This year’s San Diego U.S. Air Guitar competition has taken shape, for the first time, as a grassroots affair.
Jason Farnan (aka Lieutenant Facemelter, the 2010 and 2012 San Diego air-guitar champion) is taking the reins as both the event’s host and promoter. The major change is that the San Diego stop is now one of many “qualifiers,” which will be set up by, in most cases, local veterans of the air-guitar circuit. In the past, one winner from each city on the tour won a free trip to the finals. This year, two contestants from each city will qualify.
“This certainly creates an advantage for potential competitors,” Farnan says. “And since last year’s regional winners get a free pass to semifinals [Farnan included], it also opens up an opportunity for newcomers to win a city that might normally be won by a seasoned veteran.”
Farnan says the changes will also allow the promoters in each city to tailor each event to their particular tastes.
“The great thing about the new format is that U.S. Air Guitar is allowing locals to license their own shows and run them in any way they want. This gives us a real grassroots approach, as it allows us to work with any sponsors we can get, advertise in any format we can find, and run the show in our own, unique way to draw more people in.” For example, Steve Weinberger, local author of the book No Air Guitar Allowed, has “generously offered up a few books to give away at the show. I thought it was a pretty fun collaboration to have a book with that title be given away at the air-guitar competition.”
Since Farnan will be busy hosting the show, San Diego is wide open for new talent to conquer the evening.
What is it about getting onstage and sacrificing all your dignity in the service of a rock song?
“The art of air guitar is all about loving a song so much you can’t help but wish you were a part of it,” Farnan explains.
The U.S. Air Guitar San Diego qualifier takes place at the Casbah on Saturday, June 29.