For the past few years, we have spent our Columbus Day weekends partying at HONK! with “Activist Street Bands”. Basically, that means that there are some funktastic musicians that put on awesome shows all weekend through Davis Square in Somerville. It’s a lot of music and a whole lot of fun, and most of it free on the sidewalks of the Square!
One of our favorites is a band from Chicago called Black Bear Combo. I found this (reasonable) cell phone video on YouTube from one of their shows at last year’s festival; oddly enough you can see Shiry and me in the background of some of the shots!
It’s a great event for the Somerville/Cambridge community, but you don’t have to live down the street to enjoy it. Although there are now festivals popping up in other cities ranging from Providence to Austin, TX, I would fly in from just about anywhere to come hang out in Davis and join in the fun. To get more insight into what this all means, I would recommend checking out Natasha Burger’s take on last year’s festival, and then maybe browsing YouTube for other Honk videos, though they don’t quite capture the spirit of having 4 or 5 street corner “stages” within a few blocks that are rocking out all weekend.
So, why am I mentioning the festival now if it doesn’t happen until Columbus Day? I ended up on the organizers’ mailing list (no complaints), and they just sent out the first information about this year’s festival. They run a non-profit organization that sets up the events and helps to bring in bands from all over the world. Yes, there are activist street bands beyond Somerville, some even come from further away than Chicago! They set up a HONK! Kickstarter to raise money to help defray travel costs for musicians and I thought it was worth a share.
Even if you aren’t ready to donate to the cause, I highly recommend marking on your calendar that you are booked for Columbus Day weekend, the evening of September 30th through October 3rd. It’s worth the trip, wherever you may be coming from.