Honk! Fest Jazzes Up Somerville

By Megan Moore
BU News Service

Crowds lined the streets as trumpets blared, tubas bellowed and community groups shouted Sunday at the 10th annual HONK! Festival parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square.

The HONK! Festival is a three-day annual event featuring street activists and bands from across the globe. This year’s festival featured bands from the U.S., France and Canada. Friday kicked things off with lantern making workshops, a lantern parade and band performances at Johnny D’s Night Club in Davis Square. Saturday, 25 bands played throughout the day at outdoor venues in Davis Square. Sunday wrapped up the festival as HONK! joined forces with Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest for a parade.

Based in Somerville, the festival is fully organized by volunteers. Rae Sutman, member of the organizing committee, said it takes almost a full year to plan the festival and the volunteers contribute a lot of time and energy all throughout the year. Sutman has been volunteering with the festival for five years and said it’s one of the most joyful, exuberant things she’s experienced.

“There’s something about the music and bringing everyone together,” she said. “It’s kind of cathartic.”

Sutman said that the organizing committee works to earn a little money throughout the festival to help the bands with travel expenses. Many bands are housed by community members, and food is donated by local restaurants for performers and volunteers.

“They mostly all come here on their own dime,” she said. “They are very generous with their time.”

The School of HONK!, an after school program based in Cambridge and Somerville that teaches basic music concepts, also performed during the parade. Brothers Sam Diener, 10, and Aaron Diener, 12, from Somerville walked in their first parade on Sunday.

“Everyone gets to see what you’ve been practicing for,” Aaron said. “It’s really fun.”

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