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Recap of the Mayhem Mountain Festival 2023

Recap of the Highlining, Rock Climbing, Yoga, Mayhem Mountain Festival

Congratulations to all those who helped make this year’s festival a success. We are very fond of the volunteers who prepared the venue in the weeks leading up to the event and of the attendees who shared their gear and stoke. The psych for highlining is high and we look forward to seeing the growth of the sport in South Africa. If you didn’t attend this year’s event, you can read about it below.

Highlining at the Mayhem Mountain Festival 2023

7 Highlines and Many First Steps

The seven highlines rigged at Mayhem this year did well to test our mettle. The shortest measured at 20 meters (at a similar height of exposure) while the longest spanned across 180 meters. The introductory lines were rigged on nylon webbing and saw an impressive number of visits over the weekend. The contribution of gear and time from the attending slackliners exemplifies the community ethos and helped to make an event we can all get psyched on!

Highline workshops on Saturday and Sunday helped prepare those new to highlining for the evening attempts on Excalibra (20m), Mehyam o Mayhem (30m), Noodle in the mist (50m), and James’ Line (65m). The longer lines were all rigged on Slack Gear’s Great White webbing and stood as a test of any highliners mettle. If you are confident walking across a shorter highline, Kaalbooi’s crossing at 89m, is the perfect challenge before you attempt to cross the bigger gaps.

The longest of the lines saw fewer crossings, with Mullet Supreme (120m), and New age Jurassic Park (180m) welcoming some great attempts. Overall, the lines at the festival proved to be the perfect training ground for anyone wanting to embrace the void, learn to Highline, or to try a new skill.

Swart and Laurence Higlining

Adventure Activities Available

Highline Silks Workshop

On Saturday we witnessed Nicole performing on silks suspended from the 50m line. She shared her love for silks in a workshop covering the basics and Mienke and Lea bravely made their way into the void. They practiced their newly developed skills and were cheered on by the evening crowd.

Sports Climbing in Mayhem Crag

The Mayhem Crag with it’s tall red sandstone faces is home to some incredible sports climbing routes directly below the highlights. Climbing in the area is near limitless, with more than 100 established routes in Mayhem Mountain. On Saturday, Jess B and Aidan shared some climbing beta at ‘the library’ which hosts easier grade climbs shaded from the afternoon sun.

Exploring the Area Trail Running

Saturday morning set the scene for a beautiful trail run, led by Karine, through the indigenous forests below the festival venue. Running in a group provided a fun and social setting while exploring the natural beauty and quiet found in this area. 

Grow and Flow Yoga

We met in the ‘Grow and Flow’ space to open our hearts and build flexibility with Joff during his lovely yoga class on Friday morning. The movements prepared us for a day of tackling lines and rock climbs. Each day we were treated to a different class, with Jess leading us into a warm practice on Saturday morning. We embraced the sunlight, let it into our bodies, and found ourselves in a beautiful Savasana.

Following a night of dancing, Karine led us through a beautiful and slow Sunday class beneath the red stretch tent on ‘the stoep’. Our bodies thanked us for the movement as our organs squeezed ever so slightly. Seeing the smiles all around and sharing in a final chant brought an incredible feeling of peace.

Slacklining at the Campsite

A variety of one-inch and two-inch-wide slacklines rigged at the campsite saw lots of activity. Festivalgoers found balance throughout the day on the 10-, 15-, and 20-meter lines. Two rodeo lines rigged beneath the ‘meeting point’ tree provided a challenge and kept the youngsters entertained. 

Swimming in Mountain Water

The large dam provided the perfect place to cool off during the heat of the day. Antics in the water included a two-person canoe struggling to keep five climbers afloat, and a long water line that stood unconquered over a 70-meter length

 

Climbing at MMF 2023

Some Unexpected Delights

Waddling Through The Wattles

After an action-packed day and a picturesque sunset over the lines we began to hear a distant ‘doof’ from the bush. Whispers of a party happening in the forest reached the fire during dinner time. We ventured up the path to find Aymeric opening the evening with bouncy electronic and African music. 

Tim followed with hardstyle tracks and kept our feet stomping and bodies moving into the new day. Thanks to Robert for providing his sound and a generator which allowed us to party in the forest.

Flow all through the Festival

Shaun, the Juggle Daddy, brought some beautiful juggling toys which found their way onto the dance floor. The changing colours and lights made for a spectacular sight, gliding through the air amongst the wattles during Tim’s hardstyle set that left the forest floor flatter. The festival is the perfect place to pick up a new skill, and try something you may enjoy!

Delicious Food From Local Vendors

Throughout the festival, the campsite provided the perfect place to refuel. The central fire in the evening fueled our many braais with a satisfying bed of hot coals. Local vendors also catered with Tegwaan selling pancakes, zucchini bread, boiled eggs, and sandwiches on Saturday afternoon. The Aloes Country Inn Pub and Grill provided delicious lasagna with sides, a salad, and dessert on Saturday evening.

To the delight of our younger festivalgoers, we awoke to hunt for Easter surprises around the camp and crag on Sunday morning.


Naturally, the highlight was the Compost Toilets.

In addition to the two toilets and two showers, the outdoor amenities were a pleasant addition to the festival experience. Four locations were selected within the wattle forest for the compost toilets. If you are not familiar with the process, you cover your deposit with sawdust and a heaped cup of Bokashi. The dry material helps to start decomposition and tackle odor. Kaya Farm supplied the Bokashi for the event.

 

Learning to highline at MMF 2023

Building up to the Prizegiving & Closing Ceremony.

On Sunday, while the sun began to set, we assembled overlooking the lines and listened to Swart’s enthusiasm for this community. Tim assisted him in awarding Anj the Venus prize for most improved female highliner, Leo the Mars prize for most improved male highliner, Cas the Moon prize for most stoked, and Rikus and Miller a combined Sun prize for most stoked.

Following a beautiful sunrise on Monday morning we began to de-tension and pack away all the lines before clearing and cleaning the venue. Thanks to all those who assisted in making MMF 2023 so enjoyable. A special mention to Tim Slab, Wesley Antonites, Martinus Swart, Rubin, Camilla, Brady, Sunnyboy, Chris Doman, Lidia Skinner, Kat Odendaal, Jess Lear, Mike Dufresne, Karien, Joff, Anj Jones, Cas Joubert, Leo Dales, Jay Kew, Nicole S, Luca Brice, Mienke Richter, Jonothan Jones, Marno Kotze, Robin, Jamey Rodda, Robert and Kieran.

Laurence

Laurence

The author of Riding the Highline and Slackline Monk of South Africa.

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