"Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue." - Plato
What is HONK!?
Throughout the country and across the globe, a new type of street band movement is emerging — outrageous and inclusive, brass and brash, percussive and persuasive — reclaiming public space with a sound that is in your face and out of this world. Called everything from “avant-oompah!” to a “brassroots revolution,” these bands draw inspiration from sources as diverse as Klezmer, Balkan and Romani music, Brazilian Samba, Afrobeat and Highlife, Punk, Funk, and Hip Hop, as well as the New Orleans second line tradition, and deliver it with all the passion and spirit of Mardi Gras and Carnival.
Acoustic and mobile, these bands play at street level, usually for free, with no stages to elevate them above the crowd and no sound systems or speaker columns to separate performers from participants. These bands don’t just play for the people; they play among the people and invite them to join the fun. They are active, activist, and deeply engaged in their communities, at times alongside unions and grassroots groups in outright political protest, or in some form of community-building activity, routinely performing and conducting workshops for educational and social service organizations of all kinds.
At full power, these bands create an irresistible spectacle of creative movement and sonic self-expression directed at making the world a better place. This is the movement we call HONK!
What IS The HONK! Festival?
An awesome annual 3-day free festival bringing brass bands from all over the United States and the world to Somerville for a celebration of music, community and activism. Organized entirely by volunteers and now in its 10th year, the festival kicks off on Friday night with a lantern parade in Davis Square neighborhoods and a band showcase at Johnny D’s. On Saturday more than 25 bands take over Davis Square for a giant music and dance party. On Sunday, local community groups, artists, and activists working for a variety of progressive causes — economic justice, protecting the environment, world peace, an end to racism — join the brass bands to make a spectacular parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square along Mass Avenue. Other HONK! Fest activities include a Day of Action, when bands convene to play on behalf of a cause, and roundtable discussions for participating musicians and organizers of other HONK! festivals around the country to gather and share experiences. HONK! in Somerville has inspired festivals near – Providence, Brooklyn, Seattle, Austin, Detroit, and far – Australia and Brazil.
Boston Magazine recognized HONK! with a “2015 Best of Boston” award, writing “The music pounds in your chest. The activism moves your soul.” Please join us for our 10th anniversary celebration, and consider supporting the festival by volunteering, housing visiting musicians, or making a donation!
About the Inside-Out Gallery
Initiated in 2009, The Inside-Out Gallery is located in the CVS Window in Davis Square, a unique space that allows the public to view an eclectic array of works from artists and local organizations each month. The mission of the Somerville Arts Council is to cultivate and celebrate the creative expressions of the Somerville community. Through innovative collaborations and quality programming we work to make the arts an integral part of life reflective of our diverse city.