The US Air Guitar Championships Announces 2016 Season (Official)

Competitions in 22 Cities Across the Country


Get tickets to see a show Enter to Compete


Semifinals Expanded to 6 shows

Boston, DC, Chicago, Kansas City, Portland & San Diego

National Finals 8/6 at Empire Control Room in Austin, TX


US Air Guitar Announces AirJamz as its official Air Guitar


AirJamz Sponsorship Takes Wearables to the Big Stage


Experience All Semifinals in Spectacular 360° Virtual Reality


Current Champ Airistotle Attempts to be Next “Air Jordan” – Goes for Three-peat


20 Competing Countries Across the Globe “Scared Shitless” of Next U.S. Champ


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US Air Guitar, the official governing body of American competitive air guitar, today announced the 2016 US Air Guitar Championships, its three-tier tournament which scours the country in search of the nation’s best air guitarist. Winners of qualifying competitions in at least 15 cities will compete in six semifinals for a chance to battle at this year’s National Finals on August 6 at Empire Control Room in Austin, Texas.




US Air Guitar is proud to feature AirJamz, the hottest new invention in wearable tech, as the “official Air Guitar of US Air Guitar.” US Air Guitar will showcase AirJamz at each semifinal, and fans will have a chance to experience a once-in-a-lifetime rock star experience at the US Air Guitar National Finals this August in Austin, TX. With a chance for every attendee to be simulcast throughout the venue and streamed online by thousands of rabid fans, the green room just got a whole lot bigger. Quipped millennial wunderkind and 2015 US Air Guitar Champion, Airistotle (Matt Burns), “These Internet doodads are the bee’s knees!”




But will the older generation of purist performers adapt to this bold new world, with the Internet Of All Things Air? Or will they renounce this digital revolution as newfangled foolishness, plucking themselves and thousands of diehard fans onto a new plane of technical purity? For the answer, we emailed four-time DC Champion and oldest living competitive air guitarist, Shred (Lance Kasten), who replied (with help from his granddaughter), “Why does the VCR keep blinking 12:00?”


Even more unprecedentedly – twice as unprecedented as before – in 2015, the U.S. sent four competitors to the World Stage in Finland. Airistotle (Matt Burns, NY), the three-time reigning US Air Guitar Champion, was accompanied by CindAirella (Beth Melin, MO), Operation Rock-A-Pussy (Michael Lovely, MA), and The Airtiste (Jeffrey Stiles, MA).


In coffee shops from Main Street to Wall Street, in every paper you read and every pundit on TV, people are asking: who will it be? The distinguished challenger from New York, or the wise old man from Brooklyn? The family-values evangelist, the common-sense reformer, or the sharp-tongued rich dude who tells it like it is?


In 2016, it could very well be the establishment candidate Airistotle (Matt Burns) from New York or Brooklyn’s silver-haired populist, The Wizard (Tom Smo). The next coming could indeed be bible-thumper Air Jesus, the sensible Mom Jeans Jeanie (Nicole Sevcik), the longtime DC candidate Shreddy Boop (Athena Kopsidas), or – in a total establishment upset – The Corp-AIR-ation (Brian Reeves) may end up taking the highest prize in the land in the most important decision the United States will make all year: choosing who will represent the stars and stripes as the US Air Guitar Champion.




With unprecedented levels of talent from a historic number of top-tier competitors last year, US Air Guitar has expanded to six Championship shows in Boston, DC, Chicago, Kansas City, Portland & San Diego (tickets available here). And while the excitement of a US Air Guitar show is best experienced live, fans across the world can now submerge themselves in 360° Virtual Reality footage featured on, where they can also see fan-shot photos and video by following the hashtag #usairguitar all season long. Concertgoers are encouraged to shoot their own photos and video and can follow the results across the country on the blog, Facebook Page, Instagram and @usairguitar Twitter account.




Competitor registration for the official qualifier and semifinal rounds is currently underway here. Each qualifying competition will send at least two air guitarists to its region’s championship, where they will be judged on their technical merit, stage presence and, of course, “airness.” Complete rules are available here.


Celebrity judges from previous Championships include music legends Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Ben Fong-Torres (Rolling Stone), comedians Kristen Schaal (30 Rock) and Aidy Bryant (SNL), and bestselling business author Malcom Gladwell (Tipping Point, David and Goliath). This year’s judges will be held to the strictest levels of airjudication, scoring on the 4.0 to 6.0 Olympic Figure Skating Scale, wherein the highest and lowest scores are eliminated to prevent any scoring scandals.







Astoria, NY –  Lawrence, KS – Staten Island, NY – Brooklyn, NY – San Francisco, CA – Los Angeles, CA, Boise, ID – Sacramento, CA – Nashville, TN – Denver, CO – Seattle, WA – Santa Cruz, CA – Des Moines, IA – Salt Lake City, UT – Baltimore, MD



Host and judges for each qualifier are picked by local Organizers. Formats for qualifiers may vary at the discretion of local organizers. Other cities who are interested in hosting Qualifiers can do so by contacting US Air Guitar.




Date Event City & Venue/Tickets
Fri June 17 US Air Guitar Championships - Semifinal Portland @ Dante’s
Sat June 18 US Air Guitar Championships - Semifinal San Diego @ The Merrow
Fri June 24 US Air Guitar Championships - Semifinal Chicago @ Subterranean
Sat July 2 US Air Guitar Championships - Semifinal Boston @ The Middle East
Sat July 9 US Air Guitar Championships - Semifinal Kansas City, KS @ Kanza Hall
Sat July 16 US Air Guitar Championships - Semifinal Washington, DC @ The Black Cat
Sat August 6 US Air Guitar National Finals Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room

The top three winners from each semifinal competition will advance to the 2016 US Air Guitar National Finals in Austin. The winner of the National Finals will represent the USA in the Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland.




About the US Air Guitar Championships


Founded in 2003, US Air Guitar is the official Air Guitar Association of the United States and is responsible for operating the US Air Guitar Championships and other official local and private events. US

Air Guitar is devoted to taking our nation's unofficial pastime out of the bedroom and putting it up on the world stage. US Air Guitar is an official member of the World Air Guitar Association. Entering its fourteenth anniversary in the US and its twenty-first year worldwide, official national championships currently are held in 24 countries around the globe including the USA, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, with new countries participating every year. The 2016 Air Guitar World Championships will take place this August 26 in Oulu, Finland.


“It is for good reason that competitive air guitar is widely considered the purest form of human entertainment. By making the heart of the matter invisible—by objectifying nothing—air guitar derives its legitimacy not from some received expectation of cultural value, but rather from the mere presence of the people gathered to bear witness. The competitors, the judges and the crowd are the only proof that this event even exists. And as a result, its meaning is purely subjective. Every air guitar is an empty vessel, resistant to banal interpretation. And thus, impossible to destroy."

–Kriston Rucker, co-commissioner, US Air Guitar


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