Honk! Fest West is a street fair dedicated to bringing marching bands, samba lines, horn players, drum corps, and every manner of rhythmic and melodic noisemaker we could find right to the Seattle streets.
Like Somerville’s HONK! East, from which we take our inspiration, HONK! Fest West is pledged to support and supply stages for all manner of street oriented bands, groups, associations, communities, and performers.
HONK! events are a celebration of the emergence of a new type of street band, one that is typically acoustic and mobile, often politically aware and articulate, and always high spirited. There is a rich community ethic amongst many honkers, who use their music to erode the barriers between professional and novice, and between audience and performers. Although uniforms are sometimes used as a performance tool, individuality is key, and group members often hail from all range of classes, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. Perhaps most importantly, the honkers' ultimate goal is to have fun, to relish the art of making fun as a form of individual and collective transcendence, and to encourage others to see and do the same.
This year, over 20 bands large and small (anywhere from 8 – 60 members) will come from all over the United States and Canada, ready with old ditties, new tunes, fighting songs, protest marches, funeral dirges, swinging gospel, Balkan folk, tin pan jazz, and everything in between.
Our festival is part musical gathering, part community activism. Many of us play an instrument. Some don’t. But all of us have found that live, energetic, mobile, acoustic music—no matter which side of the mouthpiece you are on—brings audience and band together in something like family. A raucous, playful family.
We hope you come out and join in.
With love and affection,
The HONK! Fest West Organizing Committee
HONK: No Noise is Illegal is a short documentary film about the brass band music festival in Somerville, MA.
Louder Than Words is another short documentary film about the brass band music festival in Somerville, MA.
Here's a collection of youtube videos from Honk! Fest West 2009