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Oulu Rocks Out with Air Guitars and Aging Punks

Northern Finland's largest city, Oulu, resounded with brash rock music on Friday night as it hosted both the Air Guitar World Championships and a concert by reunited punk pioneers the Sex Pistols. Craig Billmeier of the United States won this year's Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu. His prize was a handmade translucent Flying Finn electric guitar. Silver and bronze went to imaginary guitarists from the Netherlands and Canada. Altogether 20 finalists from 16 countries took part. The tongue-in-cheek Air Guitar contest has been held during the Oulu Music Video Festival since 1996. Banned in '78, Sex Pistols Head North Also on Friday night in Oulu, the pioneering punk band the Sex Pistols played their second show ever in Finland. The first was in Lahti in 1996 as part of their 'Filthy Lucre' reunion tour. The third was Saturday night in Helsinki -- a concert delayed by three decades. The band was originally scheduled to play in Helsinki in 1978, but they were forbidden from entering the country after child protection and youth agencies protested that they would be a bad influence on Finnish youth. Opposition to the band's appearance was spearheaded by the leading daily Helsingin Sanomat, which wrote in early 1978: "The English punk rock group Sex Pistols, whom even the youth magazines refer to as a foul-mouth pack of rogues, is coming to howl in Finland." YLE

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