Street Music Week, an annual fundraising event for Spokane food bank Second Harvest, will be held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event, scheduled to start Monday, would typically see more than 300 dancers, singers and musicians performing on street corners throughout downtown Spokane every afternoon. Each performer’s takings, collected in red buckets, are donated to the food bank.
Musicians are encouraged to record themselves performing and post the videos on social media with the hashtag #StreetMusicWeek and a link to Second Harvest’s website, with opportunities to donate directly.
Over the past 17 years, the annual event has brought in more than $240,000 worth of loose change and dollar bills for Second Harvest, according to Street Music Week founder Doug Clark.
Since its inception in 2003, the event has expanded from downtown Spokane to the Garland Business District and downtown Coeur d’Alene.
Clark, a longtime musician and retired columnist for The Spokesman-Review, said he and other organizers decided several weeks ago to call off this year’s Street Music Week because they didn’t feel comfortable asking performers to go out on the streets amidst a pandemic.
But with ongoing shutdowns causing an all-time high demand on food banks around the country, Clark still wanted to keep the event’s mission going.
Kathy Hedgecock, vice president of philanthropy at Second Harvest, said the food bank was anticipating higher demand for their services “for the foreseeable future.”
“With so many unknowns right now, every dollar donated makes a huge difference in serving our 21 counties in Washington and five in North Idaho,” Hedgecock said. “Street Music Week has always been a huge part of that and we’re grateful to have their continued support right now.”
Clark said the event has always been about “generosity, not virtuosity.” The virtual event is open to performers of all skill levels.
More information about the virtual 2020 Street Music Week and opportunities to contribute can be found on the event’s Facebook page or at streetmusicweek.com.
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