Since the beginning of term with Covid restrictions lifted, UCLan students have teamed up with Preston’s very own ‘School of Rock’ to plan, run and perform in free monthly shows.
And on Tuesday, December 14, the group of talented final year students have organised a free Christmas show, open to all, which as well as featuring an open mic slot and student performances, also includes special headline act the Pancake Steel Band, a popular five-piece from Darwen.
Ivana Douglas, a third-year music production and performance student is one of the show’s key coordinators.
The 26-year-old is no stranger to organising events having worked at the Grand in Clitheroe before enrolling at UCLan. “We’ve already hosted a couple of shows at The Ferret and the atmosphere has been incredible. Any student or member of the public can take part in our open mic session but from 8pm onwards music and performance students take centre stage followed by our headline act.
“After the Covid lockdown, The Ferret has given us a valuable opportunity to perform to a live audience which is something you can’t beat.”
UCLan’s Simon Partridge, Senior Lecturer in Music, added: “Since coming back to campus this year we have developed a reciprocal partnership with The Ferret in order to give music students the chance to perform in a public venue and catch up on some of the experiences they’ve missed. We’re also keen to support a key grassroots setting which has been part of Preston’s cultural life for many years.”
Third-year music and performance student Charlotte Smith said: “It’s been a slightly surreal experience playing and singing inside a packed venue again but nevertheless a really enjoyable one. Although I’ll be looking for career opportunities within the recording and production side of the music industry, the experiences we’re all gaining at The Ferret have been invaluable.”
Matt Fawbert, manager at The Ferret, said: “It’s been great to partner with the UCLan students on this initiative. There is some real energy, talent and creative drive in the group and I’m sure this experience will help in their quest to forge careers in the music industry.
“We’re all looking forward to the performances on December 14, it’s free to attend and open to all.”
The December 14 show, billed as an early Christmas party, starts at 7pm for the casual open mic acts, at 8pm performance students will take to the stage, with the Pancake Steel Band appearing at approximately 9.30pm.