The industry of viral social experiments, such as Slide The City, has been one of cautious yet steady growth.
The message is simple. Put together a large event that will allow the community to engage with one another in a fantastically dramatic way.
Slide The City offers this opportunity by setting up a water slide which attempts to reach back into the nostalgic days of front yard water slides that a lot of kids were into back in the 80s, but it puts the concept of a water slide on a larger, community scale, taking advantage of naturally elevated sections of a city for 1,000 feet in length.
Along with public events such as flash mobs or mud races — which are known to grab a lot of attention — Slide The City has become just as popular since its inception in 2014.
According to N&R Greensboro, spokesperson Amy Gessel says that Slide The City “takes a crew about five hours to set up the slide, and that Slide the City partners with charities to provide volunteers to help”.
The Inquisitr reported on a slide called Verruckt which opened at Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn Park, touted as the world’s tallest water slide at 168 feet, which — without safety measures put into its design — likely could not be the length of the Slide The City slide.
The idea of sliding through a city certainly makes for the perfect dream-like scenario, but the injuries which many participants have suffered put Slide The City in a more realistic light.
When the events first started, sliders were all going together at the same time as shown in the promotional video, were crashing into each other, resulting in reported injuries of broken teeth and bones, which certainly leaves the company open to lawsuits.
But the creators admitted that the early phases of the community building event was all a matter of trial and error. Now, they only allow one slider, with enough space between another and mouth guards.
But even more of a reality does for the Utah based company is what it takes to put these events together. For instance, last August Decaturish reported that Slide The City was initially planning to put on a fundraising event in Decatur but due to some city water issues, it was rescheduled until September.
The fact that the events require gallons of water has been at the center of the difficult process of successfully putting on these events, along with securing permits on time.
In the report, one of the co-founders, who manages the water for Slide The City, was quoted when talking about the amount of water used and the plans to recycle it, with the support of L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar.
“T.R. Gourley, ‘president of water’ for Slide The City, said between 15,000 and 20,000 gallons of water are used in the course of the day. They’re treated chemically like pool water before being recycled.”
While there are concerns about water waste in all largely populated areas, this issue is one of greater concern in Los Angeles because of the drought conditions in the state of California.
In September, the Los Angeles Times reported that Slide The City event had finally been “postponed” due to the city denying permits. Slide The City organizers also tried to place the event in Sacramento, but the event was cancelled for the same reasons. The event was moved putting it in Reno instead.
The effort to stop the event due to water concerns had been petitioned, gathering 11 thousand signatures with the suggestion that Slide The City not look to California for their event out of respect for the state’s drought issues. Thus far, the Slide The City website location list does not have California on it, possibly heeding that advice.
Sack Lunch Productions, the company behind the slip-‘n-slide styled event, seems to indicate that this was the case via their Twitter account.
For better insight into how the event comes together, The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel provides a detailed account of how Slide The City has to maneuver their way through different possible failures over successes in what the writer refers to as a ‘logistical minefield’.
“Those events that have been canceled, it’s simply because either we cancel the event and we lose a few thousand dollars, or we put the event on and we lose $50,000,” Ward said.
Steve Ward is the franchisee for Slide The City company for Milwaukee.
Co-founder John Malfatto has been involved in many similar social events, such as Color Me Rad, and the Dirty Dash, which are also founded with T.R. Gourley.
Slide The City had its first run in July 2014 in Salt Lake City.