Air Guitars at Kazakstan

 

 

JUSTIN "NORDIC THUNDER" HOWARD VISITED ASTANA EXPO AT KAZAKSTAN COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO. HERE ARE HIS THOUGHTS ON THE AMAZING TRIP!

 


HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE IN ASTANA?

The World Expo in Astana was an incredible experience and one I won’t soon forget.  This wasn’t the first time I have been a representative of Oulu as I have been a guest to the travel fair in Helsinki twice, but this was the first time I have been a representative to the country of Finland on a global scale.  Having the privilege to be invited to the other side of the planet to represent a country I truly love was an honor I never imagined would be bestowed upon me. 

There were 115 countries on display at the expo in Astana, and I can say without a doubt that Finland left its mark on those in attendance to the expo.  The entire Business Oulu crew were exceptionally professional and those who presented during the breakout sessions shared with the world that Finland, especially Oulu, is THE place of innovation and technology.  And also home to some crazy folks like a magician, a polar bear, and a half naked man who plays air guitar. 


WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE DID YOU GET? 

Our team in Astana was received exceptionally well and we certainly were the “crazy Finns”.  This was especially noticeable during our concert that took place in the city center where several thousands of people came to watch Finland display some of its cultural exports.  This was also the first time in my career as an air guitarist where I felt like a “real rock star”.  Once I finished my 6 minutes and 66 seconds of Slayer, I stepped off the stage after closing the concert to find a sea of people wanting to take photographs with me. 

I have never experienced anything like this and I doubt I ever will again.  The people of Astana were so supportive and full of love.  You can ask any of us who were there…you could FEEL the good vibes in the air.  Lots of sweaty hugs were given, smiles were shared and I even had parents who handed me their babies to hold.  We were all made to feel welcomed and loved by the people of Astana.  In fact, I felt the love there so much that it is my hope to return and help establish a Kazakhstan air guitar championships. 


WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS YEARS' CHAMPIONSHIPS? 

My expectations for this year’s championships may come as a surprise to some, in that my expectations are pretty high.  Just maybe not in the areas some might think.  This is the 11th year I have been a competitive air guitarist and I have discovered a lot about life while being involved in this world of make believe guitar playing.  I have learned to love and accept people, myself included, for who they are.  I have learned to be more compassionate and understanding.  I think these are also lessons many learn when they enter the world of air guitar if they are willing to see past the invisible guitar itself. 

The Air Guitar World Championships is about so much more than just a competition.  And Oulu is so much more than just a city that hosts this whacky competition.  The Air Guitar World Championships is like a giant ship that delivers people from all walks of life from all corners of the world to the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia.  And once there, Oulu acts as a bridge that unites us all together with the purpose of bringing like-minded individuals together to spread the real message of competitive air guitar.  And as you know, that message is one of world peace.  Air guitarists in my eyes aren’t only ambassadors of their countries, but they are also ambassadors of peace. 

My theory is that if all of us air guitarists can come together and ignore our home countries political beliefs, religious beliefs, or whatever other conflicts may be happening and focus on good will, peace and understanding…then there’s no reason at all those “in charge” of the world can’t do the same. So, my expectations are high in that I expect those who are coming to the AGWC to be open minded, loving and understanding individuals. Oh, and they MUST like to have fun. And enjoying pizza on the sidewalk at 4:00am doesn’t hurt either. 




Fri 30 Jun 2017

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