Brian May Guitar Up For Grabs At The World Air Guitar Championships

August 20, 2007, 13 years ago

news riff notes

The following report is courtesy of Sachin Kuray from

Swinging, jumping and running all over the stage to the tunes of metal and hard rock music, air guitarists from all over the world will vie for the handmade Flying Finn electric guitar at the 12th Air Guitar World Championships (AGWC) on September 7 in Oulu, Finland.

The Flying Finn champion will be chosen by the jury led by Finnish guitar legend Juha Torvinen based on a points system, while the winner of a Baby Brian May Guitar, signed by the QUEEN guitarist himself, will be voted by the audience. The champion gets a chance to perform at major events in the music industry such as Midem 2008 in Cannes, France. Oli Rantala, executive director

In an e-mail interview, Oli Rantala, Executive Director, Oulu Music Video Festival and Air Guitar World Championships, said: “Since we don’t have any prize money for the winners our prizes are real guitars that he or she wins as trophies. Apart from that the champion gets an invitation to perform at major events in the music industry such as MIDEM 2008 in Cannes, France.” Rantala added: “This year the winner will be selected from 20 finalists representing 17 official network countries, who will participate in the two-day event.”

The organisers have also received 11 entries as ‘Black Horses’ or challengers, who will compete in the qualifying rounds to reach the finals.

AGWC was conceptualised in 1996 in Finland, and has chapters in nearly 17 nations all over the world. Every year, member countries select their air guitarist for the world event.

For first-time performers at the AGWC, special training is provided in air guitar. “The participants can enrol in the High Altitude Training Camp where they learn about techniques to play air guitars along with choreography to perform on stage,” festival co-ordinator Vilja Byström said. Asked about any participation from the Middle East or from the UAE, Byström said until now they haven’t received any entries from the Middle East nations. “The UAE was on our national network country. Their national champion Chaitanya ‘The Wickerlady’ Vembar was 15th in the 2005 AGWC,” she added.

On the AGWC’s theme ‘bling-bling’, Rantala said: “The ideology of AGWC is to have fun and not to hurt others. That’s why all the people in the world are invited to play air guitar simultaneously at the end of every competition. “Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World has been the theme song for years, which finalists perform after each year’s competition.” Rantala concluded: “What was previously a hobby to be pursued at home alone in front of a mirror or behind closed bedroom doors, is now a public show in front of thousands of people.”

- A participant who intends to enter the championships has to pay 20 euros (Dh100) as fees.
- The last date to enrol in the event is August 22. The event will be broadcast live on the internet.


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