Photos by Frank Santangelo and Rosalee Zammuto
This past weekend, a wide variety of events were scheduled and took place in Davis Square Somerville as well as for Cambridge & Boston.
The events were all free and open to all.
Special attention was paid to milestone birthdays. The HONK! Festival’s 10th year is one of those occasions.
The roster of socio-political activist street bands totals 28!
They came from as far away as Paris, Los Alamos, New Orleans, Montreal and Quebec City. But it wouldn’t be HONK! without some last minute surprises!
The roster also included many Boston-area bands, including a new local School of HONK!, based in Somerville, who organized “walk-in” opportunities for local musicians who are not affiliated with an existing HONK! band. The recommendation was to keep checking http://www.honkfest.org/2015-festival/bands-2015 early and often for updates on participating groups.
This year was quite a transformation from HONK!’s 2006 humble beginnings, when 12 HONK! bands joined forces on a mellow October Saturday afternoon in Davis Square, Somerville, immediately turning everything topsy turvy. Those initial bands gathered in response to a call sent out by the Somerville-based Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, who had a need to seek out kindred spirit music makers and invite them to gather and play their collective hearts out, while raising awareness for local and global just causes. The bands played in earnest, yet always in keeping with the bons temps rouler vibe, that became especially contagious after the Katrina disaster of 2005.
That New Orleanian spirit rising again, despite all odds, was clearly something that the initial HONK!ers wanted to emulate and perpetuate. In addition to celebrating the 10th HONK!, this year also marked the 10th anniversary of Katrina. HONK! is pleased that the New Creations Brass Band and the Original Big Seven Social Aid & Pleasure Club was able to join HONK!, as they came up from New Orleans to help us mark their milestone of recovery efforts.
HONK! continues to thrive and spread, the phenomena rippling across the planet, with yearly HONK! festivals also being held in Providence, New York City, Seattle, Austin, and Detroit, as well as in Australia and Brazil. And every year, HONK! bands circle back to their HONK! birthplace in Somerville, to roost, squawk and strut their stuff.
The shape of this year’s schedule adhered to what has now become the HONK! tradition of holding primarily outdoor events, all free and open to the public, held rain or shine during Indigenous Peoples’ Day Weekend, this year it ran from Friday-Sunday, October 9 through 11.
The HONK! events included what has become the annual favorites:
–HONK! Friday: Day of Action in Boston during the afternoon, early evening Lantern Parades throughout Somerville’s Davis Square neighborhood, and culminating in an evening band showcase at Johnny D’s;
–HONK! Saturday: main event held throughout the nooks and crannies of Davis Square, with continuous band performances that took place from noon-9pm, rain or shine;
–HONK! Sunday: the gigantic noon Parade headed from Davis Square to Cambridge’s Harvard Square, where HONK! bands participated in Oktoberfest, performing throughout the Square in the afternoon, and ending with a steady stream of HONK! bands showcased up on the Main Stage.