In 2002, Doug Clark started a little event called Street Music Week in Spokane, Wash. It started small, with him playing by himself on the street to collect funds for the local food bank.
Fifteen years later, this grassroots event has grown in popularity and is met with much fanfare. Now, more performers can be seen at the week-long event, and other cities are helping the cause. The goal is to have cities across the country help feed the hungry by hosting similar Street Music Weeks in their areas the second week of June. In 2013, Appleton was asked to be a sister city.
From June 12 to 16, residents and city visitors alike are encouraged to participate in this growing phenomenon by coming out to College Avenue in downtown Appleton. Street Music Week-goers can expect 150-200 generous musicians, artists, and entertainers to fill Downtown Appleton with a variety of performances throughout the week.
The idea is simple: Musicians will play free music all week during the noon hour, Monday through Friday. Everyone is welcome to perform because this event is about generosity, not virtuosity. In fact, musicians will also have collection containers for the crowd to make donations to partnering Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
With the donations, Feeding America can help solve a real problem in America … and in our communities right here in Northeastern Wisconsin. Having raised almost $10,000 in its first four years in Appleton, Street Music Week has made a noticeable impact on area hunger. Performers have helped to raise the equivalent of a semi-truck full of food, and they have supplied food for the children’s summer program in the area.
If you’re interested in participating and making a difference, volunteers of all skill levels are welcome and are encouraged to perform. Stop by Heid Music at 308 E. College Ave. to register and pick up a donation bucket. Or simply come downtown for lunch, drop a donation in a bucket, and thank the performers for enriching music and the arts in Appleton.