Air Guitar World Championships to broadcast live online

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The Independent Online

The 15th Air Guitar World Championships in Finland start on August 25, and the world's best invisible axe-wielders will be there at the Oulu Music and Video Festival, fighting for right to be called the world's best. Contestants have 60 seconds to strut, pose, and cartwheel through one song of their choosing and another minute to show off to a compulsory track that's kept secret until the last possible moment.

For those not able to make it to the Scandinavian north, the grand final on August 27 will be broadcast live and online via the organisation's website,

The five hour shred-fest starts at 7pm local time, equivalent to 9am Pacific, 12 noon EDT, 5pm in the UK, 6pm for Central Europe, midnight in Malaysia, and 1am in the morning for Japanese viewers.

Seminars and parties are laid on for participants and spectators, with standard tickets going for €20 and VIP packages starting at €42.

Competitors from around the world will be executing the most over-the-top examples of acrobatic flamboyancy and rock posturing: somersaults, windmills, scissor kicks and backflips; unseen guitars thrown and caught, played with teeth, smashed and set on fire.

Not that it should be considered Finland's strangest sport by default - top events in swamp football, hay mowing, and wife carrying are held there too - but the Air Guitar World Championships chime especially well with a Scandinavian stereotype of long-haired Norsemen rocking out in a heavy metal heartland.