Street Music Week Elevates the Arts for a Good Cause

Cover photo courtesy of 2nd Harvest Food Bank

By Alana Livingston

Street Music Week is the brainchild of retired columnist Doug Clark of the Spokesman Review. Clark says he was bothered by the lack of street performers in Spokane compared to other cities. To address this, he played his acoustic guitar every day for a week in 2002, collecting money that he then donated to the food bank. The next year, he invited some more people to join him, and the rest is history.  

Street Music Week, which now takes place in the second week of June (Monday-Friday, 12-1 p.m.), benefits 2nd Harvest Food Bank. Lunch hour is the perfect time to step outside to view this vibrant music and art scene. Street Music Week is for everyone, and participants do not need to have musical talent; they only need to show up and provide some kind of performance in the time allotted. Everyone from jugglers, comedians, and mimes to famous musicians have performed. Performers can do the whole week, a single day or multiple days. 

Carey Eyer, the current coordinator of Street Music Week, began participating in 2012 along with his two preschool-aged daughters. Eyer states that Street Music Week has been a solid part of his children’s musical growth, and, as a family, they derive much more from the event than they contribute. His family has started to become more involved with the other side of the event through 2nd Harvest. They have witnessed the impact of access to healthy food in our community while participating in food delivery and distribution. “It’s important for kids to understand not everyone eats as well as we do,” Eyer says. Eyer mentions how great is to see the kids count the donations and actually figure out how many pounds of food they raised (Food bank officials state $1 provides six pounds of food).  

Photo Courtesy 2nd Harvest Food Bank

During Covid, the in-person Street Music Week event was brought to a halt, causing the need for online donations, something that has proven to be a blessing. “Not everyone is available during the timeframe the performances take place, so the addition of online donations and videos is great for people to still take part,” Eyer says. Other than the online addition to the event, Street Music Week has stayed the same—simple and straightforward. Keeping it simple is something that Clark has always believed makes it such a great success.  

Now in its 22nd year, Street Music Week has expanded from just the downtown location to include the Garland District and Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’ Alene. This fun event is a way to get outside, get involved, give back and have a blast doing it. The organizers of this event would love to help other cities re-create their own street music week. “All it takes is a bit of organization and a dash of desire,” claims Clark. 

Street Music Week will take place June 10-14. Participants do not need to sign up beforehand—simply show up at one of the locations around 11:30 a.m. to collect a donation bucket and badge. Online donations can be made at Doug Clark will return to Spokane to perform both Thursday and Friday. 

Street Music Week Locations: Downtown Spokane (Main and Post, a few steps east of Starbucks); the Garland District (733 W. Garland, outside The Gathering House); in Coeur d’Alene (415 Sherman Ave, in front of Art Spirit Gallery). 

Alana Livingston is looking forward to continuing her outdoor adventures by running 365 miles and completing 52 hikes in 2024. 

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