Community street bands have descended on Austin this weekend for the annual HONK!TX festival. Twenty-three bands are participating, including nine from the Austin area and one from Vancouver, British Columbia. Bands range from four to 40 members with a variety of musical influences including New Orleans brass bands, European klezmer, Brazilian Carnaval, and drum lines. Some groups have political goals, but most seem to be former band nerds who still like to get together and play their instruments.
On Friday evening HONK!TX took over the area around Jo’s Coffee Shop on South Congress. Bill and I visited all three stages, trying to see as many groups as possible. Most musicians played traditional marching band instruments (brass, percussion, and winds), but we also saw an accordion, a violin, and even an electric guitar. Dancers, hula hoopers, jugglers, and cheerleaders were popular eye candy.
The HONK!TX fun continues with Saturday shows near the UT area and a parade on Sunday in East Austin.
Artesian Rumble Arkestra from Olympia, Washington
March Madness Marching Band from Lexington, Kentucky (note the electric guitarist with the space helmet and the amp rigged above his head)
Emperor Norton’s Stationary March Band from Somerville, Massachuseutts
Drum line Maracatu Austin
Local favorite Minor Mishap Marching Band