ARTery: Exploring Activism In HONK!

A band performs at HONK! 2012, (Credit: Heather Riggs)

A band performs at HONK! 2012, (Credit: Heather Riggs)

The signs of October in Massachusetts are all around us — the changing leaves, the pumpkin-flavored everything, the marching bands…yes, the marching bands. HONK!, an annual festival of activist street bands returns to the streets of Cambridge and Somerville this weekend for its 8th year. But really, just how “activist” are these bands today? Has the civic commitment that first inspired the HONK! festival been eclipsed by the easy fun of a weekend of dancing in the streets?


Amelia Mason, a Somerville-based writer and musician.


ARTery, “What happens when a marching band breaks formation, ripping apart its double-breasted jackets and flinging aside those ostentatious helmets with the tight chin straps and extravagant plumes? Well, if the day is Oct. 12 and the place Somerville’s Davis Square, such a motley crew would probably blend seamlessly into the raucous, flamboyant dance party/street concert/carnival that is HONK!


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