Friday 5th July, 4.30pm, Main Stage
All tickets £5
Ferris Abraham Ward was born on 6th December 1964 at home in Stockport, England. Seven minutes earlier his brother, Frank Arbuthnot Ward, also made his appearance onto the world stage. To this day both brothers maintain they are not twins as they didn’t come out at exactly the same time; something which the boy’s mother, Mary Ward, was quite relieved about. However, even though the brothers were not twins, they did have a striking resemblance to each other…so much so that their father, Colin, had difficulty telling them apart. He decided in the end to call Ferris ‘Junior’ to resolve the matter. The name stuck and Ferris Ward Jr was born.
Ferris found it difficult to make friends as a child and spent most of his time listening to his father’s old recordings of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Michael Buble. Little did he know that this would form the foundations for the Ferris Ward Jr we know today.
Ferris’s performance skills were honed at school when he sang the aforementioned songs to his peers and classmates. This sometimes resulted in actual bodily harm as on many occasions he would be set upon by a mob of children with sticks. Ferris maintains that without these character-building experiences he wouldn’t be the man he is today.
Ferris left school with just one GCSE, ironically even failing music. His music teacher, Mr Bell, went down on record as saying that Ferris had one of the worst voices in the school. Obviously Ferris was a late developer. In his late teens and early twenties there were still no signs that Ferris was to become the star he is today.
At the age of 25 Ferris’ life changed. A windfall win of £95,000 on the National Lottery meant he could give up his office job to pursue his dream – a dream to sing and perform the wonderful songs which he had dined out on during his childhood years.
The early years were difficult. Ferris found that adults could also be cruel with sticks.
Ferris needed a break. This came after an afternoon of flirting with the lyrics to the mesmeric ‘Mr Bojangles’ (Mr Love Handles). Ferris realised his true calling lay in the world of comedy lyrics, of comedy parody, of comedy…comedy.
Lyric followed lyric, song followed song and before long Ferris had enough material to distract an audience away from his singing ability. Ferris could still sing the songs he loved but was now making smiles and not grimaces.
Over the next 20 years Ferris built his reputation as a premier performer in and around Stockport. In his pomp Ferris would demand as much as £40 for just one performance. His re-works of such classics Cry me a river (I don’t like Liver) and Ain’t that a kick in the head (I’m just a three out of ten) gained critical acclaim. Ferris has often been asked if he is a singer or a comedian. He always maintains he is neither. He is an entertainer – a Ferris of all trades!
In 2012 Ferris’s career hit a setback. His long-term relationship with the clubs and pubs of Stockport came to an end after Ferris was accused of turning too blue and offending audiences. Ferris decided to take drastic action and ploughed his remaining £10,000 into an attempt to conquer America. He literally had nowhere left to go in Stockport and felt that Boston, Massachusetts could be the launch pad for a whole new chapter in his career.
He was wrong. Ferris spent just over three years in America and although becoming quite well known in parts of downtown Boston his appeal didn’t quite gel with the American public.
In early 2016 Ferris decided to quit America. He returned to Stockport and to his astonishment and relief found that nobody remembered him. He started writing more family friendly lyrics culminating in ‘Feeling Confused’ (Feeling Good), his famous recycling song.
Ferris has now re-worked over seventy songs and is performing gigs wherever he can get them. Currently, he has amassed a largish fan base in Holmfirth. He is taking a more mature approach to life. He is happy and just taking life as it comes. He is looking forward to the future and whatever it brings.