Insanity Elsewhere: WINTERFEST

Breaking news regarding the ever-tense TISC-Antarctica relations stormed through the social networks last weekend and left everyone in a state of genuine shock. The two sides haven’t had a diplomatic contact in years, but the unthinkable happened following a secret meeting whose details eventually leaked to the public spectrum. A long road towards the reconciliation has been initiated and one of the key points of the TISC-Antarctica resolution is WINTERFEST.

WINTERFEST – History

Following its creation in 2013, TISC quickly became a very Global event, with as many as 5 continents being represented at almost every edition. One of the ideas of early editions was attempting to welcome the whole World to the TISC festivities, including Antarctica as the 6th continent. It is believed that the very first contact between TISC and Antarctica was established in the run-up towards the 2014 Open. Antarctica was asked if they would consider taking part, but they gently refused and stated that they would consider participating in the future. That’s when the polite relations between the two ended, as soon thereafter Antarctica started accusing TISC community of being “blatant cheaters”, among other things. Antarctica however still had a wish of being a part of a global music competition, so they came up with their own thing – WINTERFEST.

First WINTERFEST was held in the second part of 2015, a matter of weeks before the 2015 Open edition of TISC. Antarctica decided to keep this event under wraps so the first news about the WINTERFEST premiere came in shortly before the 2015 Open Grand Final. The discovery of a rival contest caused a lot of concern across the TISC community, especially since more than 20 nations and territories picked WINTERFEST over TISC… In the very first edition no less!. Reports from the very first WINTERFEST were poor and quite incomplete however, with scoreboards that didn’t add up and frugal reports about nations being kicked out for not paying entry fees. One thing is certain however: Antarctica won the premiere, in a highly convincing manner.

Second edition of WINTERFEST was held in early 2016, and was also the first Annual WINTERFEST as Antarctica had seemingly decided to copy TISC’s Annual-Open format. Second WINTERFEST proved to be a much tighter affair. Mongolia was dominating most of the contest and it seemed as though their victory is all but certain. Going into the last two votes they had a whopping 22 points lead over the second placed Antarctica. Second last to vote was the jury from Lapland. Voting in general was going along very smoothly, but just before Lapland’s presentation the power went down, causing a break of about 15 minutes. Lapland eventually decided to give the Antarctic hosts 12 points while Mongolia didn’t get any, what was rather surprising considering that each national jury before Lapland had given points to Mongolia. Mongolia was the last to show their votes, however there is one key difference between TISC and WINTEFEST… National juries are allowed to vote for themselves! Keeping that in mind, Mongolia’s win still seemed quite certain as they only needed two points to secure the win. But the unthinkable happened. Mongolia decided to give just 1 point to themselves and 12 points to Antarctica and therefore Antarctica remained undefeated at the WINTERFEST contests. This outcome eventually drew a lot of protest – all of which were denied by the organizing committee. This contest turned out to be a huge blow for the WINTERFEST aspirations, as many nations have sworn to never take part again after witnessing this controversy.

Following this contest, many TISC analysts have expressed their disbelief concerning the credibility of the contest, not just because Antarctica won, but also because how it ended. This contest was held right after TISC’s 2015 Open, which featured an incredible ending, with Lithuania eventually taking a victory over Germany by a single point margin. It was a general consensus that the second WINTERFEST was all about Antarctica saying: “Anything you can do we can do better!”.

Queen Maud Land and Oates Land are diametrical opposites

Coverage of the following WINTERFEST editions turned out to be extremely poor. Mostly it was only announced that Antarctica has won yet again. In fact, as of 2018, Antarctica remained undefeated and has won all 5 editions. However, several underground stories have emerged in between these editions. According to some sources, only 8 nations appeared at the 3rd WINTEFEST edition (2016 Open), with the controversies of the previous edition being cited as a reason. Several more sources claim that WINTERFEST suffered another huge blow just last year, at the 2017 Open. Apparently, there was a strong reason to believe that the Antarctica’s run of victory would likely end, as Zimbabwe’s entry “Walk Like a Penguin” simply stunned the international juries. In fact, many didn’t believe that Antarctica could even reach a podium that time, as their entry “Mr Penguin” was considered to be”highly uninspired”. However, another intriguing WINTERFEST tidbit occurred – Zimbabwe (and couple of others) were allegedly given a wrong whereabouts of the Grand Final! Contest was held in the Queen Maud Land while the Zimbabwean delegation arrived to the Oates Land, which is placed on completely opposite side of the continent. Coincidence? Zimbabwe’s no show was penalized with a disqualification, allowing “Mr Penguin” to run away with a victory.

WINTERFEST – Rules

WINTERFEST grew to be very much known for their unusual and somewhat controversial set of rules. Some of the highlights include:

  • All WINTERFESTs shall be held at the Antarctic continent.
  • Participants are allowed to vote for themselves.
  • All competing songs must have at least 2 out of these 3 elements strongly represented in lyrics: “Ice”, “Snow”, “Penguin”.
  • Every jury shall award 12 points to Antarctica at least once in a block of 3 participations.

WINTERFEST – Future

One of the key points of the initial TISC-Antarctica agreement is that the next edition of WINTERFEST (2018 Annual) will also be the final edition, as the contest is planned to be officially abolished at the next TISC Congress to be held after the 10th edition Jubilee. Antarctica is very much behind this agreement as they are seeking to restore good relations and eventually challenge at the TISC stage.

Some preliminary plans were having the final WINTERFEST held at the same weekend as TISC’s 10th edition Jubilee. Several other possibilities were considered as well, but the Antarctic dignitaries have eventually decided to have this event held a weekend before the Jubilee’s Grand Final (April 20-22).

Penguins will be marching at the Jubilee’s Opening Ceremony

“Splitting the focus between TISC and WINTERFEST just didn’t seem like a viable idea. We want to fully embrace the TISC spirit and pursue an amiable relationship with the TISC community, so we decided to have WINTEFEST a week prior the big Jubilee final.” said Tristan Icecapade, who is, along with Eve Snowflake, believed to be the Team Captain of the Antarctic delegation headed towards Brazil next month.

Antarctica’s role at the upcoming Jubilee hasn’t been completely decided yet. However, it is strongly believed that their participation in the Opening Ceremony’s Parade of Nations is all but confirmed.

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