Samba Ja

Might as Well Honk

Who’s ready for public spaces in Eugene to be alive with the sound of … honking? 

This weekend the fourth-annual Honk! Fest Eugene comes to Kesey Square downtown and Scobert Park in the Whiteaker.

Festival co-founder Michael Mazza calls the free two-day event a celebration of public space and a gathering of misfit drumlines, marching bands, brass ensembles and much more.

“It’s this wide array of activities,” he adds. “It’s DIY, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Honk! Fests happen in cities all over the country. “Honk! Fest in Seattle is one of my favorites,” Mazza says. “It took years to figure out how deep it was.” 

The Seattle experience inspired Mazza and festival co-founder Ashley Wright to try something similar in Eugene.

This year Honk! Fest features Eugene-based Brazilian percussion ensemble Samba Ja, Eugene/Portland horn-powered, socially driven brass band Unpresidented, along with a variety of other artists from as far away as Seattle and Arcata, California.

Hearticorn Brass Band is a local activist street band comprised entirely of women, trans and non-gender-binary individuals playing brass arrangements of disco, cumbia, shuffle, R&B and more.

“It’s really colorful,” Wright says, “and larger than life. People have a transcendent experience.” She calls Honk! Fest a community effort that depends on volunteer support and donations.

Besides blurring the line between audience and performer, the year-round goal of Honk! Fest, Mazza says, is to “push a culture of music in the streets.”

Honk! Fest Eugene is 5:30-10 pm Friday, June 8, in Kesey Square and Saturday, June 9, at Scobert Park; FREE, all-ages.

 A late-night afterparty and fundraiser starts 8 pm Saturday, June 9, at Sam Bond’s; sliding scale $6 and up, 21-plus.