Peter Hooton, founder of Liverpool band The Farm, was today made an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy at Edge Hill University.
Peter has had a relationship with the University for some years, and during the graduation ceremony joked that relations had improved since The Farm were temporarily banned from the campus after flouting a gig curfew in the 1980s.
Peter Hooton said: “I’ve watched and admired the expansion of the Edge Hill campus for many years, and came to the opening of the brilliant Creative Edge media facility in 2014. Accepting this award is an opportunity to endorse Edge Hill initiatives such as The Label, which has launched the careers of some great bands from the region, such as Hooton Tennis Club. It is visionary of the University to back projects like this.”
Peter Hooton’s work as a musician, writer and campaigner has been characterised not only by its impact but by a sustained commitment to social justice. Peter was born in Liverpool and has lived in the city all his life. After a brief spell as a supply teacher he joined Youth Action Liverpool, a voluntary organisation working in deprived areas of the city.
He helped set up several Welfare Advice Centres and made a significant contribution to the anti-drug ‘Alternatives Provision’ in the 1980s. Deeply engaged with local community politics, he helped facilitate the setting up of the Liverpool 28 Improvement Committee which involved young people working to improve conditions on their estate. In the aftermath of the tragic disaster at the Heysel Stadium, Peter made contact with Juventus supporters’ clubs and organised a friendship exchange with Liverpool fans, which led to further grass roots ‘peace trips’ involving the two clubs. Peter co-founded The End fanzine, a legendary and influential satirical publication described by John Peel as being about ‘music, beer and football, the very stuff of life itself.’
Later in the 1980s Peter co-founded The Farm, who set up their own independent record label in 1990 and went on to create several top 40 hits and a number one album, Spartacus.
He worked on the ‘New Deal for Musicians’ from 1997 to 2007 giving practical advice on publishing, recording, management and marketing to many up-and-coming musicians from the region.
As a writer on music, football and popular culture Peter has appeared in publications including The Guardian, the NME and Four Four Two, as well as researching and producing a book about Liverpool FC, When Football Was Football, the best-selling sports book of its period.
In 2011 he was instrumental in setting up the Justice Tonight band, to highlight the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. The following year, Peter was the driving force in The Justice Collective charity single, a version of The Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy which achieved the coveted Christmas Number One slot, raising awareness and funds for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.