[Dixielandjazz] More on the Boston HonkFest

David Richoux 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  
good times.
     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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