During the off-season, Radium is a quiet town of fewer than 800 people. In the fall, however, this small community is joined by more than 100 bighorn sheep, some of which put on quite a show.
Every year during the month of November, bighorn sheep come to the Village of Radium Hot Springs for the rut. The sheep can be seen milling all around town and the rams have loud and boisterous head-butting contests for the ewes. This exciting annual event prompted the creation of the Radium Hot Springs Headbanger Festival, which will be taking place from Friday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 4th this year.
No, it’s not a festival dedicated to heavy metal music or long hair. The Radium Hot Springs Headbanger Festival is all about witnessing these majestic animals and learning a few things about them. The weekend is chock full of workshops and presentations that you can attend when you’re not out looking for sheep.
The festival kicks off on Friday, November 2nd with an open house at 4 pm, followed by an event registration and a participant and presenter meet and greet at 7 pm.
Morning registration begins at 9 am on Saturday and is followed up by a packed schedule of workshops and presentations. The smartphone photography workshop with Canadian explorer Dax Justin is always a popular event. Learn how to capture beautiful images of wildlife using just your phone! The day ends with a dinner and a presentation from keynote speaker Dave Butler, who serves as Director of Sustainability at Canadian Mountain Holidays. Dave is also a novelist, photographer, forester, and biologist.
The final day of the Headbanger Festival begins with a family interpretive hike. You will also have the chance to attend the Legends of the Forest presentation with BC children’s author Darcee O’Hearn.
Radium Hot Springs is a beautiful, quaint mountain town to spend time in during any season of the year. The sidewalks are highly walkable and take you to a plethora of shops where you can buy everything from freshly brewed local coffee to memorable souvenirs. The sheep may be the main draw during the Headbanger Festival, but there’s always plenty more to see as well.
If you do come and stay in Radium during the Headbanger Festival, then it’s a certainty that you’ll see some bighorn sheep and possibly a few other types of wildlife as well. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to see some rams battling it out. Make sure you give them plenty of space if you do, as the rams can reach max speeds of 30 km/h before they slam their horns together. It’s fine to stand back and take some pictures, but it’s best to come equipped with a long lens!
The first weekend of November is always an exciting time in the Village of Radium Hot Springs. The annual Headbanger festival offers a truly unique blend of wildlife observation, family entertainment, educational opportunities, and hands-on experiences. So, pack up your family for a weekend getaway and get ready for some amazing photo opportunities.