WATCH: Simulated strumming returns to Finland for Air Guitar World Championships
Published in Weird News
(UPI) The top faux-musicians in the world are gathered in Oulu, Finland, Friday to complete in one of the globe's most unusual musical performance competitions: the Air Guitar World Championships.
The annual event, which makes its return to the live stage this year after the COVID-19 pandemic led to cancellation in 2020 and a special virtual event in 2021, will feature the national champions from multiple countries facing off against a group of "Dark Horse" air guitarists chosen in a special Thursday night contest as well as the reigning champion, Rob The Marquis Messel.
Messel, representing the United States, was named the winner of the 2019 world championships, his third appearance in the international contest, which features each participant pretending to play an invisible guitar while dancing along to the song of their choice.
"You're on stage, people are watching you and you've got nothing between you and them," Messel told the University of Portland's The Beacon newspaper after his 2019 win. You have no drum set or mic stand even to stand behind or lean on, it's just you.
The Air Guitar World Championship was held for the first time in 1996, as part of the Oulu August Festival. The stated purpose of the unusual competition is to "promote world peace."
"According to the competition ideology, wars will end, climate change will stop and all bad things will vanish when all the people in the world play the air guitar," the competition's website states. That's why everyone is invited at the end of the competition to play the air guitar all at once to save the world.
Organizers said air guitar is an ideal medium to promote peaceful coexistence, as it is a form of expression that is open to all.
"Air guitar can be grasped regardless of gender, age, ethnic background, sexual orientation and social status. Air guitar playing is equal," they wrote.
Past competitors said the peaceful message of the event is reflected in how the participants support and encourage one another while off-stage.
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