On October 6th, 7th, and 8th of this year, we will celebrate our twelfth HONK! Festival. Imagine that, a dozen HONK!s. And that’s only Somerville. HONK! has since expanded to Providence, New York City, Seattle, Eugene, Austin, and Detroit, not to mention Wollongong, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro. But enough about the rest of the world; let’s talk about our Festival.
Once again, Somerville will open its homes, its businesses, its streets, and its heart to welcome dozens of activist street bands from across the country and around the globe. And we want you to join us. Celebrate the sound and spectacle of outrageous and unruly brass bands and percussion ensembles. Dance to the music, make some art, march in the parade, build community, stand up for social justice.
The Festival will include all the features that have compelled thousands of participants to return year after year — family friendly Lantern Parades through the neighborhoods of Somerville; continuous free performances by dozens of HONK! bands all day in Davis Square; the venerable HONK! Parade down Massachusetts Avenue to "Reclaim the Streets for Horns, Bikes, and Feet,” followed by a full afternoon of HONK! performances at Oktoberfest in Harvard Square. There will be political themes, actions, and performances throughout the Festival. And, of course, we will continue to maintain our focus on irresistible music, colorful costumes, and dancing in the streets.
To make sure there is enough music for everyone, we have once again invited more than two dozen bands to the Festival. Some will be the usual suspects, from all over the US and Canada, who may be familiar, but who always sound fresh. In addition, we have some new pleasant surprises in store. There’s Damas de Ferro from Rio de Janeiro. Also an all-female band, these “Iron Ladies” support feminist protest and the reclamation of public space with a mixture of Popular Brazilian Music, jazz, forró, afro-samba, and rock ‘n’ roll.
We can pretty much guarantee that the energy at the HONK! Festival will be like nothing you have ever experienced before. Participants report peak musical moments and life-changing experiences. But such a festival does not fall from the sky; it requires a Herculean effort. An all-volunteer Organizing Committee works hours and hours all year long to plan and coordinate every aspect of the Festival. Municipal and community leaders assist with logistics, permitting, and material support, local businesses donate food, neighbors share their homes with visiting musicians, and graphic designers, photographers, parade marshals, community organizers and many, many others volunteer their time and effort.
The same is true of the bands that come to HONK! — they don't get paid to perform — they play because they love the Festival. In return, we house and feed hundreds of musicians for three days. And we help to defray travel expenses for bands that travel from afar. As you might imagine, this can run up quite a tab. And because we are a non-profit organization, with a limited budget, we always have to stretch our resources to the limit to make HONK! happen.
This is where you come in. We need some money to make the magic.
We think of HONK! as a participatory event that belongs to everyone who joins in. Together we have created a musical community that traverses the globe. We want to bring you face-to-face with our musical compatriots from around the world, to unlock everyone’s imagination and erase all boundaries — between musical styles; between artist and audience; and between age, race, gender, culture, and class. Did we mention that it requires some money to do this?
We need to raise $15,000 to insure that every band that wants to come to HONK! can make the journey. Every donation — your donation — will help.
Please act now and thank you for your generosity.
Risks and challenges
If someone proposed creating a multi-day event where more than two dozen activist street bands would come to Somerville, perform on the streets for an entire day of free music, interact with community groups all around Boston, take part in our huge parade down a major thoroughfare ending with more performances at another street festival, join us for lantern parades at night in our neighborhoods and on and on, you might think they were nuts.
But this is exactly what we have done 11 years running and are prepared to do again. Thanks to a core group of volunteers who work crazy amounts of hours to organize things, a jaw-dropping amount of support by our community (including tremendous support from municipal and community leaders) and the fabulous people who make up the bands who come our way each year, we HONK!
So are there risks and challenges to this project? With an effort this size lots of things can happen. Logistical issues might prevent a band from attending, rain might make outdoor performances less pleasant and so on. But we've dealt with all of these things and more before (ask anyone who has joyously danced in the rain at HONK!) and we're confident we can do so again.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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