What was supposed to be a one-off joke, has over the past two decades developed into a global competition and on 28 August Kareel "Your Daddy" Blumenkrants won the prestigious title Air guitar World Champion 2015. In the competition's 20-year history this was the first Russian win. The Air Guitar World Championships culminate in a grand finale, where the finalists take to the stage to give their renditions of selected songs.
"Every judge has his or her own things that they are looking for in the competition, but we have certain things that we have to check, I like craziness, I like improvisations, that's my thing," said one of the judges, Finnish guitar player Juha Torvinen.
Show producer Hanna Jakku said the great thing with playing air guitar was that there was no need to actually be able to play the instrument. "It's a way of enjoying music, without really playing an instrument and you don't even have to know how to play an instrument and you can still be part of that song that is your favourite song," she said.
Thousands of people had gathered in the city centre, despite the rain, to witness the finalists from around the world battle for the main prize: a handmade electric guitar. In the end, the battle was between Blumenkrants and Matt "Aristotle" Burns from the US, with Blumenkrants impressing the judges the most.
Michael "Operation Rock a Pussy" Lovely, also from the United States, finished in third place while the reigning world champion – Nanami "Seven Seas" Nagura from Japan – finished fourth. Leading up to the final in Oulu, which has hosted the championships since the beginning, the air guitar masters are being selected in the official national championships in several countries all over the world. The purpose of the Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace.