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News :: Media : Politics
Honk! festival draws 25 activist street bands to Somerville, MA
15 Oct 2008
This year's third annual HONK! Festival from Oct. 10 - 12 was an exuberant street party and gathering of 25 activist street bands in Somerville. On Friday, October 10, Tufts University hosted a HONK! symposium on "Politics and Festival," as well as several hands-on workshops focussing on the challenges faced by honk bands.
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On Saturday, October 11, after the opening ceremonies at noon in Seven Hills Park, bands dispersed to different locations around Davis Square, playing performances all afternoon.

On Sunday, October 12, Honk! bands paraded to "Reclaim the Streets for Horns, Bikes, and Feet!" which featured all participating honk bands as well as many community organizations, including Bread and Puppet Theater, Derby Dames, Bikes Not Bombs, Open Air Circus, Livable Streets Alliance, and many others.

The parade included Boston's "Red Bandana brigade," an informal delegation of labor activists and troublemakers (all wearing red bandanas). Red bandanas were worn by miners in the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain -- the largest armed uprising in American labor history -- when thousands of coal miners confronted company-paid private goons in an effort to unionize the southwestern West Virginia mines. During the battle, coal miners wore red bandanas around their necks to identify themselves as union supporters.

The HONK! Festival is a grassroots, non-profit event made possible by the financial and in-kind support of many local residents and businesses. For the duration of the Festival, more than 250 musicians were housed by generous neighbors and friends and many local restaurants generously provided food for the performers and volunteers. Scores of community members have donated hours of labor to make HONK! possible.
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