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Honkfest: An Entire Subculture Outside Andy’s Garage

Posted by April 9th, 2010 No Comments »

Honkfest 2010 Preview 
April 9-11 in Seattle
By Andy Bookwalter

I passed up a few chances to see Orkestar Zirkonium, because I got them confused with Dark Star Orchestra. Dark Star Orchestra is a Grateful Dead cover band, which they admit right out front. “Recreating The Grateful Dead Experience,” bold as brass, no shame whatsoever.

Orkestar Zirkonium is something that shouldn’t exist in white-belt-fixietown: An Eastern European inspired brass and drum marching band.

Orkestar Zirkonium is a great and wonderful thing. Marching bands in general are great, especially when they are made up of punks, anarchists, and vagabonds. Last year, about this time, I stumbled onto Honkfest after hearing distant horns and drums while working in the garage. If there’s anything cooler than accidentally discovering an entire subculture while you’re looking for something to do besides cleaning your garage, I don’t want to know about it.

A couple of things I learned last year: Tubas and snare drums can make “Smooth Criminal” sound cool all over again, and when a brass band marches away, you will follow. This weekend, in Georgetown, Fremont, the Central District, and West Seattle, get out of the garage and see 25 street bands.


Honk Fest West III will shut down Seattle streets Friday April 9 through Sunday April 11, 2010. Head to for a full schedule.

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