The Headbanger Festival celebrates Radium’s most famous residents, the bighorn sheep. File photo

Hands-on Headbanger Festival

Radium’s Headbanger Festival runs November 1-3rd, with something offered for everyone

For a hands-on, interactive, diverse weekend of entertainment and education, sign up now for the 2019 Headbanger Festival.

The annual celebration, held in Radium Hot Springs, honours bighorn sheep and the mountain culture found within this unique Columbia Valley community. This year, organizers are putting a new spin on this event, said Erin Palashniuk, Radium Chamber of Commerce president.

“It’s a few more hands-on type experiences we’re trying to offer,” said Ms. Palashniuk. “We received a lot of feedback that people like the outdoor hikes and natural experiences.”

Ms. Palashniuk said they specifically wanted to tailor the Headbanger Festival to be more interactive. With this model, attendees will walk away with a good learning experience in hand. The plan was made easier thanks to the talented pool of local instructors in the Valley able to bring a more hands-on focus to this year’s festival. For example, Ms. Palashniuk said, they are offering an ‘Eat Like a Sheep’ culinary workshop, with local chef Andrea Salzbrenner.

Ms. Salzbrenner, chef teacher at David Thompson Secondary School in Invermere as well as occasional chef instructor at the College of the Rockies, said this should be a fun, interactive workshop.

“It’s going to be a vegetarian-based menu, trying to use as much local product as we can,” said Ms. Salzbrenner. ‘Eat Like a Sheep’ will group students to make various components to the meal – an Indian-spiced kale burger with cheese, freshly baked buns, and more. At the end of the morning, the class will enjoy the results of their labour, and everyone will walk away with full bellies and some new recipes to bring home. Attendees do not need any cooking training to be a part of this workshop.

“If somebody is interested in cooking, then they’ll enjoy this class,” Ms. Salzbrenner said.

Outside the kitchen, the Headbanger Festival is opening up to the great outdoors with photography workshops by Rick Leger, forest therapy with Pat Bavin and animal tracks and wildcrafting with Kalista Pruden. And what is a bighorn sheep-themed weekend without a solid educational component? Look no further than the bighorn sheep experience with experts Kent Kebe and Irene Teske. Also, be sure to check out the urban wildlife session, where you will learn how to minimize conflicts between humans and wildlife. Find your inner Katniss Everdeen or Robin Hood at the archery for beginners session with the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club. Let out your creative side at the ‘Paint it Wild’ session with Blackstar Studio, or take part in a morning drumming session with Columbia Valley Drumming.

The Headbanger Festival always brings in a keynote speaker for Saturday evening’s dinner. This year, the special speaker is renowned conservationist Brian Keating. Mr. Keating is the head naturalist of ‘Going Wild with Brian Keating’, an honorary conservation advisor for the Calgary Zoological society, and an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Calgary.

Mr. Keating has traveled the world, exploring wildlife areas, is a weekly guest on Calgary’s CBC Radio, and speaks at approximately 40 events a year.

“This is an opportunity a lot of people otherwise wouldn’t get to experience,” Ms. Palashniuk said of Mr. Keating’s presentation. He’s going to speak on the alpine highlife. Mr. Keating’s website says this presentation is a ‘high-energy adventure that blends and compares wildlife adaptations to our own every day survival abilities. It’s a story that passionately illustrates the pure joy of life in high places’.

Also new this year is a set of films from the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on Friday, November 1st.

The Headbanger Festival runs Friday, November 1st to Sunday, November 3rd. Ms. Palashniuk said with a family-friendly weekend at an affordable price, she hopes to see many locals come out for this year’s event. An adult whole weekend ticket (including Saturday’s dinner, but not the photography workshop or forest therapy) is only $100. For full details and registration information, visit

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