Street Music Week 2023
12 to 1 pm
Downtown Spokane, Garland District and Coeur d’Alene, ID
Greetings, Busker Nation.
It’s that time of year again. We’ve entered the Countdown Stage for the 21st annual Street Music Week.
Save the dates! Our food bank fundraiser always takes place during the second full week of June. Which translates this time to the noon hours of June 12-16 on the sidewalks of downtown Spokane, the historic Garland District and Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene.
Don’t be shy. Street Music Week is open to volunteer performers of all genres and levels of ability.
As our motto states: This is about generosity, not virtuosity.
Every penny raised through busking or direct donation goes to Second Harvest Inland Northwest and its mission to help feed the hungry.
Speaking of which…
Celebrating our 20-year milestone last year, Street Music Week has raised more than $300,000 in the fight against hunger. Nearly $28,000 came in last year, alone.
Spoiler Alert: This 2023 edition will represent a change for me.
Flash back to 2002. That’s when I started this as a solo act, chronicling my guitar-strumming adventures in my newspaper column with The Spokesman-Review. Much to my surprise, my five noon hours of picking and grinning brought in $503, which I donated to Second Harvest.
Then an idea took shape. How about a repeat performance the following year, but with a difference?
No solo this time. I invited the public to come join me. Street Music Week was off and running, eventually expanding to Garland and Coeur d’Alene.
Appleton, WI., even started its own version thanks to a couple of Spokane musicians with connections there. Appleton Street Music Week is now closing in on its 11th running. How cool is that?
But after a 20-year run, I’ve decided to let someone younger lead the way: Carey Eyer.
Besides being a regular participant, Carey oversees our Facebook page. He also promotes the event with wonderful videos that feature his young musician daughters, Neilia and Ivy. “Street Music Week is the best,” Eyer said. “The musicians in this community step up year after year to help our neighbors and friends. “I’m so happy to help move it forward and further the mission of Second Harvest.”
Hey, I'm not quitting. I plan to be available to Carey for advice as well as to continue my career as a sidewalk
And speaking of change. We’re all still reeling from the loss of Jim Lyons, one of my closest friends and SMW co-administrator, who died unexpectedly in late November. He was 64.
Jim was one of the most caring individuals I’ve ever met. He worked hard to make Street
Music Week a success.
It’s gratifying to look back on all that we’ve accomplished in both entertaining the public and, more importantly, feeding the area’s hungry.
This is one of the hardest messages I’ve ever had to write. But I wanted all of Busker Nation to know that Jim Lyons, my close pal and Street Music Week’s tireless co-leader, passed away this morning at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
I’m shocked and beyond devastated. Jimmy was the most caring guy I’ve ever known, full of good humor and always willing to help anyone in need.
I don’t have many details, but Jim told me a few days ago that he’d been quite ill for the last month.
Street Music Week brought Jim and me together in 2003, the first year our charity event went public. Jimmy never left, working year after year to see the event raise more than $300,000 to help feed the hungry via 2ndHarvest food bank.
My heart goes out to Jim’s family and his many, many friends. He was so loved and appreciated.
"This year’s need is like never before. It’s like watching dominos topple: the virus closed businesses, which put so many out of work, which put an unprecedented strain on the food bank resources." - Doug Clark
Follow Street Music Week on Facebook.