Breathe Festival 2015: A Quick Reflection

Breathe Fest 2015: A Quick Reflection
By Gabriel Skvor

Photo courtesy of Breathe Festival

Fall is passing quickly and as winter approaches in Chicago we’re thinking again about slacklining in sub-zero temps and blocking the wind-chill stats from our minds. All winter we look forward to the summer.

As a slacklining community in an urban area, where we have to lay low to not bring unwanted attention from the park’s department, we like to go all out when those warm temps hit.

Note: I’m biased because I helped organize the Breathe Festival (but ask anyone who attended what their honest opinion is/was)

Partly, that’s why the Breathe Slackline and Discovery Festival exists. We want to celebrate the sport and the community by bringing everyone together for a good time in the Midwest countryside. We slackline, do yoga, swim in a pond, dance at night, allow love to ebb and flow and connect in a bucolic setting on a farm where no one is telling us we can’t set up over 50 lines ranging from longlines to tricklines to rodeolines to a spacenet (and a waterline) over the pond.

Bottom line is: we rage hard for an entire weekend and want as many slackers, yogis and likeminded folk to come out to a welcoming environment to say hi and take steps on lines with us.

During Breathe’s inaugural year, the one thing that stood out for me was spending alone-time in the longline field surrounded by lightning bugs suspended and blinking all around me as if I was walking on another planet (lightning bugs are a new thing in my life; grew up in California where we don’t have those, so I lose my marbles every time I see them).

During this year’s Breathe Fest, although I didn’t have a transcendent experience with insects (though I still lost it when I saw them), I was brought to tears during one of the workshops I attended.

Photo courtesy of Breathe Festival

Workshops are a new thing for Breathe, and were successful enough to continue next year.

The Guitar As Meditation workshop lead by Michael Matrejek (also Breathe’s founder) was my defining moment of this year’s Breathe. The twelve to fifteen of us who were lucky enough took away that one person’s dream can manifest if it’s pure of heart. That old cliché “build it and they will come” is the foundation for Breathe; Matrejek built the festival with a foundation starting from his heart and now we’re planning year number 3.

In several months the Breathe Facebook page will start updating with information on the 2016 festival. We’ve already reserved the weekend of July 15-17 at Stonehouse Farms, and we’re all psyched to go back, work our butts off and show everyone a good time. It’ll be nice to see the festival grow with more new faces enjoying our labor of love.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the surprise year number three has in store.

Gabriel is a writer, slackliner, and climber based in Illinois.

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