Air Guitar World Championships

23.–25.8.2023 Oulu, Finland

Introducing the honorable judges!

Dark Horses Judges

The Dark Horses qualifying rounds are held at the 45 Special club, on Thursday 24th of August. The contestants will be carefully evaluated by the five following judges:

Aaron Gorman is an Irish Youtuber who lives in Oulu. He makes videos talking about Irish and Finnish culture, history and mythology! And also, video game based videos!

Darja Zaitsev is the Executive Director and Curator of Photo North – Northern Photographic Centre. Zaitsev is drawn to the diversity and materiality of photographic art, striving to create spaces for various interactions. Zaitsev looks forward to artistic air guitar experiences with a touch of humor.

Anu Arango Enqvist is a theatre professional from Oulu directing, teaching and acting in many productions.

Antti Kairakari is an Oulu based writer and producer, co-founder of Film & TV production company Whatevergroup, and profoundly jack-of-all-trades. He built a ship and started a bar with the education of a dancer.

Harri Filppa is a Cartoonist, Comic Theorist and Director at Oulu Comics Center.


The Final Judges

The Air Guitar World Championships final is held at the Rotuaari square, in Oulu City Centre on Friday 25th of August. The qualified Dark Horses, National Champions, and the reigning world champion Kirill “Guitarantula” Blumenkrants will be evaluated by the following five judges:

For over two decades, Juha Torvinen has led the jury, his wide-ranging experience guiding the decisions since 1996. Among the many times he’s been there, only once was he elsewhere, as he swapped the judge’s seat for the stage to rock out on stage with his legendary band, Eppu Normaali. So, beyond his well-deserved acclaim as an air guitar judge, Juha Torvinen is also a true musical maestro.

It brings us great joy to have Hanna, the event’s producer from 2017 to 2022 back with us, as she is an important part of our AGWC family. After studying cultural management, Hanna has continued to channel her passion and expertise into the world of sustainable event management across Finland. Bringing five years of front-row experience, she undoubtedly steps into the role of a judge with exceptional insight.

Taking on the role of air guitar judge, Sami Ylisaari, Oulu’s Director of Culture, is a newcomer in this arena. However, he’s no stranger to being both a critic and a target of critique. With a background in both theatre and figure skating, appreciation of the dramatic arc and handing out points are ingrained in his core!

Anne-Maria Mäkelä, originally from Oulu, has lived in Helsinki as a Cultural Manager for a long time. She has just completed her Master’s Degree from The Sibelius Academy’s Arts Management Program. With over a decade of experience in the cultural field, she currently works as a project manager at the Oulu Cultural Foundation and also as an artist-producer at Flow Festival. She loves music, and can’t wait to hear how the sound of air guitars fills Rotuaari at the end of August.

Viera is a Startup Program Manager at BusinessOulu and Vice Chairman of the Association of Ukrainians in Northern Ostrobothnia. Having a music education background and active work with startups, Viera is all about blending of innovation and rhythm. Viera believes that melodies aren’t just heard – they’re felt. Now, as a judge, she is looking forward to seeing how contestants’ music choices and original moves will set the stage on fire.