Mikko Arhippainen, Jarkko Heikkinen, Joonas Kerttula, Vesa Tyni, Omvf
Oulun Musiikkivideofestivaali, OMVF is an urban festival for music and moving picture, existing since 1994. OMVF was first organized and invented by students, who made music videos. Since then, the festival has evolved and includes today also full feature films, live music, clubs and all sort of things that go together with a festival, which ends with the „Pumpeligaala“, (the name makes as much sense in English as it makes in Finnish) where the best music videos of the year are awarded. At the same time, in order to avoid travelling to Oulu twice, the already 15-year-old freak show called Air Guitar World Championships are organized, during the last warm days of the late summer, or during the first cold days of the autumn. This time it was rather the latter, August 25-29, 2010 as the festivities took place.
Despite the half empty – or half full – studios and film theatres the amount of visitors was this time higher than the year before about 13.500 guests joined the festival during those five days.
Right away on Thursday, after having checked in into my hotel, I rushed to the Valve, where most of the shows were held. First in the spotlight was Jukka Takalo, , a commendable music video director and the frontman of a band called Aknestik, which was set up in the mid 80´s. Takalo is also one of the founders of the Air Guitar Festival. We got to see a retrospective glimpse through his career as a music video director. The curly-haired man charmed his small audience easily by giving them a little plastic bag filled with sweets to share. Takalo showed a couple of films and then he shared a few pieces of biographical information with us. It were exactly these little comments that made the videos very special. However, I have to admit that after finding out that the woman in the film - in the bath or walking hand in hand with Takalo - was his former girlfriend, I wasn´t concentrating on the video storyline. I had to ask myself, how must he feel watching the films after such a long time. Besides this ex-girlfriend issue, it felt like complete strangers are browsing through his private photo album. Every time as the light went on, or later when I bumped into him during the festival, I felt a bit awkward. Without Takalo´s interesting details, there would have been only 15 nice music videos, presenting past themes and trends in a more or less timeless way. Which might also have been a nice start for the upcoming days.
Next it was the turn of a sympathetic Finn, Karri Miettinen aka Paleface. Palface is a hip-hop musician, who so far had been rhymeing only in Finnish but in September he is releasing his first album in Finnish. Carte Blanche is the name of the show, where celebrities present videos that they wanted people to see. Paleface, who later that evening was performing in the Air Guitar opening ceremony, used the motto „Even if MTV dies, musicvideo doesn´t“. The uncensored Prodigy video „Smack my bitch up“ got special gratitude from the audience. The art director of the festival, Taina Ronkainen told us that they had requested a special permission from the video director Jonas Åkerlund. The last videos were Finnish, whereby Paleface mentioned, that slowly the minorities that live in Finland, like Romani people and other immigrants, leave their marks on the Hip-Hop scene. Finally Paleface showed two of his own videos, „Back to square one“ and „Gently“. He wanted to demonstrate the incredibly effective trend on the 90´s, where the main character simply walks on the street and looks into the camera. The directors of his videos were so impressed by this style, that they ended up using it in two of them. Paleface likes to talk and you also enjoy listening to him, therefore it is a shame that there wasn´t much time for discussions. I personally would rather have skipped a few videos, since there was someone ready to talk more than just announcing the next clip.
After Palface left the building, the musician Samuli Putro brought a few viewers more with him. Putro had picked up also around 15 videos, which he presented in „pairs“, so to speak. Each „pair“ had been made about in the same time, one in the USA and the other one in Finland. The videos were from the 80´s until the 90´s and even though today on the streets the fashion of the previous decades can be admired, I simply was dazzled by the aesthetics and storytelling of that time. Interestingly Putro had quite a few theories to the position of a woman in the music business. For example, he was wondering if a woman can reclaim her status in music only with making a long career, whereas a man only needs to be a cool guy. To support his thought, he mentioned Tina Turner and the Finnish singer Maarit Hurmerinta. Unfortunantely the co-moderator wasn´t too eager to discuss Putro´s theories. Anyhow, the co-moderator ended the event with an interesting statement, that probably the only thing that doesn´t get old, is Heavy Metal. Might be true.
The third experience of the day was The Air Guitar World Championships. A real air guitarist obviously has to - no matter how the weather situation - perform in skintight pants, and if possible without covering the upper torso. Despite the coldness, there came around 8000 people to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the competition.
Two French shared the first two ranks; whether it were his golden pants or his acrobatic air guitar playing, Sylvain „Günther Love“ Quimene with 33,9 points won already for the second time! Next best was Soraya „Eva Gina Runner“ Garlenq, who scored 33,4 points. Cole Manson, aka Johny Utah took the third place.
Air Guitar World Championship Final 2010 results 1. Sylvain “Günther Love” Quimene (FR) 33,9
2. Soraya “Eva Gina Runner” Garlenq (FR) 33,4
3. Cole “Johnny Utah” Manson (CA) 33,1
4. Corentin “AirGus” Fermont (BE) 32,6
5. Chuah “L-Bird” Eng Beng (MY) 32,5
6. Aapo “Little Angus” Rautio (FI) 32,4
6. Kevin “Narvalwaker” Leloux (BE) 32,4
8. Cameron “Tommy Thundah” Bunney (AU) 32,3
9. Toshihiko “SUNANEY” Sunabe (JP) 32,1
10. Peter “Pete Peacemaker” Kuriscák (SK) 31,4
11. Matt "Romeo DanceCheetah" Cornelison (US) 16,0
12. Christian ”Heart Buckboard” Sweep (DE) 15,8
13. Kirill “Your Daddy” Blumenkrantz (RU) 15,7
13. Karla "Gotika" Mendoza (MX) 15,7
15. Thom "W!ld Th!ng 37" Wilding (UK) 15,5
16. Bedrich"Mr Babinoska" Levi (CZ) 15,4
17. Dirk "Swiss Dirty Airy" Lüdi (CH) 15,2
17. Eero "Oulun oma poika" Ojala (FI) 15,2
19. Rezo "Baron horse-stealer" Gamrekelidze (UA) 15,1
20. Soren "Big G" Stenbjerg Gregersen (DK) 15,0
21. Deku "Deku Chan" Chan (IE) 14,9
22. Alan "Xirtam" Foster (BR) 14,8
23. Alexander "Devilseducer" Gott (RU) 14,6
The Saturday was reserved for M.A. Numminen and for the Pumpeligaala. The already 70-years-old artist Numminen was welcomed to the celebration of his career, by the audience singing him „Happy birthday to you“. Numminen was being on a critical mood; he gave his share of feedback to the Fininsh TV-station, which had shown some of his works only once and even as he offered them his videos, they showed no interest. Every now and then one could also read between the lines, that he was critisizing also the Finnish audience by comparing it with the German or Swedish ones. For example his short film about Finnish bar culture was highly appreciated only in Germany. To the question of a laughing woman from the audience, why was he dancing in his pyjamas while singing Wittgenstein, Numminen answered something like „You see it yourself, in such a way philosophy is much more fun!“
I had no idea what to expect form the Pumpeligaala. I was positively surprised as it came clear to me how much the organizers had made an effort for the last big show; there was live music, some dace shows, and the moderator Katja Såhl pulled through marvellously with her role, sometimes as a sexy priest, as a flower and in the end as a glamour-lady. However, I don´t know why she had chosen this interview mode with the directors; she gave them no chance to express themselves by blabbering them over. So there were no „I thank God and my parents”-speeches.
Conclusion: The staff was super nice; at the same time they had to take care of- sometimes too late arriving - audience and still were not forgetting the guests on stage. The atmosphere was easy-going but as mentioned above, a bit more time for discussion in between the video presentations would have been nice. The Air Guitar event was highlighted with fireworks above the lake, during which the contestants were celebrating in an obviously excellent team spirit. At Pumpeligaala they had set up two big screens for the winner videos, outside there were enough places where one could satisfy all needs. The party itself was in a huge circus tent and there were enough people to keep up the atmosphere. Show-value and fluent organisation worked hand in hand. Therefore my all-in-all grade for the OMVF and for The Air Guitar World Championships is