Who is the world’s best on air guitar? Zac Monro, London, performs at the 7th Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, north Finland. (AP Photo/LEHTIKUVA/Jarmo Kontiainen)
Who is the world’s best on air guitar?
Lexile

Who can play the wildest on an instrument that no one can see? A record 30 air guitarists from a dozen countries jammed on a stage in northern Finland to answer just that question.
 
The 20th Air Guitar World Championships included 30 "dark horses", or competitors, hoping to advance to the final, joining seven national champions who automatically qualified.
 
An Oulo musician started the competition as a joke, and it added to the small Nordic nation's reputation as an inventor of offbeat summer events such as the "mosquito slapping" and "wife carrying" competitions. It has gradually spread worldwide with national events held annually in several countries.
 
The 2002 champion, London architect Zac Monro returned after a break of 13 years, seeking to rekindle that "special flame that breaks the mundane," although he no longer felt a need to win.
 
"It's a great crowd and it's just good to be here among all these people who enjoy doing this crazy thing," said Munro, who goes by the stage name "The Magnet." All the same, he said, he'd like to be in the final "instead of just watching."
 
Germany's national champion, Sabrina "Lady Liberty" Schramm from Munich, made the final but she was still nervous, wringing her hands as she declared she "yearns to win." She caught the competition bug when she finished ninth in Oulu in 2014.
 
"I was brought up on rock music. I just love it," she said. "When I saw a local air guitar competition in my home town, I thought that's the most crazy thing you can do, so I just had to do it."
 
Schramm faced tough competition from Nanami "Seven Seas" Nagura from Japan, who won last year at the age of 18, and the current U.S. champion, New Yorker Matt "Airistotle" Burns.
 
Oulu's mayor was enthusiastic, describing the event as "creative craziness," which has become part of the image of Finland's northernmost city. Oulu is a high-tech hub that provided a large workforce for Nokia before it sold its ailing smartphone division to Microsoft.
 
"It plays a vital role in our dynamic society and our ecosystem. It's a city of young people with an average age of 37, which needs this kind of innovative thinking," Matti Pennanen said. "We want to keep it going for as long as possible."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What is the craziest thing about an air guitar competition?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (9)
  • courtneywhipps-dia
    9/08/2015 - 10:52 a.m.

    Overall it looks like fun and I would like to do it. It is a fun and good story. I liked it and I didn't know it was an actual sport

  • sidman,bryce-cas
    9/09/2015 - 07:27 a.m.

    The crazy thing about the air guitar competition is that in order to be "good" at it, you need to know how to play a real guitar. However, the competitors have no physical nor visual aid to help them play it. In order to judge it everybody in the room has to be imagining the same thing at the same time, which is just amazing. The competition has left me wondering what other strange things they do in Finland.

  • flores,joseph-cas
    9/10/2015 - 07:49 a.m.

    The craziest thing about an air guitar competition is trying to make it look like your actually playing a guitar without actually having one. I think this article is really interesting, because before reading this I didn't even know these competitions existed.

  • whitley,ryan-cas
    9/10/2015 - 08:59 a.m.

    The craziest thing about an air guitar competition is that your not even playing anything and they still get into it like they are playing a guitar. Its also funny because it was made to be a joke and now there's World Championships.

  • oliviaw-4-bar
    10/01/2015 - 09:50 p.m.

    The very fact that the competition requires all of its participants as well as its judges to create an image of an actual guitar in their minds is extraordinary! Finland's air-guitar competitors also must be extremely talented on a tangible guitar due to their fascinating ability to recreate one from their memory and imagination. This article both intrigued and excited me! I absolutely loved the concept of the competition, and from a musician's point of view, I may also add that this is not only captivating, but extremely difficult!

  • dylana-Orv
    10/02/2015 - 12:24 p.m.

    what a joke learn how to play the real thing N00B.

  • morgant-lam
    11/02/2015 - 09:43 a.m.

    Air guitar is a great way of expression. I was also brought up on rock and heavy metal so seeing things like this is just amazing.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    5/17/2016 - 07:00 p.m.

    I think that it would be interesting to watch people compete in an air guitar competition. This first started as a joke but now, it spread worldwide with national events held annually in several countries. There will be thirty competitors competing in Finland.
    I think that the craziest thing about an air guitar competition would be that there are no instruments. The people are basically acting like they are playing a guitar.

  • DavidS-lam3
    10/26/2018 - 01:25 p.m.

    Even though many people think it is "silly" to play air guitar, this looks like much fun. It looks like it would be a blast to be part of and funny to make it looks like you can shred the guitar as good as Eddie Van Halen or Randy Rhodes.

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