WinterStorm Rock Weekender
Two weeks to go til Troon Rocks.
Troon Rocks, You want to understand how meanings change in three months? Well Google it and you'll find that WinterStorm now comes ahead of Ailsa Craig and the Lady Isle. Top of page one in Google - result!
So we've won. Aye right!!
I woke up this morning and was only too aware of the significance of being two short weeks away from stage build, lights and sound get in, bars and catering stocking, staff and volunteer training, band riders, soundchecks and then doors opening...
But it did make me realise that while we have been trying our very best to build the front facing professional looking persona and brand that WinterStorm is on its way to becoming, we have maybe not expressed fully the heart or the soul, the essence or the rationale of why we are holding a two day rock based music weekend in Troon in Ayrshire on the coast of Scotland in a November very normally blasted with wintery, south westerly, Atlantic gales!
It also made me realise that we were only fourteen days away from knowing whether we were on Plan A or a reluctant Plan B.
Plan A remains our preference but Plan B has always been a fallback. This honest campaigning call is to move us back towards Plan A over the next two weeks. Small changes, big differences and it could never be truer. We have thousands, literally, of good wishes and intents to purchase - we only need a fraction of them to shift to buying tickets this weekend to ensure that Plan A rises to the top.
Watching the success of the event down in Wales this weekend is amazing. It is motivational and was the blueprint in so many ways. Sure they have a massively greater catchment area but they have achieved their own Plan A and have a loyal support now year in year out.
WinterStorm was modelled on the same premise and the amazing work that the guys at Hard Rock Hell have achieved over the years. WinterStorm is and always intended to be smaller, more compact version of it, a west coast rock bijou as you'd expect from the golfing town of Troon.
This is if we are being honest a plea for even more support and it is sure as hell is a more heartfelt campaign message than anything we've witnessed on TV, Facebook or YouTube over the past two years in referendum and elections!
First off, we are going to make Troon Concert Hall rock in two weeks time. No corner cutting; no cost savings - WinterStorm will be loud it will be proud it will be the best rock weekend of its type to hit any coastal town in Scotland in a long, long while. Our ticket sales are in line with our original forecasts but with two weeks to go we know that there is more out there.
We know that because the reactions we've been getting on social media, in phone calls and face to face as we freeze our proverbials off outside of music venues handing out leaflets to Y&T, Bad Company, The Tubes and Saxon fans is amazing. We know the thought is there, the good intention we just need to get you over the edge!
"Superb line up mate", "yeah we're thinking about it", "sounds like a great weekend" and our very, very favourite and most oft heard...
"Troon? That line up in Ayrshire? You're bloody joking? How did you do that?"
The How? We did it because of luck followed then by an enormous amount of work by our office team of three!.
First off it was lucky that I shared a drink long into the next morning with the wonderfully helpful man that is Jim Kirkpatrick of FM when he played with Bernie Marsden at Troon last year. I mentioned my drunken vision and he said he'd help. And help he did. Lists followed of contacts and bands and managers who he knew and recommended. Contacts I could never have bought. The ball was rolling
Next up, almost simultaneously, were management and agency gurus Adam Parsons and Steve Strange. They listened on the phone, often from LA, to an unknown, looked at our mocked up "brand" , read our proposition and, god knows, why they supported us. Not loosely but full on, they talked, advised, supported and let us book. That in two short paragraphs is the how, People in the rock industry trusted us.
Similarly, the inspiration we drew from Ciaron and the team Rock Radio Glasgow shouldn't be underestimated either. They went for their radio franchise prize with balls and in big brash style too. Maybe not entering as favourites but the aims were clear the vision was focussed and the award collected. Their rock fans bought into the benefits and will reap the results year after year.
We always felt aligned to their message and principles; proudly independent, slightly anarchic, passionate and probably like us pretty much skint! But the goal was everything for them. They knew what their audience wanted and they delivered fully.
As independent promoters we found out quickly we were not alone. One of the best things about this whole WinterStorm campaign is the warmth with which we have been welcomed by those already in the market. Wildfire Festival, Shock City Promotions, Internet radio stations, bloggers, management groups, other local promoters and bands. Let's not go there. All patting you on the back wishing us well. All recognising that the challenge was going to be a big one but that we were all facing similar challenges. Some great people on the ground giving more time than you could ever imagine to keep rock music live in and across Scotland. The national rock stations and print? Let's not go there...
This trust in itself however adds pressure. The faith needs to be repaid. We have to prove that we can not only manage the logistics and put on a show but we have to prove that there is an audience up here and that we can deliver that audience to their talent. In short they need to see that the fans will travel to Troon for WinterStorm to happen again.
Why? No, the real question is why not?
The why may be a little more ethereal but in essence a lot more simple than the how and simply because i grew up in Ayrshire in the late seventies into the eighties. That's why. Buses to The Ayr pavilion to see Gillan, Maiden, Leppard, Girls Scholl, Praying Mantis, Tygers, longer buses to The Apollo in Glasgow to see Whitesnake, Priest, Scorpions, UFO, Schenker, Gary Moore and the rest. And many of those memories will be shared in a fortnight with those I experienced that youth with. Nostalgia clearly rocks.
But it's the same old story. We have joked that we have more guys booked from Wales than from Ayrshire - local music goers who have already purchased tickets will get that and know it's not aimed at them but it's frustrating when you know how many people will take the corporate entertainment or head up to Glasgow weekly to go to the air hanger Hydro or the corporately globalised O2s and yet for one week in the year can't see what is happening locally? It's my night for the bowls really doesn't cut it as an excuse...
There are thousands of rock fans in Ayrshire alone who could fill the Troon Concert Hall twice over. What do you want guys? We need your support! We re not criticising you, we just want you on board
Our vision at the beginning was for one weekend to see the trains to Troon full on the way south in the evening for a change. Glasgow heading "doon the watter" for a rock weekend with trains filling Ayrshire rather than emptying it. The support from Glasgow rock fans has been awesome.
Putting this on has been we were told frequently that we were daft, stupid, delusional even. Well we didn't see it quite like and we still don't. Would we do it again if we could go back four months for sure. Every freaking minute
This article is unashamedly about getting punters to move from saying great idea to buying the ticket. We don't need thousands just some of you. As said above we had, we have, a plan A that is long term and a Plan B that accepts that it was a fine one off.
On balance, two weeks out, we are somewhere between the two. We sense the long term goodwill but need the short term investment.
A superb team of volunteers proud of what has been put together so far, are champing at the bit and cant wait. Main stage with the most diverse collection of classic and new rock ands seen in Scotland for god know how long and an acoustic stage with fifteen acts showcasing young local talent in the next room. Greta merch, superb bar prices, good food, free WiFi and a rocking audience.
Ricky Warwick playing some Almighty. Last in Line playing some Dio, FM, Mantis, Tygers from your memories Inglorious, Toselend, Vega, Amorettes shaking up your present and Bloodlines, The Hyena Kill, Concrete kingdoms and Mason Hill mapping your future.
Add thirteen acoustic acts to chill out too over the weekend and it's gonna be worth the ticket price.
WinterStorm 2016 will be wonderful of that we are confident. WinterStorm 2017 we know would be even better.
We genuinely belive that WinterStorm is going to be the best rock weekend the west coast of Scotland has seen for an age what we don't want it to be is a one off. We don't want to be at The Garage in a couple of years to hear rock fans say "I wish I'd gone that first year. Shame it was a one off."
We would rather repay the unbridled faith of the agents, the promoters, the management, the bands and the volunteers across Scotland and be announcing the dates for 2017 before Christmas.
But to do that we need the undecided, the waverers, to just say
"To hell with it, I'm going Troon"
"I'm going to take a risk, I'm going to an unknown venue, Put on by an independent promoter, I'm going to a town I've never been to, I'm going to walk on the beach and then I'm going to go into a concert hall to watch some of the finest musicians you could wish for at a ridiculously good price and I'm going to rock as if I was in my youth.
And then I'm going to go again next year because that's what my ticket now means to the future of this event"
So please, rock fans, with two weeks to go you can help get WinterStorm a fixed place on the UK rock calendar.
We'd love you to join us on the 25th and 26th of November and shout out...
WinterStorm Rock Weekender
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WinterStorm Rock Weekender
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WinterStorm Rock Weekender
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