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Buskers, helpers all tuned up for annual Street Music Week

A nice guy at The General Store gave me a discount on those red paint buckets we use every year for collecting food bank donations.

A tub of shiny new 2014 busker badges arrived on Friday.

We’ve put up posters. Those pesky solicitation licenses have been obtained to keep us legal.

A mayoral proclamation will be read at the next Spokane City Council meeting.

(Knock on wood.)

Looks like we’re as ready as we can be for another edition of Street Music Week, which takes place during the noon hours of Monday through Friday.

So get ready to …

Unleash the BUSKERS!!

That’s the quaint, archaic term for street performers, those generous, talented souls who, year after year, make this charity event such a grand success.

This is shaping up to be our most ambitious Street Music Week ever.

As usual, SMW will be held on the sidewalks of downtown Spokane, where it all began back in 2003.

Last year, the Garland District joined in and will do so again this year.

Plus, for the first time ever, Street Music Week will take place along Coeur d’Alene’s beautiful Sherman Avenue.

It’s an honor to have the Lake City embracing Street Music Week.

And let’s not forget our first street music sister city, Appleton, Wisconsin.

For the second year, Appletonians will host an event for their own regional food bank.

Washington, Wisconsin, Idaho …

Who knows how far this could go?

Wherever it happens, however, the mission is always the same. And that is to raise money to fight hunger by entertaining the lunch-hour flow of pedestrians.

Not everyone donates, of course.

Many people pass by those red buckets without ever making eye contact with the singers and dancers, etc.

Being a street musician can be lonelier than a Roy Orbison song.

Some days I’ve felt more rejected than a warm tub of potato salad with an outdated expiration mark.

And that was just from city officials passing by.

But persistence pays. So far, mighty Busker Nation has raised some $66,000 for the fight against hunger.

By this time next week, I’d love to report that we have broken the $80,000 mark.

If you haven’t experienced Street Music Week, this is the year to take it in.

I don’t want to create a stampede, but Spokane City Councilman Steve Salvatori said he’d join me Tuesday at my spot near Starbucks on Main.

I kidded Lone Star Steve (a journalist pal came up with that nickname) about his recent resignation from the Council and upcoming move to Texas for purposes of crass capitalism.

The other day, Salvatori texted me the following:

“As Bob Dylan once told Mick Jagger, ‘I could have written ‘(I can’t get no) Satisfaction,’ but you could have never written ‘Mr. Tambourine Man.’ ”

I have no idea why Salvatori sent me this.

But it does explain why Spokane government seems always to be out to lunch.

When Salvatori comes down, my guitarist amigo Joe Brasch and I plan to play some Texas-themed songs for him.

Or not. It all depends on how much loot he coughs up.

Far more exciting news is that Peter Rivera, former lead singer of Rare Earth, will return to SMW Friday to sing his hits at the Starbucks location.

“I just want to celebraaate …”

There will be a lot of other exciting developments about things going on. So stay tuned and I will keep you apprised.

In the meantime, check out, where you can now watch “Sing for Their Suppers,” the fine documentary about Spokane Street Music Week, enjoy photographs from some of our past fundraisers and, more importantly, make a food bank donation online.

Likewise, if you’ve ever felt the itch to add “busker” to your resume, there’s still plenty of time to get involved.

Just call or email me through the contact information below.

Trust me. This is a time where more really does equate to merrier.

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

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