Earplugs a must at exploding hammer festival, N.B. travel blogger says

Mike Corey says if he goes back to the exploding hammer festival in Mexico, he won't forget to take earplugs.

He and his friend Ryan Thomas Woods were able to to borrow a pair to share between them, but "I'll tell you what, you want your own there in a festival like that," said the native of New Maryland.

Corey makes a living travelling the world to find crazy places, events and festivals and shares his exploration adventures on his YouTube channel, Kick the Grind.

He recently posted a video of the exploding hammer festival. In it, men can be seen taping homemade explosives to the heads of sledgehammers, then slamming them down a steel rail.

With each sledgehammer, the result is a small explosion that at times, knocks them off their feet and sends the sledgehammer spinning in the air. Sometimes rocks fly up into the men's faces or an eardrum will burst.

Corey told Shift New Brunswick host Vanessa Vander Valk that between 30 to 60 people end up going to the hospital with injuries from the hammer festival.

It wasn't what he expected after he found information about the festival on a Spanish website and translated it.

"My mind didn't go to strapping TNT onto sledgehammers. ... I didn't actually think it was going to be actual homemade explosives being slammed into a rock field in the middle of nowhere in Mexico."

Flying sledgehammers 

Corey and Thomas Woods spent the day at the festival in San Juan de la Vega, in the state of Guanajuato, watching and filming about 100 men slam the sledgehammers down to cause explosion after explosion, working their way up from small to big explosions.

"The actual shock wave on your body is immense," Corey said, not only for those using the hammers but also for those watching.

The filmmaker said he had to be careful to watch for flying hammers as he filmed.

"If I'm looking in my camera, my spacial awareness is gone. So every blast I looked around to make sure there was no hammer flying towards me."

But at the end of it all, Corey said, it was the most welcome he'd felt in any part of the world.

"For them, we were quite a sight," he said, adding that apart from a crew of three from the BBC, the two Canadians were the only foreigners there.

"They were so happy and so proud that these guys came down with cameras to film their festival."

Corey's video work can also be seen in his home province in projects he's done for Fredericton Tourism and Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.