Erik ‘Mean’ Melin is the new Air Guitar World Champion after winning the mock annual contest in the northern Finnish town of Oulu. The contest, which has been held in Oulu since it was first introduced as part of the annual Oulu Music Video Festival in 1996, has been won by foreign artists from countries including New Zealand and Japan since 2001.
Before then it was the Finnish group Airheads who claimed the prize five years on the bounce.
This year’s winner, Eric ‘Mean’ Melin, hails from Kansas and becomes the fifth American to claim the prize. His energetic over-the-top rock style, played out to the tune of Hash Pipe by Weezer saw him pip flamboyant headbanger Doug ‘The Thunder’ Stroock to first place.
The top five consisted of four Americans, with the UK’s Thom ‘W!ld Th!ng 37’ Wilding claiming third place. The reigning champion, Justin ‘Nordic Thunder’ Howard finished in fourth position.
The jury consisted of three Finns and directors of competitions in the US and Germany. The winner was awarded a transparent, Flying Finn electric guitar designed by Finnish Guitar Works’ Matti Nevalainen. A large number of interested spectators tuned in to stream the final live online.