In advance of this year’s virtual Honk festival from Oct. 5 to 11, I’ve put together the video below for my friends at the festival featuring my photos of the annual event (especially the parades) since the first parade from Somerville to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2007. And read my preview in Dig Boston: Virtual Honk Festival: How Somerville’s Cultural Phenomenon Spread Around The World.

“When we ask people about Honk the word ‘joy’ comes up so often,” says Cecily Miller, one of the organizers of Somerville’s annual festival of activist marching bands. “It’s like the joy of being alive is distilled into the music, how the music makes your body feel, the camaraderie of being part of a crowd that’s having this powerful shared experience, the fact that everybody’s happy, and it’s completely removed from commerce.”

Dubbed “HONK! United,” this year’s online event allows the festival to showcase how the shindig that began in Somerville in 2006 has spread across North America, Europe, and even to Australia, with sister festivals in Seattle, Rio, Wollongong, Providence, Vancouver, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Austin. Which is an extraordinary accomplishment for a cultural thing from greater Boston in the past, um, quarter century. And even more extraordinary because the phenomenon has spread as a grassroots thing–not as a big business entertainment industry thing–and has remained a grassroots effort both locally and internationally.

Find more Honk coverage

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