It has been dubbed the wackiest festival experience ever with over 20 nationalities, one winner and zero guitars. It is the Air Guitar World Championships and it is being held in Oulu, Finland this year as it has been for the past fifteen years.
So, what is an air guitar? Anybody who has played an imaginary instrument will relate to the enthusiasm displayed by “faking” it and rocking out. According to Wikipedia, “Air guitar is generally used in the imaginary simulation of loud electric guitar music.”
The tradition of Air Guitar championship competition in Oulu started in 1995. Finland is renowned for oddball festivals ranging from The Cell Phone Throwing Championships to The Wife Carrying World Championships.
Cedric Devitt, co-commissioner of U.S. Air Guitar, said recently, “Everybody wants to be a rock star.” Well, not this writer although I admit to playing the invisible violin on occasion.
How do you play an air guitar? You perform 60 seconds of your favorite epic rock-guitar jam as if you were playing an actual guitar. Your performance is limited only by your own imagination and your ability to mimic the great rock legend performances such as Hendrix or Led Zeppelin.
The roots of air guitarism are actually traced back to Hendrix who couldn’t afford a guitar as a child so he rocked-it-out on a broom handle.
The sport (can we call it a sport?) of air guitaring has taken off in Japan, Malaysia and even in the United Kingdom. The UK’s air guitar website even sports clothing to support the air guitar craze. You can see it here.
The United States has slowly getting into the act and in 2003 founded the US Air Guitar Championships with regional competitions held from Boston to San Francisco.
If you want to be a Rock Star but lack the talent to actually play a guitar, just fake it and rock it out. Anyone can be an Air Guitar Rock Star. It just takes a bit of imagination, gyration and orchestration – without the orchestra.