Event ID: 9961


Photo by: Maiju Torvinen

Remember the good old days of the power ballad, when you used to bust out on the dance floor with some epic air guitar during AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Well, here is your chance to show off those moves again in front of thousands of adoring fans at the Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, northern Finland.

Phantom instruments come alive as air rockers strum like guitar greats like Jimmy Hendrix and Queen. This event is called the championships for a reason, though. Throughout the four-day event there are workshops on how to best exaggerate picking motions and demonstrations from some of the previous world champions. As any air guitarist can tell you, it’s not what you play but how you play it!

The purpose of the Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace. According to the promoters, “wars end, climate change stops and all bad things disappear, if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar.” This goes to explain the mantra for the festival—”Make Air not War.”

What is an Air Guitar?

Perhaps you landed on this page by pure accident and have no idea what this is all about. An air guitar is a form of movement (sometimes dance) where the performer simulates playing a guitar, generally to rock or heavy metal styles of backing music. The performance tends to be over-exaggerated and consists of thrashing arm and leg movements coupled with violent head-banging and occasional lip-synching. Most commonly the air guitar is played during the lead guitarist’s solo to maximize the potential for “over-the-top” moves, though this is not a requirement by any means.


The Air Guitar World Championships were first held in 1996 as part of the Oulu Music Video Festival. The judging panel included Finnish guitarist Juha Torvinen, and prizes included a custom-made “Flying Finn” guitar and VOX BM Special amplifier donated by Queen guitarist Brian May.

The Finnish people really do know how to laugh at themselves. Just look at some of the weird and wonderful events like the World Wife-Carrying Competition they have created and you get the sense that satire is in their DNA. The idea of the contest was originally coined as a joke, meant only to be a side attraction for the music video festival, but has since become a major draw in its own right.

The purpose of the Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace. According to the promoters, “wars end, climate change stops and all bad things disappear, if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar.” This goes to explain the mantra for the festival—”Make Air not War.”

The competition is now an integral part of the Oulu Festival, drawing music fans from all over the world. Due to the popularity of the competition there are now air guitar competitions held throughout the world. In 2013 the network consisted of twenty countries across the globe.

Competition Rules

As with the name, performers must play an air guitar, not drums, piano or any other invisible instrument. This is also not a place for bands, only individual performers are allowed on stage. Performers are encouraged to use any clothing and props that would add character and make the performance more interesting. However, real musical equipment is strictly prohibited—most importantly a guitar.

There are two rounds of competition before the final with each round consisting of a one-minute performance. In the first round, the contestant performs to a song (or medley) that they have personally selected. In the second round, the song is kept secret from the contestant until they are due to perform. This is done to see how well they are able to improvise on the spot.

Judges score each performer out of a maximum 6.0 score system, the same as used in traditional figure skating. These are the four major criteria that are used to evaluate the performance:

  1. Technical merit: Are the actions technically correct, including pick and fret hand placements?
  2. Mimesmanship: Does the performer give the illusion of playing an invisible guitar?
  3. Stage presence: How much does the performer get the crowd involved? Do they appear confident on stage?
  4. Airness: What overall artistic impression does the performance make?

How to Enter

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a world champion air guitarist? All you need to do is submit a one-minute (maximum) high quality music clip of the song you wish to perform along with an entry form that can be found on the official site. You can either edit the clip yourself or send a copy of your song with the preferred starting point. All entries must be received by the organizers before 14 August so that the songs can be tested beforehand.

If you think you’ve got a chance, it might be worth submitting two different songs—one for the qualifying round and another if you happen to make it to the finals.

Please leave a comment

Please do the math problem below to prove you are Human. *

Date & Time

August 26, 2015 - August 28, 2015


Air Guitar World Championships contest events, Dark Horses' Qualifying Round and World Final, have free entry. World Final VIP ticket: 62 € (incl. buffet and entry to the best spots at VIP area). We Will Dub You on 26 & 27 Aug: 18 € (+ service fees 0-2,5 €) in advance // 20 € at the door // 15 € with Pohjoista voimaa customer card // VIP ticket 80 € (incl. dinner & entrance). Tickets are sold at Lippupalvelu. Will Dub You tickets are sold at Lippupalvelu web store and ticket offices in Finland. No service fee added at Oulu10 service desk and Cultural Centre Valve ticket office. Extra program packages: Airientation 40 € // Air Off 90 €.




Event Contact

Susanna Kyllönen
+358 44 328 0563

Event Website

View Site

Event Hashtag


Share Event

Posted By

+ View profile
Train with true warriors - Former Navy Seals challenge your physical capabilities
©2023 Kompster - The World of Competition.
All Rights Reserved.
- Enter Your Location -
- or -