The Air Guitar Championships will be hosted in Lawrence for the first time ever Friday, April 22 at the Bottleneck.
According to Eric ‘Mean’ Melin, the 2013 Air Guitar World Champion, it takes a lack of shame, showmanship and a little courage to be a champion. Melin, a drummer for a local band and movie critic, got into competitive air guitar in 2009. US Air Guitar came to Kansas City for the first time that year and Melin took an opportunity that soon changed his life.
“I signed up months in advance and worked out my routine and I ended up winning first place and going onto nationals my very first year,” Melin said.
He traveled to Finland in 2013 to compete against other air guitarists from around the world to win the world champion title. He is now an ambassador for US Air Guitar, promoting and organizing events such as the one in Lawrence. There are 22 total rounds at different cities across the country. Two wins will be chosen from Lawrence to compete in Kansas City at the semi-final. From there, the winner will compete in Austin, Texas at the nationals. The overall winner of the U.S. Championships will be flown to Finland to compete in the world championships.
Melin says that if there is going to be an air guitar competition in the state of Kansas, Lawrence is the place to do it.
“I just think there’s a lot of creative people in Lawrence,” Melin said. “Lawrence is an art’s town”
His words of advice for the competitors: have fun and embrace being a momentary rockstar.
“There’s really no pressure,” Melin said. “You’re going to feel a lot of pressure because it’s a competition but what we’re really trying to do is just put on a good show.”
The event is open to everyone of all ages. Doors will open at 8:00 p.m. and the show begins at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are sold ahead of time for $8 and at the door they will be $9.