June 14, 2011 in City

Doug Clark: Spokane Street Music Week kicks off

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Pat Foster plays the upright bass and sings harmony with Kevin Watkins at Main Avenue and Wall Street on Monday, the first day of Spokane Street Music Week. It’s the ninth year for the event, which raises money for Second Harvest.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

On the web

If you can’t make it downtown for Spokane Street Music Week, donations to Second Harvest food bank can also be made online at www.streetmusicweek.com. Watch a video of Monday’s musical acts at www.spokesman.com/video.

Spokane Street Music Week kicked off Monday under butt-ugly skies and the impending threat of deluge.

Weather as usual, in other words.

Maybe I should have picked a drier city for a street music food bank fundraiser.

Seattle, say.

Or Bangkok during monsoon season, perhaps.

Aw, I can’t complain. Despite our weather woes, 12 stalwarts still showed up to perform during the noon hour on the downtown sidewalks of Spokane.

The Diehard Dozen.

Pat Foster lugged her standup bass, for example.

That may not sound like such a big deal until you meet the woman and discover she stands 5-foot-nothing.

Her bass, on the other hand, could fill in for Dirk Nowitzki.

Paul Fawcett also defied the Monday damp.

The guitarist/fiddle player said Street Music Week feeds his “romantic notions” about this thing called being a busker.

According to my Webster’s, “busker” was a term used in merry olde England to describe a “strolling entertainer.”

“It’s a great, fun event,” Fawcett added.

I’m hoping the predictions of sunny weather ahead will boost our player and pedestrian numbers. By week’s end, the city’s business core should be swinging and swaying like never before.

And donating like never before, too.

Don’t forget that every cent dropped into our red street music collection buckets goes directly to the Second Harvest food bank.

This, by the way, is the ninth annual Spokane Street Music Week. Counting the record $4,272.66 collected in 2010, Street Music Week has pumped an impressive $20,080.69 into the food bank coffers.

( You can also donate to Second Harvest via our website, www.streetmusicweek.com.)

And there’s plenty of time left to get involved. Street Music Week is open to performers of all levels of ability and all inclinations. In past years we’ve had comedians, magicians, dancers and artists take part. Just contact me via the information below.

I like to think of Street Music Week as a smaller version of First Night, our New Year’s celebration, only with a slightly higher chance at getting frostbite or hypothermia.

Come see for yourself. The noon-hour event continues through Friday and with some special visitors planned.

On Wednesday, Mayor Mary Verner will return to sing a surprise song near the Starbucks on Main Avenue. This being an election year, the mayor has asked for a rehearsal in order to hone her performance chops.

It’s City Council President Joe Shogan’s turn on Thursday. He has threatened to vocalize “Heart of Gold” at the above location and I can’t wait.

Finally, on Friday, Peter Rivera – the former lead singer for Rare Earth – will appear at the Starbucks site to sing his iconic hits “Get Ready” and “Celebrate.”

Rivera’s amazing voice wowed the crowed last year. If you missed it, now’s the time to catch this world class entertainer.

Once again I’ve got busker fever.

“This is my favorite week to come downtown,” Foster said after her hour of playing was up. “Last year I came down and saw all these musicians all over the downtown. It was like we were San Francisco.”

Only with much better looking hippies, of course.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.

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