The [Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band] got started in 2003 doing some anti-war protests with Bread and Puppet [Theater] actually. It was an ad-hoc group of people. Various people knew each other, but we didn’t all know each other. After one march in particular, we thought ‘This is really exciting, why don’t we stick together.’ That was the beginning of our band.
The Honk Festival
About three years later we had this thought that there were probably other bands that had formed similarly with this idea of lending music to the politics of the moment. We started looking around to see who they might be. Hungry March Band had been around for a while. John [Bell, her husband] and I knew them from New York. And, of course, the Bread and Puppet Band was a big part of our inspiration. [The couple has performed with the experimental, political, theater troupe since the 1970s.] Then we found the Brass Liberation Orchestra in Oakland, California. So we just sort of sent out this message: ‘Would you like to get together and have some sort of convergence of activist bands?’ And we got a very positive response. And when the BLO people from California told us they were coming, we said, ‘Oh, we have a festival.