Street Music Week 2023
12 to 1 pm
Downtown Spokane, Garland District and Coeur d’Alene, ID
The 21st annual Street Music Week is fast
approaching. The food bank fundraiser for
Second Harvest Inland Northwest will take
place during the noon hours of June 12-16 on
the sidewalks of downtown Spokane, the
historic Garland District and Sherman Ave. in
If you’ve never been involved or need a
reminder the following Busker 101 crash
course will give you everything you need to
know on how to take part.
(busk.er a person who performs music or
other entertainment in the street or another
public place for monetary donations.)
Before we go any further, let me put your
anxieties to rest. Street Music Week is open to
all, no matter what level of performance.
So please raise your right hand and repeat
This is about generosity – not virtuosity!
Now, let the learning begin:
Street Music Week always takes place
Monday through Friday from noon until 1
p.m. of the second full week of June.
Volunteers can take part on one day or every
day. It’s entirely up to them. Just show up 15-
to-20 minutes before noon at one of the
following check-in locations:
Downtown Spokane – Main and Post, a
few steps east of Starbucks.
Garland District – 733 W. Garland,
outside The Gathering House.
Coeur d’Alene – 415 Sherman Ave, in
front of Art Spirit Gallery.
After inking your name and cell number (and
email if we don’t have it) on a sign-in sheet,
you will receive a souvenir event badge
(yours to keep) and a red plastic bucket
(yours to NOT keep) for collecting donations.
It’s now up to you to find a sidewalk location
suitable for your performance.
That’s right. There are no stages. No assigned
locations. This is busking, after all, which is all
about being self-sufficient.
Something to consider: Even though SMW has
been around since 2002 (when I started it as
a lone wandering minstrel) the vast majority
of passing humanity won’t have a clue as to
why you are playing/singing/dancing for
money on the sidewalk.
So, don’t be shy. Let the public know that this
is a charity event and you are “collecting for
the Food Bank!”
I try to holler that loud and often, even while
performing a song. Take it from me. Plugging
the food bank repeatedly is a sure way to
boost donations and public awareness.
Street Music Week is endorsed by both the
Spokane and Coeur d’Alene City Councils.
While that gives us credibility, it’s still
important to obey a few common sense rules
of courtesy, such as…
1. Don’t block doorways or impede the
flow of lunchtime foot traffic. Big no-no.
2. This is a no-outlet event. Wanna rock
out? Amps and sound systems must be
battery powered and self-contained.
Outlets? Real buskers don’t need no
3. Be mindful of volume level. Please turn
down should you get any complaints
about noise from merchants or others.
Don’t get in a huff. We’re all about
4. Let your contact person know about
any gripes that may come your way. Our
new leader, Carey Eyer, will be happy to
smooth the waters.
Finish at 1 p.m. No encores, puh-leez! Tote
your bucket of do-re-mi back to where you
No worries about how much you made. This
isn’t a competition. Every cent goes to 2 nd
Harvest to help feed the hungry and it has
added up to more than $300,000 since it all
Make a dime. Make a zillion. You’re a part of
history, either way.
That about covers it, but here’s one more
We need a fresh supply of performers every
year to keep the fun going.
Let’s face it. A lot of us are getting somewhat
long in the tooth, myself included.
That said, we’re always on the lookout for
new volunteers. So, please, forward any
emails or phone numbers of prospective
buskers who aren’t already in the SMW
Or text or call me at (509) 999-0050. I’ll be
glad to address any concern or question you
may have regarding life, liberty and the
continuance of Street Music Week.
The online version of Street Music Week was
created in 2020 due to chaos and constraints
over Covid-19. It proved to be such a success
(thank you, Carey) that we’re keeping the
online venue going forever and ever, amen.
Check out our Facebook site:
( http://facebook.com/streetmusicweek ).
It’s there to post performance videos and
leave comments as well as to make donations
via a red bucket food bank link.
As long as you’re on the ol’ Interweb, don’t
forget to visit ( streetmusicweek.com ), the
official SMW website. You’ll find information
and history plus a cool photo archive that
chronicles past events.
And, of course, there’s another easy-to-
operate link for making donations to 2 nd
I’ll sign off for now. And thanks in advance for
(SMW CEO, retired)
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.