Honk Festival Kicks Brass

By Elisa Bronstein

Music is likely the only force that could bring parents with children in strollers, elderly in wheelchairs and trendy “twenty-somethings” together in one area. Fourth annual HONK! Festival in Somerville, Mass., got strollers shakin’, wheelchairs spinnin’, and “twenty-somethings” groovin’.

After just four years, the festival has gained so much publicity and grown in popularity that those granted entry are thanking their sequined scarves for the honor. HONK! is turning down bands for entry because the cost of running such a grand scale event has become too much for everyone involved.

Between the tents lined up offering every type of ethnic cuisine imaginable and the artisan goods for sale, the festival is sure to be a hit for all. If you don’t like the band playing at the Church St. stage, you mosey on over to Massachusetts Ave. where you will find an entirely different sound working the crowd. Some bands played with no stage, others on large barren structures. No matter where they played, or what they played on, bands had the crowds going wild.

This year, 30 bands from Canada to Italy crowded the streets of Boston to “honk” their horns all in the name of a cause. Each band rallies for its own causes but for the three day festival, everyone joins in “a chord” to delight the ears of passersby.

The Leftist Marching Band from Portsmouth, NH is a group of adults who support political issues such as equality, tolerance and civil liberties. This was their fourth year participating at HONK! and said they look forward to playing in such an inviting atmosphere every year.

The Pink Puffer Brass Band ventured from San Lorenzo, Rome and simply tickled us pink with their sounds. Thirteen members adorn themselves in colorful eyelashes, feather boas and all things pink to play hit the streets playing. In an interview for HONK!, the PPBB was asked, “Why pink.” “WHY PINK?,” they said, “Because a pink band playing black music is an hymn to anti-racism, because the pink panther is pink (and swing, and jazz, and like them), because pink people are against Bush and war and stupidity generally speaking, because pink is the colour of the flowers that will become peaches, and because pink puffers are clinical patients affected by emphysema.”

From trade goods, handmade jewelry, clothing and artwork to awaken the eyes, to brass instruments sounding the streets, to ethnic foods tantalizing taste buds, HONK! Festival is an exhilarating, eye-opening, three-day festival to remember.

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