This weekend I saw six bands take to the GlastonFerret stage, an indoor music festival which even gave Glastonbury a run for its money.
The GlastonFerret stage
GlastonFerret, an event which has been running for over five years, is the must-go-to festival if you are in the Lancashire area. From great music such as up and coming Rae Morris, a very talented musician who can charm you with her delicate piano playing, to care-free band Baboon, who lit up the stage with their rapport and humorous lyrics – oh, and not forgetting their attire (masks which rival Slipknot’s!)
The festival kicked off with an acoustic ‘intro’ from melodic Mobius Loop, Leyland’s finest Bill Orrick and one quarter of power pop band, Moral Panic’s Tom Metcalfe. This set the standard of what talent was to grace the Mad Ferret stage.
First on was five-piece Mobius Loop, a Preston-based band who is reminiscent of The Kooks. Their two song set was played purely acoustically, which is refreshing for a music hub which is normally a beacon for indie and alternative bands. One of their songs, ‘Hollow Lonely’, sounded like a country western dream with the sweet harmonies and catchy riffs. These folky chaps were so good, the audience wanted an encore, which they truly delivered by performing a Bob Marley cover. What a great opening to GlastonFerret!
One thing which gave GlastonFerret its ‘edge’ over other indoor festivals was the freshly laid grass which covered the pub’s floor. This, especially with the rain outside (typical Preston weather), was the cherry on the cake for a top-notch musical weekender.
Bill Orrick was another scrumptious layer to the GlastonFerret treat, with his acoustic guitar in tow. The e-learning technologist has a soulful voice, and in some aspects of his set, sounded like the late Jeff Buckley. Orrick commanded the attention of the room with ‘Our Own Little Place’ however, despite his powerful voice, there was little eye contact and interaction with the audience. Nerves were probably a factor there. For his penultimate song, the dark-haired Lancashiran collaborated with Alex and Dave from Mobius Loop for an acoustic cover of a Jefferson Starship song. A cover which gave the band justice. After hearing Orrick’s set, it is safe to say this guy will go far.
Amidst the smell of freshly cooked burgers, the atmosphere in the Mad Ferret was amazing – it’s no wonder why the venue was shortlisted for NME’s ‘Britain’s Best Small Venue.’
Next to take to the stage was Newspaper Joe, a Manc whose voice sounded oh-so-similar to the frontman of the Arctic Monkeys, Alex Turner. His ‘indie-folk’ ensemble and interaction with the audience was one of the festival’s highlights. Similar to Orrick, his acoustic guitar was oozing tantalizing riffs which mashed well with his meaningful lyrics. ‘How I Won The War’, a song dedicated to his friend ‘Milky’, was sung with conviction and was the most memorable tune of his set.
It wasn’t long before the capacity in the Mad Ferret was overflowing, from children to middle-aged men, it was clear that GlastonFerret catered for everyone of all ages and their music tastes.
Preston natives Boy Genius lit up the intimate stage with their up-tempo tunes and thunderous drumming. The three-piece concocted a set where the music was so fast and powerful that you could have head-banged your heart out. The band introduced a new song ‘Punk Power’ which didn’t fail to please. Overall, it was a good performance despite few technical hitches at the start of their set. I suggest you check out their recently released E.P entitled ‘El Champione’ here.
Even though the festival was more or less a ‘casual day in the pub’, attendees made their mark in the fashion stakes. The girls were sporting floral midi skirts with blouses or crochet jumpers tucked in whereas the men were more blasé, with checked shirts and skinny jeans being the front-runner for most outfits. Wellies were the must-have shoe (well, it is a ‘festival’!), and were shown off by eccentric band, Baboon.
Driver Drive Faster, a four-piece rock/indie band were the penultimate group I saw at GlastonFerret. The band has recently released their debut album, ‘Open House’ only last week on Akoustik Anarkhy records and based on their Mad Ferret performance, I suggest you buy it. ‘Open House’ was by far their best song with slow, sluggish riffs which enticed you to sway your head at and was a great addition to their set list.
One thing that I loved about bands like Driver Drive Faster and their GlastonFerret predecessors was that there was no need to ‘jump’ up and down on stage and causing a raucous like most generic indie/rock bands do. The acts relied on their music and rapport alone which made the festival more enjoyable in my eyes, leading me to comedic band, Baboon.
Baboon was a treat to watch with their care-free dancing and humorous lyrics. The unsigned rock band had great stage presence and an unlimited amount of interaction with the audience. The contrast between the lead singer and the backing singer’s voices was amazing. Most notable songs were ‘Reprisals’ a “mysterious and threatening” song and ‘Blood Sugar Level’, a track which was sci-fi mixed with rock, an unusual combination which seemed to work well for the five-piece.
Above-all, GlastonFerret was one of my favourite festivals that I have been to, the intimate and ‘outdoorsy’ setting was a perfect match and the music was priceless. For £8 it was well worth it, and I will definitely be going next year.
[ALL IMAGES/VIDEOS WERE TAKEN BY ME]