Last weekend sixteen street bands from all over the US converged on Austin for the second annual HONK!TX festival. Wikipedia describes street bands as “ambulatory, acoustic bands playing music in public spaces.” I would also add “…dressed in outlandish costumes and doing things with hula hoops.” 

The first two days of HONK!TX took place up near the University of Texas, then the festival moved downtown for the final day. Bill and I watched the bands pass by on East Sixth Street. Minor Mishap Marching Band from Austin brought up the rear of the parade. (We became fans of this band.at last December’s Downtown Stroll,) Along with other bystanders, we followed the parade about six blocks over to Republic Square Park

The bands took turns performing on the patio under the large oak tree at Republic Square Park. In general, the songs had New Orleans brass and European folk music influences, with a little klezmer and jazz improvisation thrown in now and then. But having said that, one band played Arcade Fire’s Wake Up. And Austin’s Academicos Da Opera is a  Brazilian samba group with plenty of drums and dancing girls. 
The performers seemed to be former high school and college “band nerds” who still enjoy playing their instruments and wearing costumes. Many were 20-somethings, but a few looked to be much older.
The March Madness Marching Band from Lexington Kentucky staged an elaborate dream-sequence play, complete with witches and evil monsters. 

The Forward! Marching Band came in from Wisconsin for the festival. This group had  excellent soloists…perhaps UW-Madison music majors?

Many bands featured hula hoopists and some were really quite talented. I guess majorettes are no longer fashionable? 

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