Doug Clark closed out another year of the street music event that he founded with the observation that the musicians and artists again brought a “cool vibe” downtown in the hot sun.
“I’m encouraged that this thing still has life to it,” he said, after the last performance concluded Friday.
Street Music Week raised $27,089 for the Second Harvest Inland Northwest Food Bank, which equates to 135,445 meals.
This is the event’s 17th year, with more than 250 musicians playing in downtown Spokane, Coeur d’Alene and the Garland District. This brings the all-time total to $238,655, or over 1.1 million meals.
Since that year, Street Music Week has grown from just Clark to a community-centered event with hundreds of participants from all walks of life. But the core of giving back has never changed.
Throughout the week, musicians, dancers, comedians and other talented volunteers showed up to one of the three Street Music Week checkpoints a little before noon to get a red bucket for donations and an event button and they spread out around the area to perform for the lunch hour.
There was a lack of foot traffic in downtown Spokane this year, Clark said, but it was still a “good, solid year.”
While the event raises money for a good cause, it also adds to the culture of Spokane, Clark said.
“It’s about adding some life to downtown with musicians and artists,” he said. “It’s a cool vibe.”
The last act Friday was Peter Rivera, from the iconic band Rare Earth, who sang with the Trailer Park Girls, a Spokane band providing musical backup. Rivera has lent his musical talents to Street Music Week for many years.
Rivera encouraged the audience to sing along to his song “I Just Want to Celebrate.” A little boy in a baseball cap encouraged his sister, an even littler toddler, to walk out in front of the crowd and show off her dance moves, which drew cheers of encouragement from the crowd.
Tera Brasch, singer and percussionist for the Trailer Park Girls, has been a part of Street Music Week for many years. Staying close to the fundraiser’s roots is what Brasch said she holds close to her heart.
The event has become “more sophisticated” over the years with microphones and battery-powered amps, but the event’s roots are still in acoustic music and musicians still have that raw edge, she said.
Clark, Brasch and her husband, Joe, the guitarist, and bass player Jeff Peterson make up the Trailer Park Girls.
Jim Lyons, a musician and organizer for the event, technically doesn’t quite measure up to Clark in terms of days he has played at Street Music Week. Lyons has only played 80 days at Street Music Week while Clark has played 85, accounting for the one year Clark was the only musician, in 2003.
“It’s great to get out here and play,” Lyons said.
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