Musicians and marchers flooded the streets of Somerville, MA over the weekend for the 12th annual HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands.
The festival, attended by dozens of brass bands from around the globe, drew large crowds to Davis Square where marchers were seen on foot, stilts and the occasional unicycle.
The event began in 2006 when the Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band decided to create a celebration dedicated to community engagement, social justice and, of course, music. However, this year, the festival has taken on particular significance in regard to the Trump administration.
HONK! is heavily associated with leftist views, proudly carrying on the American tradition of protest music, and bands now perform hybrids of old classics, mixing tunes like “When the Saints Go Marching In” with chants calling for democracy.
It’s a fusion of celebration and resistance, providing a haven for like-minded creative types to jam out while speaking out during a critical moment in history.
Themes this year partly centered around anti-discrimination advocacy, women’s rights and immigration, culminating Sunday in a performance by HONK! bands at a Boston ICE detention center rally.
As today’s political climate calls on festival activists to be louder than ever, HONK! is continuing its more than decade-long record of merging music and demands for political change.