Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Sometimes you have to be a little noisy to get your point across. There is no shortage of distracting sounds in Cambridge so when I heard marching bands suddenly blasting down Massachusetts Avenue I was pleasantly surprised. This wasn't your typical Macy's Day Parade though. These people had a message.

HONK! is a an annual festival which brings together activist street bands from all over the world. The groups share a desire to resist the oppressive society in which we live. To them, playing music is a way to unite and empower people in a world which is too often divided. The role of the amateur in this sense cannot be overstated as many of the members do not study music in a formal way. In fact, a big part of the parade  relies on energy and sometimes participation from the crowd. The fact that we are there and experiencing such a spectacle means that every one of us is temporarily an equal part in making the world a better place. This may seem like a radical thought but I wholeheartedly believe that it's true.

Wild uniforms, hundreds of drums, outrageous costumes, bikes, roller blades, and an unbelievable amount of color and creativity created a brief, but memorable scene. There was something raw and beautiful in the DIY spirit which brought these people together. The parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square was only one element of the entire HONK! festival this weekend which featured a wide array of performances, workshops, parties and other activities. As Noah mentioned in his post, many of the bands had performing slots at the Harvard Square Oktoberfest. The amount of new fans that they acquire from this weekend must be enormous.

I was equally impressed and moved by this grassroots, non-profit festival and the people that were a part of it. I encourage everyone to learn more about it and strive to emulate the goals.

Keep Honking.

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