One of the challenges of bringing the HONK! community to Toronto is actually building the local support network. In other words, we want to expand the broader HONK! community by leading our city into this special musical melee but part of our efforts are spent generating local interest among potentially like-minded musicians.
HONK! ON is unlike a lot of music festivals. It’s non-commercial so there are no ticket sales, for instance. Apart from some merchandise sales to help generate some operational capital, it’s a hardly a commercial venture at all. In this regard, gaining “exposure” is less a marketing concern than it is a community-generating concern. It’s all volunteer-based and bands pay their way to come and play. Hopefully, in the future we’ll have generated enough community and grant-based funding to offer a stipend to bands to help offset costs.
The priority – at least as I see it – is that bands have a good time! HONK! ON is basically a community party with music. I hope that the visiting bands have such a good time that they will want to come again and talk it up to their colleagues. I hope that local musicians enjoy a unique musical experience that is exciting enough to cause ripples throughout their circles of influence.
In terms of the HONK! world, what’s taking place in Toronto this coming weekend is very special. It’s local music history-in-the-making. What’s particularly a treat – and the locals generally have no idea about the degree of significance! – is that we are to be honoured by the presence of three of the longest-running HONK! bands: Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band, Extraordinary Rendition Band and The Carnival Band.
All three of these bands were at the very first HONK! Fest in Somerville, Massachusetts in 2006. I think it’s absolutely wonderful that they’re all going to be here to help us launch HONK! ON.