Somerville Massachusetts is home to a lot of quirky things, but nothing as bright and loud as the annual Honk! Festival. It’s billed as a festival of activist street bands, with everything from grandmas in neon orange feather hats, to children singing along to popular marching tunes.
Across the country and around the world, a new type of street band is emerging. Acoustic and mobile, borrowing repertoire and inspiration from a diverse set of folk music traditions – New Orleans second line brass bands, European Klezmer, Balkan and Romani music, Brazilian Afro Bloc and Frevo traditions, as well as the passion and spirit of Mardi Gras and Carnival– these “honkers” all share a commitment to several core principles. Metaphorically speaking, they honk their horns for the same reasons motorists honk theirs: to arouse fellow travelers, to warn of danger, to celebrate milestones, and to just plain have fun. — About Honk!
I stumbled on the 2012 Honk! fest and witnessed more smiles than you can typically expect in Boston. Even the clashing colors were worthy of happiness and smiles!