14 Ways You Can Help HONK! Fest West

We’re less than 4 weeks from the Fifth Annual HONK! Fest West – that grand Seattle celebration of renegade marching bands and community music from around the country – and we’re reaching out to you to help make this happen.

First, a little background: HONK! got started in Boston back in 2006 when a group of community-minded musicians decided to host several like-minded bands in their hometown of Somerville, Mass. Inspired by the success and joy that free festival proved to be, organizers held Seattle’s first HONK! Fest West in 2008.

This year, twenty-six street bands from around North America – a record number for us – will be meeting in the streets and parks of Seattle to bring music, mirth, and a wee bit o’ mayhem to our fair city. This three-day festival is always free, always family friendly, and held at several spots in town so the music remains accessible to multiple communities.

Of course, a festival of this magnitude requires a lot of time, money and energy: thousands of volunteer hours racked up by the volunteer musicians, workers and festival organizers to make it happen. HONK! Fest West 2012’s budget – which covers the costs incurred – is over $20,000.

The beautiful part is, all of that money, time and energy invested brings a spirit of joy to all who attend these festivals. Smiles are on every face, and people dance – and sometimes play along. It’s an event that operates outside of the rules, and erodes the barrier between  musician and audience. Performers are participants, and vice versa; HONK! Fest West brings the community together in a way that is unmatched by other festivals. And let’s not forget the music…

These bands cover everything from Klezmer to punk; second-line Tremé to soul-filled samba; Balkan bloc brass to Bollywood beats. And they’re all here for one thing: to fill Seattle with free community-supported music.

So that’s what HONK! Fest West is about. Now, that you’re excited, here’s how you can help:

1. Donate Funds to IndieGoGo! – Our IndieGoGo campaign represents about half of our needed funds for this year’s festival. Donations must be made through PayPal since they are tax-deductible (less cash equivalent of perks). If just 2,000 people donated $5 each, we’d surpass our goal! Plus, perks: CDs, t-shirts and other awesome HONK! goodies.
How: http://www.indiegogo.com/honkfestwest2012?a=310578 , click ‘Contribute Now’

2. Donate Funds to Shunpike! – Shunpike has a wide variety of donation options, and your donation to this festival will be tax deductible AND eligible for employer matching (see #12). That means your donation could double down and help us twice!
How: http://www.shunpike.org/who-we-help/our-clients/honk-fest-west/  – click ‘Donate’

3. Come to the Shake Your Brass & Get Horny For HONK! event on April 20! – Treat yourself and some fun friends: for just $10, you get a night of brasstastic hip-gyrating entertainment courtesy of some of Seattle’s best HONK! bands and burlesque dancers. It all happens at the Columbia City Theatre the evening of April 20th. All proceeds of our pre-event fundraiser go to the festival.
How: https://www.facebook.com/events/384883571531821/ or https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/235966

4. Hit the Streets in May! – Some folks are promotion minded and have the sort of street stamina that’s legendary in these parts. We want to paper the town with posters, fliers, and possibly even some street art. But we need a crew of manic mobile types to help us get the job done.
How: volunteer@honkfestwest.com SUBJ “I’m your Street Team!”

5. Volunteer for HONK! Fest West – Without a cadre of fine folks volunteering their time, this festival wouldn’t happen. We love our volunteers, and we treat them well – but, with more bands than ever, we need more than usual this year! Volunteering includes perks of its own, and shifts can be as little as two hours.
How: http://honkfestwest.com/volunteer

6. Quench Our Thirst! – With 400 volunteer musicians and 80 general volunteers, we have a lot of thirsty folks. In-kind donations of beverages assist us greatly in this department: water, soda pop, juice – anything with vitamins and electrolytes that can feed our hardworking thirsty volunteers. Remember – your in-kind donations may be eligible for tax deductions. And let’s not forget food ~ pizza, wraps, stews, rice and beans – anything and everything is appreciated.
How: support@honkfestwest.com SUBJ “I Will Quench Your Thirst!”

7. Go Viral! – HONK! Fest West’s efforts are moot if not enough people hear about us. We know what the magic of this festival means to people, we’ve seen it on the smiles and in the dances of kids, couples, seniors and singles – but we need more people to spread the word. If you’ve been to any HONK! festival, or stumbled into a show that featured the likes of Titanium Sprokestra, Orkestrar Zirkonium or others – or even if you just think this sounds like fun – please, spread the word via Twitter, Facebook and however else you can think of.
How: Share @honkfestwest , honkfestwest.com and facebook.com/honkfestwest with your friends!

8. Go Old School! – Handwritten letters delivered by snail mail are seriously underrated for their effectiveness. If you feel inspired by this free music festival and its all-volunteer crew, write a friend or loved one and personalize your request for their help. And we wouldn’t ask you to do anything we’re not already doing ourselves 😉
How: paper + pen + envelope + stamp + a personal appeal

9. Media Coverage! – Do you have a blog, a zine or a website? Write for a journal or mag? It would be amazing if you could find some space for us to put in a paragraph or two about the festival that warms our hearts and moves our feet. We find it appeals to a very wide audience, so we’re confident that at least some of your readership will like it; and we will be very appreciative.
How: contact info@honkfestwest.com or support@honkfestwest.com

10. Drive Your Bus (or someone else’s)! – Many of these volunteer musicians are visiting from out of town and have no dedicated transportation save for what we round up for them. Public transit isn’t so much of an option since many riders don’t really appreciate being nudged by a bass drum or losing their seat to a tuba. On the other hand, we like to keep it green and interesting.
How if you’ve got a bus and would like to help out in this pretty stellar way, please email volunteer@honkfestwest.com SUBJ “I’m Your Bus Driver!”

11. Share Your Art! – Got photos of years past? Video that no one’s seen? Maybe a talent for painting or printing? Or maybe you just want to come out and share your artistic soul with a wide audience. We would love it if you did! We’re also need of in-kind or reduced cost printing services, and we would love some artists to come out and paint to music.
How: support@honkfestwest.com SUBJ “Sharing Art”

12. Nag Your Boss! – I had no idea that my boss even knew about HONK! Fest West until I mentioned it to him. He didn’t know what it was called or if it was coming back – but he LOVES it I know he’s not alone, so talk to the people you know, even your boss – and remember, donations made through Shunpike’s website or our IndieGoGo campaign may be eligible for employer donation matching. So for every $5 you donate, your boss does too!
How: “Heya boss, you going to HONK! Fest West 2012?….”

13. Tell Everyone You Know! – This is so vital that I keep bringing it up. We are a community festival, and we are free. We depend on word of mouth and viral promotion to help get the word out. We rely on donations and grants to support us. We take good care of our volunteer musicians, our volunteer crews and our community. In turn, all we really ultimately ask is that you tell people about us, and then…(see #14)
How: there is no wrong way to tell everyone you know about this festival.

14. Come HONK! With Us! – This is the most important – HONK! Fest West would not be where it is today without the support of festival goers. We’re at Georgetown the evening of June 1, Gas Works Park in Fremont all day on June 2, and the EMP Sky Church in Seattle Center on June 3. So come on out – it’s free, and we want to see your smiling faces HONK!ing with us.
How: Check the schedule at honkfestwest.com and join in the fun!

Titanium Sporkestra at the EMP Sky Church
Titanium Sporkestra at the EMP Sky Church