The Conversation: Air Guitar Championships

"Musicians" might get little respect but there's no denying their passion.

Aug. 27, 2010— -- Ever played air guitar? Many people have strummed the imaginary strings in the crowd of a concert, but what about on stage? As a soloist?

For the folks competing in the Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland, right now, the invisible axe is serious business.

Organizers are hosting the 15th annual world championships this week, with plenty of blaring music, flashing lights and shocking costumes. In the course of the four-day event, contestants will get 60 seconds to strut and pose through a song of their choice, and then improvise a performance with a song that's kept secret from them.

There's also a sizable audience to witness the unconventional rock stars. Last year's championships drew a crowd of 5,500 people.

"There are a few merits that we are looking for," festival producer Susanna Kyllönen said. "First we are looking for, of course, the technical merits, uniqueness, stage presence, originality, and then there's the most important one; the 'airness' quality."

And in a stroke of irony, the winner of the contest gets ... a real guitar. All the better to practice for next year's championship.

But the contest is about more than some eye-popping performances. Organizers say they believe that playing air guitar can achieve world peace.

"The founders came up with this crazy idea that if all the people in the world played air guitar, there wouldn't be wars, because when you're holding an air guitar in your hands, you can't hold a gun," Kyllönen said.

Today on the Conversation, Kyllönen spoke with ABC's Jeremy Hubbard about this one-of-a-kind global competition.

We hope you'll watch ... and listen.

Click here to watch more from the Conversation series.

Click here to return to the "World News" page.