1982 in Milwaukee: Blackface, Air Bands, and 15,000 Spectators

35 groups competed in an air band contest, sponsored by PBR and WQFM. The top seven bands went on to compete at Summerfest (also in Milwaukee), where the performance attracted approximately 15,000 fans. Here’s a newspaper clipping from the Milwaukee Sentinel (7/16/82):

Screenshot 2014-06-02 11.13.53

The article goes on to describe that the Air Supremes’ male performers modeled stage personas off of Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross (the real Supremes). Here’s more from the article:

Screenshot 2014-06-02 11.22.59

This kind of explicit impersonation appears to have faded from contemporary air guitar competitions.

 

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