Inquiring Minds Want to Know:
What is a Street Band?
What is a street band? How is a street band different from a community band? What is a HONK! band?
Our Vancouver, WA community band [http://vccb.us/] had a lively discussion last night on our continuing difficulties in getting the city to allow us to play our free concerts in the parks without paying for the privilege. We think that if we “just showed up,” we wouldn’t be breaking any laws, but our director says that if we advertised in advance (which he always does), we would be breaking some law or regulation. We were joking about advertising via Twitter and texting, but I can’t really see a “flash mob” forming out of our typical audience.
If we just showed up and played, does that make us a street band? Even if we are playing traditional music like patriotic tunes and Sousa marches?
A Few Bits of Advice
To My Honking Comrades;
As founding conductor of Downtown NYC’s TriBattery Pops, I find advice is worth what you pay for it, and often less. My first advice is to keep it as a hobby, sell out to the corporate monster, and buy a big ass TV. You can still come to HONK! and perform, although you obviously won’t look so desperate, and confidence comes with the price of limiting sexual options at art parties. But then everything has its price, doesn’t it? So how to get a high-paying job? Here’s one idea from “The Graduate”: plastic. When jobs are scarce, like today, look for a sector that does well during hard times, such as couponing, which now comes mostly as a plastic gift card. It’s a great sector for those into music, math, and computers. And education doesn’t matter: if you look a bit disheveled, the corporate world, now run by ‘60s sell-outs believes it’s due to genius.
A second bit of advice is to cover current pop songs. Squares will love it, and hipsters will understand the satire. I understand that your own obscure covers and originals are your babies, but they are often painful for your audience to sit through, similar to getting a transit seat next to a screaming child. We HONK! bands could be the new odd version of Muzak and therefore be able to market to elevators throughout the nation with such popular and fun garbage.
Once we are wealthy and well listened to, we can run for office and take over the country, even though, by then, after all the years of conformity, our minds will probably be washed of all creativity. This is what happened to those youth who pioneered the Beats of the late ‘40s and it’s bound to happen to us, if we’re lucky.
Conductor Tom Goodkind
The TriBattery Pops
Is That Really What I Wrote?
To the Editor,
Congratulations on the first issue of Harmonic Dissidents! It looks great, has lots of interesting info, and I think it will really help build the honk community. Thanks.
I also wanted to complain that it felt bad to me that the page about the band I’m in, The Hubbub Club, combined my own writing about the band with other info about us that I didn’t write. And then my name was listed as the author. I would rather not have my name on stuff that I haven’t written. I understand that you may have to edit things down sometimes, but in this case material was added that I never saw before it was published. I would like to keep contributing to your e-magazine, so I hope we can work this issue out. Thanks for all the work you’ve put into the magazine.
The Hubbub Club
[Our apologies to Jean and The Hubbub Club. In issue #1 we borrowed text from The Hubbub Club website and added it to Jean’s report without clearing it with her. We did not follow our policy of clearing all significant changes with the author. We promise to try harder. - Ed]
Bunnies Like to Share
Although there is no HONK! fest in Chicago (yet), Environmental Encroachment (EE Magic Circus Band) has been involved in all four HONK!s in Boston, and also both HONK!s in Seattle. This has given us perspective on HOW TO ATTEND and also insights into HOW TO HAVE a HONK!
1. Festival organizers (in general) often burn out after a few years. The festival becomes more organizing than playing and having fun. Some ways to avoid burn-out are: getting dedicated staffers for a year-long commitment, scheduling the work deadlines, assigning task forces, and meeting regularly with lists and progress reports.
2. Sponsorships are important—Print shops, venues, anyone that can barter and/or give money or services.
3. Paying the bands is extremely important.
4. Transportation and Housing issues for the bands are always crucial.
5. Proper press and promotion, often this evolves year to year, as folks who experience HONK! tell their friends, and it catches on exponentially. There are traditional and nontraditional outlets for promotion.
6. A volunteer network that can be relied upon. HONK!East is really stepping this aspect up.
7. Involving other creative networks; schools, orgs, art-spaces, maybe others who want to parade, etc.
8. People rely on a good, thorough, web site with documentation, mission, press accolades, and complete scheduling.
9. Scheduling a parade.
10. Lots of gigs. Some can be for community causes, like parades, or even like in Seattle the first year, HONK! participants played a local activist’s funeral. Busking opps are also great. Gigs at bars and clubs that pay are also fun, and people want to party a bit.
11. Bands should have their busking and merch strategies ready to make money for themselves.
I would like to see at HONK!:
1. More involvement with schools, especially local colleges. Involving academia gives the event press, as well as legitimacy in the realm of social education.
2. Tour extension possibilities. Now HONK! in Somerville extends to Providence, and New York City!
3. Continued emphasis on documentation for the festival and its bands.
Some more things that are being done:
1. Good food at the HONK!s.
2. Good spontaneous jams!
3. Unbridled enthusiasm.
4. A ‘Zine dedicated to this movement!
5. Bands donating songs to all the groups so we can play when together.
6. Bands helping one another tour and share information.
HONK! is starting to become what we’re living for!
Environmental Encroachment, Chicago, Il