An “air guitar” is an imaginary guitar that one pretends to play.
Running an air guitar contest is simple. Well, it takes time and effort, maybe even money, but anyone can start a competition. Research the history of air guitar contests, look into what you are willing to spend, and then put your foot to the pedal and start planning. You can adapt these ideas to lead a small contest in your backyard, or even run a full-scale competition at a stadium. Whatever you decide, just know that pretending isn’t going to be enough for this task.
1. Invent rules and regulations for your air guitar contest. The United States already has official rules for a competition through U.S. Air Guitar, an official air guitar association. They are responsible for operating the U.S. Air Guitar Championships, official regional events and specialized championships. But since this is your personal project, you can choose whether you want to abide by these international rules. See “Official Rules of Competition” in the Resources section for more information on obey the rules set forth by the Air Guitar World Championships.
2. Implement the judging criteria. All performances should be scored by a panel of independent judges. A single score should be given to each air guitarist, based on their overall performance in a round. For example, the U.S. Air Guitar has specific judging criteria for which they assign scores to air guitarists. The scores reflect the quality of performances based on three key criteria: technical merit, stage presence and “airiness.” You can decide whether you want to abide by these international criteria. See “Judging Criteria” in Resources for more information on obey the rules set forth by the Air Guitar World Championships.
3. Create an application for air guitarists to enter into your contest. Use Microsoft Word, or any text editing software, to make a simple application that requires the performer’s name, stage name, birth date, contact information or any other specific information that you desire from an applicant. Be sure to not invade an air guitarist’s personal privacy, such as requiring a social security number or credit card information from them. This can protect you from compromising situations in the future. For legal and tax purposes, if you require an application fee, make sure all proceeds from the contest are fully documented and reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
4. Find a venue for the contest. The venue should hold the approximate amount of performers and guests that you expect to attend. Make sure you have any local or state permits required to hold a contest publicly. Again, if you choose to charge admission, make sure all proceeds from the contest are fully documented and reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. For more information on find a venue, see “Event Planning” in Resources.
5. Advertise a contest date and application deadline. Notify the public that your contest is separate from the U.S. Air Guitar and Air Guitar World Championships, if applicable. The public also should know when and where the contest is, and how they can apply as an air guitarist or purchase tickets to attend the contest. Also, contact local media to film or cover the event. If you have any hopes of making this contest an annual contest, be sure to contact the media to cover your air guitar competition. For more information on advertise your event, see “Advertise” in Resources.
6. Hire a panel of independent judges. Again, if you choose to pay these judges, fully documented any exchange of goods for services and report it to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The judges should not be allowed to compete, nor should they have family members or friends competing. The panel needs to execute scores with a completely unbiased viewpoint.
7. Conduct the contest effectively and award prizes to the air guitarists. You are not required to give a reward to the winning contestants; after all, this is your competition. But if you want many applicants or are planning on an annual competition, be sure to give either a trophy or a cash award. This will encourage the success of your venture. The U.S. Air Guitar competition awards prizes to the winner of each regional city, as well as to the overall winner of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships. You can decide whether you want to abide by these prize standards. See “Prizes” in Resources for more information on obey the rules set forth by the Air Guitar World Championships.