HONK! takes over Montavilla

EUPHONIC VIDEO SAMPLER INCLUDED | See what happened when the ‘HONK! Fest’ made its way to outer East Portland, bringing ‘street music’ to foks, one Sunday afternoon …

In the Montavilla Street Plaza, the “unofficial” Montavilla HONK! Fest Marching Band steps out.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For two days, the premiere of “HONK! Fest” in Portland took place the weekend of July 22 and 23.

Due to the decentralized nature of HONK! Fest events, we couldn’t find an organizer to describe the festival for us. However an “official/unofficial photographer” with the organization, Charles Daniels, spoke with East Portland News about it.

“This is kind of a viral idea,” Daniels began. “It started as a community-based event in Somerville, Massachusetts; and, since then, it’s spread all over the country, and all over the world.”

Don’t just read about a music festival, when you can watch video and listen to a couple of the performances, right here:

“What happens is that a gathering of street bands perform in public spaces,” Daniels continued. “It’s usually a two or three day event, with no corporate sponsorships –and it’s absolutely free; no tickets,” Daniels explained.

“As the organizers have said, this is music – played among the people, for the people – inviting everyone to join together in making the world a better place,” he noted.

A “HONK! Fest” band makes its way to the Milwaukie Lumber parking lot.

On July 22, the event started off in Washington Monroe Park, next to Revolution Hall, in inner Southeast Portland.

But, on July 23, it arrived at three locations in the Montavilla neighborhood:

The Street Plaza next to Bipartisan Café
The Milwaukie Lumber parking lot
The Beer Bunker beer garden

The HONK! Fest has been called everything from “avant-oompah!” to a “brassroots revolution,” and we learned that participating bands draw inspiration from sources as varied as Klezmer, Balkan and Romani music, Brazilian Samba, Afrobeat and Highlife, Punk, Funk, and Hip Hop, as well as the New Orleans second line tradition, presented in the spirit of Mardi Gras and Carnival.

The Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers marching band begins its performance.

The Montavilla performances started off with a “parade” starting out from the Street Plaza, along the SE Stark Street sidewalk to the Milwaukie Lumber parking lot, led by the “Montavilla HONK! Fest Marching Band”, as the assemblage called themselves.

In the parking lot where the crowd had gathered, folks wondered where and when the next act would show up.

As some started to drift away, the distinctive percussive sound of the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers could be detected in the area, approaching along SE 81st Avenue, to start their set on the hot afternoon.

Back at the Montavilla Street Plaza, another band gets ready to entertain.

The “jam out celebration” continued into the evening.

Find out more about “HONK! Fest” by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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