Watch: Promoting world peace, one cheesy air-guitar routine at a time

Although Russia and Finland share a long border, their relationship is often tense. But if there’s one thing that the two can agree on, it’s a love of hard rock music.

Witness the mutual appreciation and harmony—in both the figurative and literal sense—at the 20th annual Air Guitar World Championship in the Finnish city of Oulu. For the first time in the history of the competition, a Russian— Kereel ”Your Daddy” Blumenkrants—won the title.

Watch Blumenkrants harness the spirit of rock as he rose through the rounds:

And marvel at Matt “Aristotle” Burns of the US, who took second place but brought the noise (and several costume changes) to the party:

From humble beginnings, dominated mostly by Finns, the tournament has steadily expanded into a distinctly global affair. Who, after all, can resist the raw power of rock, as it flows through a disciple during a tightly choreographed routine heavy on pouts, splits, and thrusting hips?

This is a serious business—Oulu city officials are planning to build a permanent monument to the air guitar. And taking its role as a venue for heavy metal diplomacy seriously, the tournament’s organizers adhere to this inspirational creed:

The purpose of the Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace. According to the ideology of the Air Guitar, wars would end, climate change stop, and all bad things disappear if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar. This is why the whole universe is invited to play the Air Guitar for the world peace at the end of the competition.

All together now. (Air Guitar World Championships/Juuso Haarala)
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