Mad Ferret Festival is a festival organised by a bunch of ex-students that wanted to bring back to Manchester the festival spirit that they had experienced across numerous festivals in Europe whilst 'studying' for their degrees... In only its second year running the festival managed to pull some big names including: Finley Quaye, Roots Manuva, The Streets, Filthy Dukes, The Travelling Band and Kidkanevil on the main stage as well as Stanton Warriors, DJ Hype, Pendulum, Subfocus and Freestylers in the dance tents.
With a name like ĎMad For Ití the festival had a lot to live up to, however the Skiddle team were more than pleasantly surprised. The Mad Ferret Festival had everything a long running festival should have, from a good selection of dance tents to quirky huts and seating areas around the park. The organisers made sure that we had plenty to look at, from BMX shows to a mini ski slope. The park was jam packed with trendy festival goers and with the fancy artwork, bike statues and flags littered throughout; this was definitely one of the prettier smaller types of festivals.
You wouldnít have thought that this Mad Ferret was only in its second year. Entry was smooth running, there were ample staff at the entrance and the speed of the bar service was second to none. Not only this, but for £3 a pint it was definitely good value for money compared to most other festivals.
The main stage on the Friday was a little disappointing, mainly because of the better line-up in the other tents. No more than 30 people showed up to cheer along Emperor Machine; however those that did seemed to enjoy what they heard.
Gideon Conn played amazingly as per usual, however with such an early slot on the Friday it was inevitable that the crowd was not at its healthiest. Still, that didnít deter him jumping into the small crowd towards the end of the set to sing his final song.
The Metropolis tent was the place to be on the Friday night with a huge helping of Drum and Bass and more than a little dubstep thrown in... Freestylers and Prophesy set the bar high and got the crowd energised and hype for the Friday dance headliners Pendulum. Pendulum mixed it up a bit with some old school tunes from the likes of Prodigy and some newer stuff with a drum and bass twist - everyone was loving it!! So much so that at 11 pm when the music ended abruptly (blamed on people climbing up the pole in the tent) people were looking around confused and disappointed... but excited to get back on it the next day...
The weather on Saturday was glorious and meant that lots of people were chilling out on the grass for most of the day (perhaps recovering from the excesses of the day before...!) A cancelled Finley Quaye set didnít dampen the main stage as The Travelling Band put on an amazing performance.
Gentleman Dub club were perfect for the mood and their reggae performance saw some people skanking out whilst others just sat down and listened in a really relaxed atmosphere.
Roots Manuva were the most anticipated act of the festival and they certainly didn't disappoint. The atmosphere was awesome - the sun was shining and the tunes pumping - when they performed 'witness the fitness' everyone went wild, dancing jumping and singing along. The streets came on after and put on a great show but the crowd were getting a bit rowdy so we decided to re-locate to the Chew the Phat tent...
The Chew the Phat tent (formerly Metropolis on Friday) was less packed than it had been the day before, especially during the day. A definite highlight was Toddla T who absolutely smacked it with his dancehall riddims mixed in with some garage and grime tunes for a medium sized but loyal crowd. Some b-boys got so inspired they started busting their moves and it turned into a bit of dance-off which only enhanced the performance.
A1 Bassline laid the niche on a bit too thick and the tent emptied out a bit, but once we got back for Stanton Warriors it was full again and there was an incredible energy. Their set culminated the festival perfectly - they created a buzzing atmosphere that didnít die down until long after the music had finished - people were definitely mad for it at this point!
The opening times for Mad Ferret festival were unusual - from 5pm until 11pm on Friday and 12 until 11pm again on the Saturday, but it just meant that people got on it sooner and for the hard-core lot there was the possibility of still enjoying a night out in Manchester afterwards if they still had the energy!
A great festival all round, good music, friendly atmosphere and fantastic value for money (only £55 for the weekend!) - Itís sure to be even bigger and better next year.
Tickets are no longer available for this event