What started as a tea party for two 18-year-olds, 15 years later has become the Winterfest organization, the largest youth festival in Turkey with 9,000 visitors checking into 3,000 rooms in Uludağ’s winter season.
Winterfest has been held every year since 1996 and was first designed by hoteliers to offer cheap accommodation and entertainment during the slow part of the season. It was an event geared towards providing university students the opportunity to take winter vacations and ski at a more reasonable price. The event has continued for 15 years straight and has broken a record this year with 9,000 participants.
Kicking off next week, 160 buses will be taking off from 16 different cities and 52 universities throughout Turkey all destined for Uludağ. With nine thousand students occupying 3,000 rooms, this year's Winterfest marks the largest every youth festival to be held in Turkey. Started by two Istanbul Technical University students, Kayahan Göltepe and Ruhi Sümer, now as Ark Organization, they send teams of hundreds to universities to promote the event. What once started with just 40 students in 1996 has now turned in the Turkey's largest winter festival, in which a number of international and Turkish musicians come to perform. This year, "Winterfest 2011" will run from January 23rd to February 16th and will host the likes of Ajda Pekkan, Ozan Doğulu, Bengü, Burak Yeter and Arto as well as Yolando Be Cool, whom has won acclaim and topped the world music list in a number of nation with "We Speak No Americano" will also becoming to Turkey for the first time ever to perform at Winterfest 2011.