Bill Clifford of the Anti-Fascist Marching Band has begun organizing the 1st annual Honk! Fest West, to be held in Seattle, Washington on March 23rd. This Honk! event draws much of its inspiration from the enormously successful Honk! festival held annually in Somerville, Massachusetts. The Honk! Fest West celebration will coincide with the 9th Annual Conference on Diversity in Musical Education (C-DIME 9) to be held that weekend at the UW School of Music. Charles Keil, another key organizer who will also be the keynote speaker at the conference, is a leading advocate of early childhood musical education and of grooving street music. See his websites such as www.128path.org, http://BornToGroove.org/, and http://www.musekids.org/.
Honk! events are a celebration of the emergence of a new type of street band, one that is typically accoustic and mobile, often politically aware and articulate, and always high spirited. There is a rich community ethic amongst many honkers, who use their music to erode the barriers between professional and novice, and between audience and performers. Although uniforms are sometimes used as a performance tool, individuality is key, and group members often hail from all range of classes, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. Perhaps most importantly, the Honk! website proclaims, "the honkers' ultimate goal is to have fun, to relish the art of making fun as a form of individual and collective transcendence, and to encourage others to see and do the same."