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What is HONK!?
What is HONK!?
What is the HONK! Festival?
Who is HONK!?
What is an activist band?
Code of Conduct
Host visiting musicians
HONK! 2017 Committee
HONK! 2017 Committee
2017 HONK! Committee
I fell in love with the HONK! Festival when I came across it almost by accident the first year. It combines so many aspects that make life powerful: rousing music, courageous activism, expressive dancing, outrageous clothes, and generous community spirit. You can take a stand for your beliefs, you are urged to move your feet and your body, you are free to wear every kind of sparkly sequin and crazy pattern all at once, and you get to be a part of something huge that is composed of millions of meaningful intimate moments with friends and strangers. Pure joy! (That’s me in the HONK! banner on the right, with awesome parade marshals Dalit Waller and Milton Bevington)
Charlo Maurer wasn't a musician a few years ago when she joined the committee. She loved the festival so much she wanted to jump in head first to help organize. Thanks to School of Honk, she now plays trombone too.
Photo: Hildenbrand Photography
I could not (and still can't) believe my eyes when I ran into this amazing festival called HONK! in my home town by mistake one sunny October day.
About five years ago a friend asked if I could help out on the tech side and I jumped at the chance. Since then, it's been my honor to push the bits for HONK! and work with these amazing people to create this one-of-a-kind street spectacle of revolutionary proportions. Enjoy!
After attending my first HONK! Festival in 2013, I joined a the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band. I joined Boycott Brass Band soon after that. When I started playing trombone at age eleven, I never could have imagined being part of such a vibrant and rambunctious community of music makers and friends.
HONK! combines my love of community music making with my desire to respond to current events. It is a concrete example of how the arts can contribute to social justice. It evinces the possibility of having fun while working to make the world kinder and more just.
I fell in love with HONK! the first time I laid eyes on it at the Sunday parade. When I met up for a date later that same day to see Rude Mechanical Orchestra play in Harvard Square, we bonded over our shared reaction to the festival. We started volunteering the next year and have done so every year since. Now that we're married and have started a family, I can't wait to share HONK! with our children. I'm thrilled to be a part of the festival's organizing committee. It means a lot to me to be able to give back to the HONK! community which has given so much joy and so much meaning to me.
Photo: Renee Sutman
When I was six, my dream was to arrive at the end of every journey greeted by a brass band. Well it took a few decades but I arrived in Somerville and HONK greeted me home! I’m a union and community organizer, not a musician, but to paraphrase Red Emma, "if there’s no dancing in the streets, it’s not my revolution!" HONK! is our right to the city.
Musician, activist, activist musician, activist organizer. Resist! Unite! Play music! Have fun! HONK!
John Bell (middle) plays trombone with Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band and started playing brass music with Bread & Puppet Theater. Exhilarated by the possibilities of global street culture traditions, activist art, D.I.Y. festival organizing, and Cheap Art philosophy encountered during his years touring with Bread & Puppet, he has been part of the Honk! Festival since its inception.
Photo: Chris Yeager, Book of Honk
Ken Field is a computer scientist turned saxophonist/composer who joined the Organizing Committee 11 years ago after being totally blown away by the first HONK! Festival. Also a proud member of the Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, and leader of the Hoot Band at HONK!OZ.
Photo: Ian McPhee
I'm Matt! I play trombone with Second Line and School of HONK!. I do some conversation facilitation, including conversations around anti-racism. I also work on housing justice in the Greater Boston Area. During the day, I work on a website/online community that supports kids learning to use code to express themselves creatively. Please come chat with me about: brass band music, social movement structure, anti-oppression facilitation, improv comedy, or pretty much anything :).
As soon as I saw the first HONK! poster, I knew I wanted to be part of this scene. For someone whose life has been about music and politics for decades, this was a no brainer. I joined the HONK! Committee in 2007 and two months later a snare drum slot opened up in the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band and I was asked to join. I have been doing both ever since.
I was a member of the faculty at UMass Boston for almost thirty-five years, where I taught popular music history and media literacy, among other things. And I have been a musician, activist, and popular music scholar for as long as I can remember. I play in two or three bands, (depending on how you count) and I still have a number of popular music research and writing projects going; there may even be a book about HONK! in the offing. So stay tuned. I am retired now, but I have never been busier.
Photo: Coralie Lecomte
In 2006, several members of Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band wondered -- are there other bands around the country who formed like us with a mission to support social justice and anti-war efforts? We found a few, enthusiastic about the chance to come together. And so, HONK! was born.
I play bass drum.
I'm a puppeteer. I love thinking about public space, about finding creative ways to speak my mind, about bringing thinkers and artists and activists together outside of traditional institutions. And I love street bands!