Wannabe Jimi Hendrix guitarists to hit Islington stage

Budding rock gods can prove their plucking prowess next week as the national air guitar competition hits Islington.

The sixth annual Air Guitar UK championships will take place at the Relentless Garage in Holloway Road, Highbury, on August 20, giving virtual axemen the chance to compete for a chance to represent Britain at the world finals in Finland.

Twenty of the finest air guitarists will play for 50 seconds to music of their own choosing, with the top few making it to the final round where they must strum to a song picked by the judges.

If two contestants cannot be separated at the end, they will do battle in an ‘air-off’ in front of 500 fans.

The competition is the brainchild of Zac Monro, 41, a two- time world champion and the first non-Fin to claim the top prize. He puts his success down to “passion, a bit of angst and to a certain extent beer”.

He said: “Air guitar can help alleviate the pressures of daily life – if you put some music on and play a few bars, somehow life doesn’t seem so bad.

“One of the ambitions of the world championships is to promote world peace. It is very hard to hold a weapon with an air guitar in your hands.

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“We are in partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust, so if we don’t stop all war, maybe we can raise awareness of that.”

Keen for more local contestants to enter the competition, Mr Munro, who competes under the name The Magnet, said: “We don’t get many people from Islington so it would be nice to have more this year.

“People should know that you can pick your own music – classical, flamenco, even jazz is OK, but bear the crowd in mind.

“You need a 50/50 mix of charisma and ability, one without the other is no good.

“Know your track, be confident and don’t be frightened. The crowd can be intimidating, but you have to think to yourself ‘this is air guitar, I can turn the crowd round and prove myself a champion’.”

He added: “We have really high production values and it should look really good. People come along and think ‘what have we come to?’ but after half an hour they start going for it.”

n You can enter the competition by going to www.airguitaruk.com.