HONK!Fest is more than just a music festival, it's an activist rally that features dozens of marching bands to carry the messages of freedom and justice. This year, that feeling of social action was the strongest it has ever been, for me at least. I've attended HONK!Fest since 2009 or 2010 and have always been moved by the raw power of the all-acoustic, community-based brass bands.
This year, a group of over 200 musicians from various HONK! bands used that power to bring music to incarcerated folks at the Suffolk County House of Corrections in Boston, while protesting their detention by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
We congregated on a ramp along Rt-93 and played to the walls of the prison as the inmates pushed up against the bar-covered windows to hear our message. Read the story as covered by the Boston Globe here.
The other highlight of the festival was seeing and hearing School of Honk perform on Sunday. This is a band that features HUNDREDS of beginner and amateur musicians, led by HONK veterans from the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band. They sounded amazing.
Learn more about School of Honk here: https://schoolofhonk.org/about/