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Bright colors and loud noises: The Honk Festival

Somerville, MA— Somerville 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!

Honk! Festival Somerville
Honk Festival Boston
Honk Fest!
Honk Festival
Street marching band
Honk Festival
  1. So cheerful colours! I checked the video and I was left with wanting more… It gave me also a very good mood :) Thanks!

    • Adam says:

      Thanks Izy,
      Yeah – I wasn’t going to include the video because it was just a short clip, but it made me pretty cheery so I decided to stick it up anyways!

  2. Partha says:

    Thank a lot for sharing this information. Never heard about Honk festival. Very colorful. It is OK for the young but with high decibel sound this may become a bit uncomfortable for old people.


    • Adam says:

      Hey Partha,
      Yeah the marching bands got a bit tiring after a long time, but there were so many happy people there, it was hard to not have fun. Also, the crowd (and the participants) ranged in age from the very young to the very old! I thought that was especially awesome.

  3. Steve says:

    Honk! Festival is very lively and colorful. It must be loud there in concoction of marching band and cheering crowd. I notice that such festival caters to all ages. Stunning photos by the way.

  4. That looks very cool. It kind of reminds me of the sights from the Solstice Festival in Seattle, although I think I’d prefer this one since there’s more music.

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