IT SHOULD not have worked. The idea may well have been sound and the organisation thorough, but a two-day rock show, in Troon, in late November?

Nevertheless, preparations for the 6th WinterStorm are well underway, with the event quickly becoming a key part of the Scottish live music calendar. It is an event with a dedication to serving a core audience of regulars at The Apollo in Glasgow – a generation of gig-goers who feel a little left behind by contemporary festival line-ups.

WinterStorm organisers had observed a slight gap in the offering and believed the Troon Concert Hall would be a fitting venue. With an early winter setting, in the corner of the country, the idea certainly had its detractors. The notion flew in the face of a sceptical economic landscape.

“It should have failed,” event director Ian McCaig tells The Weekender. “Troon… in November… rock? It’s just one of the things that shouldn’t work. But we had a concept, we had a fully-formed idea before we launched. We were a niche at the time and managed to capture it.

“We also knew it wasn’t just about Ayrshire. It was about bringing people from all over to this wonderful venue. And if we could get the right vibe, the right bands, then people would come back again.

“We knew we were going to lose money in year one, but managed to kick on and build the profile and build the audience.

WinterStorm started in 2016 and was sparked by a late-night conversation with Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake who had been performing in the area. The idea itself caught the imagination of the seasoned guitarist and he was happy to lend his support.

McCaig recalls: “That’s really how it all started, over a few pints of Guinness and a few games of pool. Bernie thought it was a great idea and offered to help with a few contacts. And nine months later, we pushed the button and went ahead with it.

“The vision was that this was aimed at folk like me who had gone to the Apollo and seen those bands from the new wave of British heavy metal or heavy rock, that sort of thing, before it merged with blues and classic rock ad new emerging bands.”

Indeed, in years gone by, WinterStorm has played host to the old guard in the form of The Quireboys, Gun, Skid Row, Tygers of Pan and Praying Mantis. At the same time, they have identified emerging talent – including Florence Black, Mason Hill, Those Damn Crows, Anchor Lane, Stone Broken, Hollowstar and others – with some of those bands going to perform at huge stages across the country.

McCaig adds: “We had always been keen to stick to our core – that new wave of British heavy metal scene – but the up-and-coming bands were always there. Stone Broken, Massive Wagons, Those Damn Crows… it’s been great to have them. They were always going to add something to the line-up.

“I remember being up in Glasgow watching Mason Hill playing a support act and thought: ‘Wow, we need to get this band at WinterStorm on year one’ – and we did.

“We had Anchor Lane the following year. They won this Battle of the Bands we held at the Dreadnought in Bathgate, and they’ve now played twice. They’ll be back again in the future, I am sure, because they absolutely have it.”

This year’s event, due to take place on November 25-26, features Vandenberg, Molly Hatchet, Blaze Bayley, Marco Mendoza, Kingdom of Madness, Scarlett Rebels, Daytime TV, North Atlas, Wicked Smile, Atack and more.

For ticket information, visit