10th Annual HONK! Fest

HONK! Fest

Performers at HONK! Fest. Photo by Jesse Edsell-Vetter.

HONK! is the annual festival of activist street-bands held in Somerville, Massachusetts that is free and open to the public. The three-day event features a parade, performances, activities, and an all-band concert on the main stage of Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest.

About HONK! Fest

HONK! Fest

The Boston Hoohahs. Photo by Danielle Martin.

HONK!’s website describes the event as “a celebration of music, community and activism.” You truly will never see or hear anything like it, with elaborate costumes and music inspired by Klezmer, Samba, Afrobeat, Highlife, Punk, Funk, and Hip-Hop—to name just a few.

HONK! is all about raising awareness to make the world a better, safer place through the awesome power of music. HONK! is directed at people of all ages in an effort to build community in the greater-Boston area.

HONK! Fest Schedule

Thursday, October 8th

This year, HONK! started on Thursday, October 8th with the pre-HONK! kick-off event. Hosted in Union Square, Somerville from 7pm to 10pm, participants had the opportunity to get their first glimpse of the festival performers in the plaza. Four different bands played here, including Dirty Water Brass Band and Ten Man Brass Band.

HONK! Fest

HONK! Fest Performers. Photo by Danielle Martin.

A parade then led participants to Aeronaut Brewing Company, where more bands played until midnight. The lineup included bands from Olympia, Washington; Austin, Texas; Lowell, Massachusetts; and Chicago, Illinois.

Friday, October 9th

On Friday, HONK! started out from 3-5:30pm with a Day of Action marching into downtown Boston to campaign for a higher minimum wage and an end to wage theft.

From 4-6pm, HONK! bands visited nearby schools to lead educational workshops and foster an excitement for music in students. At this same time, community members of all ages gathered in Hodgkins Park by Davis Square, Somerville to make lanterns for the Lantern Parades.

At 7pm, the ‘HONK! around the World’ exhibit opening took place with band performances at the Nave Gallery Annex in Davis Square. The exhibit showcased HONK!’s sister festivals from all over the world.

From 7:30pm-8:30pm, the Lantern Parades departed from Hodgkins Park for a spectacular evening sight. After that, from 8:30pm-12:45am HONK! entertained guests at Johnny D’s Night Club in Somerville.

Saturday, October 10th

Saturday’s festivities took place in Davis Square once again, with performances from more than 25 bands happening all day from 1pm-9pm.

Sunday, October 11th

HONK! Fest

Minimum Wage Protestors at HONK!. Photo by Rand Wilson.

HONK! went out with a bang on Sunday, October 11th starting with the HONK! Parade. From noon to 2pm, bands strutted their stuff from Davis Square to Harvard Square, accompanied by community and activist groups. The Parade finished on the Main Stage of Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest, where the bands played one last time from 2-6pm in an all-band concert.

What Makes HONK! Possible?

One of the most special aspects of HONK! is its non-corporate, local, grassroots origins and sponsorship. HONK! is a non-profit made possible completely by the financial support and hard work of thousands of local residents and small businesses.

Over 500 of HONK!’s musicians are housed by community members, and local restaurants often provide their food. HONK! musicians, believe it or not, are not paid for any of their participation in the festival. They come for free from all over the country to spread music, awareness, community, and peace.

Catch HONK! Fest next year in Davis Square to be part of a real gem of greater-Boston. Visit their website at www.honkfest.org to mark your calendar and see how you can get involved.

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