America’s ‘Marquis’ snares air guitar championship title

OULU, Finland (AFP) – Twenty hopefuls from around the world donned glitter, make-up and outrageous costumes to face off in an epic, virtuoso guitar battle onstage on Friday – but without an instrument in sight.

The Air Guitar World Championships have been held in the small Finnish town of Oulu, not far from the Arctic circle, for 24 years, and the competition has become an institution in the country which prides itself on organising wacky competitions in anything from wife carrying to sitting naked on ant hills.

But although the idea of strutting around a stage dressed as a wizard, caveman or gorilla while noodling furiously on an imaginary guitar might seem silly to some, the competitors vying for the world title take their preparation extremely seriously.

“I’ve played different instruments over the years, but I’m limited by my technical ability,” this year’s winner, Rob “the Marquis” Messel from the United States told AFP.

“But the air guitar, it’s a blank page and you can do anything.”