to not only continue delivering great live music to the people of Preston, but also to invest even more in grassroots music and culture and create something very exciting in our city.”

READ MORE: How the new ticket levy will help up-and-coming musicians

The Ferret, which has held Ed Sheeran and IDLES, was bought by the Music Venue Trust through their ‘Own Our Venue’ scheme which aims to secure local venues a future and give grassroots musicians a place to master their craft.

The purchase was only possible through the trust being a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS), which, unlike a charity, is able to raise funds via community shares. 

This allowed for over 1,200 donations including £500,000 investment from both Arts Council England and Arts & Culture Finance, saving the venue.

Credit: The Ferret

The Ferret is holding over 30 artists across 4 days for this weekend’s celebration. The event started on Thursday 23 May, and will finish on Sunday 26. 

Artists to watch out for at the event include Heavy Salad, Country Pilots, and Bolts.

This is the second venue they have purchase, the first was The Snug in Atherton, Greater Manchester.

Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust has told NME: “This second purchase by Music Venue Properties is further demonstration that, when the music community comes together around a great idea, we can deliver real positive change to the UK’s Grassroots Music Venue sector.”

“The Ferret is the second venue removed from the commercial marketplace under the Own Our Venues scheme. It is now able to make long-term plans for its future, and the future of live music in Preston, as a result of a new cultural lease that provides it with permanently protected status. 

“We have already seen the huge difference this has made for the Snug in Atherton, and we want to see this project rolled out to many more venues across the country.”

Tickets for Saturday and Sunday can be purchased here.

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