From October 10-13, HONK!, the unique
revolutionary street music spectacle, will occupy every corner, every cut,
every alley within a 1 mile radius. The HONK! progressive musical movement can
drive social change on a daily basis, but once a year HONK! kicks into
overdrive, just for fun.
HONK!, the originator of HONK!s worldwide, is embarking on its 8th annual. Words fail to describe the overwhelming impact this festival has on participants and audience alike. HONK! is a huge celebratory rally where boisterous bands from all over congregate to play their street music loudly and proudly and to exult in their roles as cultural ambassadors for just causes. HONK! is not only infectious, it is also reinforcement for these bands, empowering them to then head back to their home towns and carry on.
This year, HONK! has invited the Original Big Seven Social Aid and Pleasure Club (OB7) from New Orleans to lead the huge HONK! Parade to Reclaim the Streets for Horns, Bikes and Feet that will take place on HONK! Sunday. Among the mainstays of New Orleans culture are the second line parades organized by the social aid and pleasure clubs that populate the neighborhoods.
On May 12th of this year, the OB7, which operates in the Seventh Ward, held its annual Mother's Day Parade. Usually a fun-filled, family-friendly brass band romp through the neighborhood, the event this year was different. At the intersection of Frenchmen Street and North Villere, three gunmen senselessly opened fire on the crowd, wounding 19 people including two 10 year-olds. Fortunately there were no fatalities. Immediately following, there were condemnations of violence in New Orleans and calls to halt these time-honored neighborhood parades, but there was very little discourse on the importance of the parades as a source of neighborhood pride and a bulwark of New Orleans culture.
Courageously, and in solidarity with the neighborhood, the OB7 vowed to stage a "ReDo" of the event, along the same parade route as the original. Following a national fundraising campaign and with the support of the neighborhood, the second Mother's Day Parade happened on June 1, and went off without a hitch.
HONK! salutes the courage and commitment of the OB7 in staging a successful ReDo Mother's Day Parade, and in inviting the club to lead this year's HONK! parade, HONK! confirms the importance of New Orleans culture to the HONK! movement and reaffirms the principle that the streets belong to the people.
Passersby can't help but be caught up in the HONK! vortex ... whether they be dancing, singing, clapping, swaying, shouting, shaking. The second line tradition works hand-in-hand with the brass band tradition of taking it to the streets. Recently, The Guardian had this to say in their article "Why brass bands are back in vogue," quoting snare drummer David Henzie-Skogen of the Youngbloods Brass Band : "It's a more simple, universal thrill of hearing 'music made via the human power of breath and hands, that one feels in the gut,' this is music with physical heft in an era of laptop twiddling. It would take a hard heart indeed to watch one of these troupes playing live and not want to join the parade." (www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/06/riot-jazz-brass-band).
Movement is the inevitable result of experiencing HONK!, which establishes no boundaries between performer and spectator. As of last count, there are 26 bands coming to HONK! 2013, including several new bands, Os Siderais from Rio De Janeiro and Perhaps Contraption from London. Most HONK! events ... many concerts, one very large parade, some mini parades, and much more ... will take place in the vicinity of Davis Sq. Somerville and Harvard Sq. Cambridge and are free and open to all. Opportunities to join in at the last minute will be abundant, including participating in the community band that evolves on HONK! Sunday not long before the parade takes off!
Festival updates can be found at www.honkfest.org, http://twitter.com/honkfest, and www.facebook.com/honkfestival, or by calling 617-383-HONK (4665).
Click here for schedule.