“Imagine being a few (or a few hundred) feet off the ground, steadying yourself upon a webbing not broader than an inch or two, with the wind beating against your face. Imagine a beautiful lush meadow and a setting sun at the backdrop. You’re able to hold yourself upright a few feet off the ground, then take a few steps, and it feels like you’re weightless, walking into the sunset.”

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2016 has been a good year, at least in terms of extreme sports. What better way to end it and begin a new one than with learning a new sport and hanging with the outdoorsy community in the Sahyadri hills? Slackline pioneer Samar Farooqui and his team have put together India’s first of a kind slack festival this New Years. This will be the festival that brings the adventurous from all over the country together, introducing new members to the outdoors by camping under the stars, getting the hang of slacklining, and even testing the limits by attempting to walk along highlines (a line that is tied between two cliffs, at a height of more than a hundred feet), and trying several other outdoor activities.

Samar tells us more about the festival and how it was brought to life.

Can you tell me about the process of planning this event? How you thought of it and how you managed to put it together?

The idea has always been there in the back of my mind. The seed of this idea was planted in 2014 when I went to Urban Highline Festival in Poland. I saw the awesome vibe that comes about when like minded people gather to share their experiences and passion of slacklining and the outdoors.

Why I decided to make this happen over New Years was also a fairly simple thought process as well. Often people say that wanna break away from the mainstream, try something new. Usually New Years are associated with New Beginnings. So I spoke a few friends from the slackline community of India. They thought it was a good Idea. And we started working together to make this happen.

How we managed to put it together was purely by belief and community support. We knew that even if we don’t get sponsors, the community itself is that awesome that each one will do their bit to make this vision come true.

How long did it take to come to fruition and who’s been a part of the core team?

I came up with this idea on my birthday. Next day, I made some calls, put a team together and we started working towards making this happen. So we’ve been working on this since the 29th September, 2016.

By the end of October, we knew that there were a bunch of us keen and excited to do a highline over the new year’s period.

In November we signed our first sponsor – Mountain Dew. Later we also got sponsorship and support from a bunch of other equipment brands like GIPFEL, Slacktivity and Balance Community.

And this is where we are 2.5 months later.

My core team members are:

Pratik Thakur, Bhupesh Patil, Tanmayi Gidh, Rohit Vartak and Ganesh Geedh.

My main partners on this are:
Sinbad Extreme Sports and Events and Shivdurga Mitra. And obviously the entire slackline community is chipping in a lot of ways.

How many participants/ registrations have you gotten so far and from where?

So far we have 50 odd people who have signed up, with participants from Israel, Germany, Sweden and, of course, India.

Who’s coming to the event that we should be excited for?

The Slackline community of India! It’s honestly a great bunch of people. Full of energy!
If you’re talking in terms of celebrity slackers, this year we have no big names coming but we are making up for that by screening some of the coolest slackline and adventure movies that are out there.

Can people who’ve never slacklined before come too?

Yes, Of course.

This is their opportunity to become a part of this wild and fun living community.

We will have slacklines for everyone and all skill levels.

Specific slacklines for beginners, specific lines for those who want to learn tricks on slackline, specific lines for those who want to learn yoga on the slacklines.

Do you plan to make this a yearly event?

Yes.

Read more about it here

Shimul Bijoor
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