Once an act has been booked for the WinterStorm Rock Weekender Mark is effectively the main point of contact.
It can be as simple as answering basic queries such as how far the band hotel is from the venue, to arranging UK entry requirements for bands that are coming in from abroad.
I sometimes end up being taxi driver taking them to and from the airport or hotel, which can be quite surreal at times when you realise you have just had an in depth chat with one of your childhood heroes.
pic by Andrew West
WinterStorm in Troon, Ayrshire sits on the beautiful Scottish coast and attracts bands and fans from across the globe.
Audiences literally do travel from all over the world to attend WinterStorm, although in many ways it still feels that we are Scotland’s best kept secret.
We get regular attendees from all over the UK as well as Europe, but we’ve also had people from Central and South America explained Mark.
We’ve always tried to offer something for everyone with a nod to the original wave of NWOBHM as well as the newer bands coming through and the more established acts.
There’s been some exceptional acts over the years – personal highlights were standing spellbound watching Bernie Torme and Uli Jon Roth, but for sheer energy, music and stage presence I would have to go with HEAT who were then fronted by Erik Gronwall.
We’ve also had Magnum, Skid Row, Quireboys, Ricky Warwick, Tygers of Pan Tang, Praying Mantis, Tyketto, Bernie Marsden, Diamond Head, Pete Way, Dead Daisies, Wayward Sons, Girlschool to name just a few.
Having been involved with music for many years, Mark has a very eclectic taste…
Current listens include Chantel McGregor, Runrig, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Pink Floyd, Marillion and The Brink. The last gig I attended was the Scottish M2tM heat in Edinburgh.
It’s also important to recognise that every big band now was a small band once, and if we don’t support our local venues then these bands will have nowhere to play and develop, so get yourself along to Newcastle Trillians or wherever is local to you that has live music on and support it.
In the seven years WinterStorm has been operating Mark remembers a stand out performance…
I think the performance that most surprised our audience -although not me – was Blues guitarist Chantel McGregor as not many of the crowd knew her.
To see her bring a packed hall to absolute silence was almost mesmeric – you could literally have heard a pin drop, the applause was thunderous!
But it’s important to recognise and acknowledge that WinterStorm simply couldn’t function without the team behind it – I’m just a small cog in a big picture. Although it was initially Ian McCaig’s brainchild that came into being after talking with Jim Kirkpatrick from FM and Steve Strange.
I often hear people say that it’s ‘a family’ and it very much feels like that, with a very friendly and supportive team of volunteers ensuring that all our guests are well looked after.
The Sound teams, stage crew, bar team, the ‘Stormtroopers’, particular shout outs must go to Team Angus, Simon, Johnny and Claire.
I’ve never heard anyone who has attended WinterStorm say they didn’t enjoy it, and this applies to band members and audience.
This year with an extra night, acts booked so far include Michael Schenker, Massive Wagons, Focus, Russ Ballard, Paul Di’Anno, Tygers of Pan Tang & Praying Mantis – and all compered by Tom ‘Godfather of Rock’ Russell and Pete K Mally.
It’ll be a best of the first seven years, bringing down the curtain on our opening chapter. We’ll be back next year with a refreshed WinterStorm providing a new direction and experience on the UK music scene.
Mark added…We’ve always promoted an inclusive event and environment where all attendees can feel part of something special, I think this is reflected in the number of repeat bookings that we get before any of next year’s acts are announced, and the number of bands that get back in touch asking for a return date as they’ve had such a good time.
For further information and tickets contact the official website:
WinterStorm Rock Weekender | Troon Scotland | Annual Rock Music Festival