[Dixielandjazz] More on the Boston HonkFest
tubaman at tubatoast.com
Fri Oct 6 08:57:35 PDT 2006
Honk! if you love street bands
By Bob Young
Friday, October 6, 2006
If you think of this weekend’s first Honk! Festival the way one of
its founders does - a ragged but right kind of thing - you’re close
to understanding how 150 musicians in 12 bands from around the United
States and Canada plan to spend their time in Somerville and
Cambridge tomorrow and Sunday.
They’re going to march a little, but probably not in unison.
They’re going blow more than a few sour notes.
Some of them will be sporting wacky costumes.
And they’re going to act like brassy, percussive purveyors of
Maybe they’ll even make you think a little bit, too.
”There’s a growing movement of street bands in the country,”
said Cambridge-based reed man Maury Martin of the Second Line Social
Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, which is presenting the event.
”They’re acoustic, primarily brass and community-based. They’re
involved politically, socially and just for fun.”
Martin, along with four other festival founders from the
Pleasure Society, discovered that their brand of committed, amateur
merrymaking wasn’t just a People’s Republic of Cambridge and
Somerville kind of thing. Online and through word of mouth they found
lots of bands causing a similar ruckus.
During tomorrow’s free outdoor event from noon until 6 p.m.
inDavis Square, you can hear, among others, Brooklyn’s Hungry March
Band, the Brass Liberation Orchestra from Oakland, Calif., the
Carnival Band from Vancouver, British Columbia, Cambridge’s own
Revolutionary Snake Ensemble and New Hampshire’s Leftist Marching Band.
Sunday’s concert at Somerville’s VFW Dilboy Hall costs $10, but
you can catch four Honk! bands for free at Harvard Square’s
Oktoberfest from 2 to 6 p.m.
The out-of-towner brass players are being put up in people’s
houses around town and fed by sponsors including Redbones BBQ, Anna’s
Taqueria and Dave’s Pasta.
The spirit: ’60s collective adventure.
The style: 21st century pragmatism and humor.
”We started out as a group of people who met every year playing
First Night,” Martin said of the 15-member Pleasure Society, ”and
then in some Iraq war demonstrations. We realized there were some
things we had in common, that we had a similar kind of feeling about
what we’re doing. It’s partly that feeling of grassroots empowerment
and being on the streets.”
Besides Martin, a physician with a family practice in
Somerville, the band includes an economist, a graphic designer, a
scientist and an arts promoter.
”None of us are professional musicians,” Martin said. ”A number
of our members were people who came up to us and asked, ’How do you
join this band?’ To me, that’s the best reference someone could come
”The Honk! Festival is one of those harebrained schemes that
mushroomed gloriously out of control,” Martin said. ”I can’t wait.”
The Honk! Festival, tomorrow from noon to 6 p.m., Davis Square,
Somerville, with a Philosophy of Honk symposium from 3 to 5 p.m. at
Jimmy Tingle’s Off-Broadway theater. Sunday at VFW Dilboy Hall, 371
Summer St., Somerville; tickets: $10; 617-497-9889 or www.honkfest.org.
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