Media Mentions

Media Mentions

Honk! Festival, bands toot their own horns, by Bob Young, Boston Herald, 10/08/09

If the airlines are wondering why so many oddly dressed people with instrument cases are flying into Boston this weekend, they should check the city’s events calendar.

The Honk! Festival is back.

Hundreds of activist street musicians from as far away as Canada and Italy are making their way to the epicenter of Honk!, Davis Square in Somerville, for three days of raucous music-making starting Friday…

Honk! Parade: activism + music + parades, Weekly Dig, 10/07/09

So, in order to protest violence and oppression, you decide to start a band. Cool. Then it occurs to you to have a three-day festival featuring 29 such bands. Awesome. Then it occurs to you to have your music/activism festival include a parade. Holy shit. And THEN it occurs to you, and this is the kicker, that your music/activism parade could lead directly into the center of an existing festival in Harvard Square (!!!!). Starting Friday, this huge number of bands will be playing free shows all weekend, culminating in a $10 show at Somerville Theatre. Wow.

Street Sounds, by Michael May, The Texas Observer, 11/27/09

That’s what one marching band can do. Twenty-six freaky marching bands all in the same place create some kind of alternate universe, where smiling at strangers is encouraged and dancing in the streets is expected. That’s what we found at HONK!, where there were marching bands as big as armies, like New York’s Rude Mechanical Orchestra; groups that made the term punk-rock marching band make sense, like What Cheer! from Providence; and bands that tossed off Balkan tunes with an easy virtuosity, like Seattle’s Orchestar Zirkonium. Although no one seemed to be in charge, the festival managed to be well-organized, with each band playing scheduled shows in squares and small pocket parks, then coming together in a parade with police escorts. The thousands of players were all hosted in private homes and fed each night at huge sprawling jam sessions. I’m no radical, but I know effective collective action when I see it.

A Hornucopia, by Adriana Stimola, Improper Bostonian, 10/07/09

Whether it’s dancing in lederhosen or burning a fiant wooden man, seasonal festivals have their own unique form of celebration. But no matter the party, one thing sure to fill the air (legally) is music. The fourth annual Honk! Festival features dozens of bands playing straight through Columbus Day weekend, culminating in a giant blowout concert at the Somerville Theatre…

Banding together, Boston Globe Magazine, 10/08/09

The Honk! Festival has nothing to do with cars or ducks. It’s a group of 30 street bands from around the world who will celebrate “community” at the three-day festival starting tomorrow in several locations in and around Boston…

FESTIVAL, Boston Phoenix, 10/09/09

The fourth annual HONK! Festival–with more than two dozen “activist street bands” from around the world–begins Friday in communities…

Music Brings Us Together, by Chelsea Whyte, Somerville News, 12/27/09

Two years ago, musicians from the Honk Festival did a clinic with the Somerville High School music students, with instruction given by playing alongside the students. Saunders has adopted this technique and many of the music teachers could be seen playing with the band, orchestra, and percussion ensemble at the Winter Concert. “Honk taught us a lot,” Saunders says. “When you play with a student, you take away a barrier and the experience becomes more interactive.” Not only are the students learning from the teachers, but the teachers learn from the students every time they play together. The concert showcased not just the talent of the students, but the partnerships between the students and the teachers. The concert included teachers playing along while they conducted, as well as giving up the podium all together and playing as a member of the ensemble.

Big Easy’s Style, by Kristen Green, Boston Globe, 9/16/07

The members of a Somerville band realized last year that there were others like them — brass bands with activist mindsets that played music not to become famous, but to connect with the community.

March Madness, by Andrew Gilbert, Boston Globe, 10/03/07

Emma Goldman knew that a revolution without a groove was a disaster waiting to happen. When the Bolsheviks brutally consolidated their hold on the emerging Soviet Union, the anarchist famously rejected the authoritarian party, declaring “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.” Goldman would feel right at home in Somerville this weekend, when HONK!, the second annual festival of activist street bands, turns Davis Square into a raucous, free-wheeling celebration of music’s power to galvanize the masses.

Art & activism combine for HONK, by Yi-Ching Shih, Boston NOW, 10/03/07

If you haven’t decided how to spend Columbus Day weekend, don’t miss “Return of HONK!” the second annual festival of activist street bands in Davis Square. “These bands play music that is by, for, and of the people,” says Susan Scotti, the festival’s spokeswoman. “The distinction between performer and audience, just like that between different musical genres, is just one more arbitrary boundary they aspire to overcome.”

At Honkfest, crowds sure to have blast, by Bob Young, Boston Herald, 10/05/07

Like your entertainment a little eccentric and politically irreverent? How about mobile, dance-inducing and free? If you’re nodding in the affirmative, this weekend’s aptly named Honk! Festival was put together with you in mind.

Marching Bands in the Streets, NPR Weekend America, 10/06/07

Mike Smith of Environmental Encroachment discusses his band and the upcoming HONK! Festival.

HONK! festival makes some noise in Davis Square, by Michael Naughton, Boston Globe, 10/07/07

An elderly couple with canes, parents with young children, and twenty-somethings were all dancing up a storm in Davis Square yesterday.

Honk if you’re progressive, Photo by David Gordon, Cambridge Chronicle, 10/11/07, front page

Libby Sentz of the Hungry March Band dances up Mass Ave. on Sunday during the Honk! Festival Parade.

Honk! Music Festival, by Laura Hill, Tufts Daily, 10/12/07

As I rounded the corner of the new Granoff Music Center on Friday afternoon, I inadvertently walked directly into a spontaneous celebration of music, dance and street culture.

Honk if you like liberals, by Ethan Backer, Somerville News, 10/14/07

American Civil Liberties Union organizers and volunteers from the Lucy Parsons Center shared Davis Square with left-leaning brass bands honking out raucous tunes last weekend as the Honk Festival rolled into town for the second straight year.

HONK! wails through Davis Square, by Matthew Kaplan, The Powderhouse, 10/16/07

“We came last year and we really loved it,” festival attendee Rose Reilly said. “It seems like a lot of fun.” … Besides promoting specific causes, Jaswinder Pabla, the general manager of Diva Indian Bistro in Davis Squre, said festivals such as the Honk! Festival help foster community in the area. “It’s kinda one of the cool things about being here,” fair attendee and local resident Mario A. Alonso said of the festival.”

Reclaiming the Streets One Honk at a Time, by Matthew Kaplan, The Powderhouse, 10/16/07

Yes, there is music, lots of music, and there’s theater too, but there are no stages, no DJs, no cart-wielding vendors, and yeah, it’s free… “Live music is threatened as a species,” said Charlie Keil. “If we can’t connect with our rites of passage, then we’re not going to be around much longer.”