COVID-19 busts tradition for buskers
Ron Wetmur of Coeur d’Alene plays an acoustic guitar along to classic rock tunes on Sherman Avenue between Fourth and Fifth street during the 2016 Street Music Week. This year the event has been physically canceled because of the pandemic, but efforts to support Second Harvest Food Bank and local musicians are taking place online.
JAKE PARRISH/Press File
| May 29, 2020 1:00 AM
Street Music Week physically canceled; fundraiser will be held online
Because of COVID-19 concerns, musicians will not be taking to the streets to collect for Second Harvest Food Bank in June, but efforts are still taking place to support the Inland Northwest's main supplier of food for those in need.
The 18th annual Street Music Week, which was scheduled for June 8-12, “has regretfully been canceled,” said Doug Clark, who founded the event in 2002 while writing columns for the Spokesman-Review.
“While the sidewalks won’t be dotted with red donation buckets and filled with the sound of music this year, our fundraiser will go on with an online twist," Clark said.
Supporters of the event can still direct food bank contributions via www.streetmusicweek.com, the new website for the event.
“We’ve made it easier than ever to give,” Clark said.
Street Music Week grew to attract an average of 300 volunteers who sing, dance or play instruments during the weekday noon hours of the second full week of June. As years went by, the fundraiser expanded from Spokane’s downtown business core to include the historic Garland District as well as Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene.
“The event has so far collected nearly $240,000, with every penny going to Second Harvest,” Clark added. “But this year’s need is like never before. It’s like watching dominoes topple: The virus closed businesses, which put so many out of work, which, in turn, put an unprecedented strain on food bank resources.”
To continue the mission, Street Music Week performers are encouraged to stream or upload their music on their social network sites while including 2-harvest.org/streetmusicweek as the donation link along with #streetmusicweek in the video description.
“And make sure to share your video performances on http://facebook.com/streetmusicweek, our official Facebook site,” Clark said.
Carey Eyer, Street Music Week’s tech wiz, created an entertaining and informative video (check it out at https://youtu.be/g2EF2Mm5kdw) starring his talented daughters, Neilia and Ivy. The girls explain what it takes to become a virtual Street Music Week performer.
“We welcome participation whether you’re a benevolent busker or a community member who cares about feeding the hungry," Clark said. "And we look forward to making the sidewalks sing once again in 2021."