Street Music Week was started in 2002 in Spokane, Washington by columnist Doug Clark of The Spokesman Review. The idea was simple; play music during the noon hour in the second full week of June and give the money to the foodbank.
A SIMPLE PROCESS*
Now retired, Clark continues to spearhead the event and believes that its steady growth and success is due to its simplicity.
Street Music Week takes place from noon to 1 p.m. during the second full business week in June, Monday through Friday.
Performers can take part one day or every day. It’s entirely up to them.
All they have to do is come to a central location in Spokane’s downtown business core prior to noon. They sign in and are given a red collection bucket and an event badge (which they can keep) that identifies them as a participant.
It’s then up to the artist to find a sidewalk spot and perform until 1 p.m. Then the artist brings the bucket back to the command center and turns in the donations.
“There are no stages. There are no electric outlets,” said Clark. “We want the artists to have a true street music experience. If a performer wants amplification, it must be battery-powered and portable and comply with the city’s noise ordinance.”
IT’S FOR EVERYONE
Another key to the success is that Street Music Week is open to performers of ALL ages, ALL levels of ability and ALL artistic endeavors.
“It’s about generosity, not virtuosity,” has become the event’s unofficial slogan.
Street Music Week participants have ranged from symphony virtuosos to beginners.
We’ve had a world champion accordion player and an elementary school marimba band. We’ve had a group of high school Scottish Highland dancers with bagpipe band.
Our Spokane Police Chief joined us one year to play spoons with a bluegrass band. Mayors and city council members have pitched in to sing, tap tambourines or just show support. A video of a performance by Spokane native Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge and Slash’s backup band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators collected over 500,000 internet views. Peter Rivera, the original lead singer of Rare Earth, has wowed listeners by singing his mega hits like “Get Ready” and “I Just Want to Celebrate.”