Beat the Street starts at 1 p.m., just as the Dane County Farmers' Market on Capitol Square is winding down.
Despite the intermittent rain falling through much of Saturday morning, the afternoon started downtown with plenty of rousing music in the kick-off of the Madison Made Music Project.
Dozens of local musicians performed solo or in ensemble along the entire length of State Street in a benefit for Porchlight, Inc. and the Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, a non-profit provider of emergency shelter and low-cost housing in Dane County. Titled "Beat the Street," this event was the first stage of a long term project by the organization to build awareness about homelessness and poverty in the Madison area.
Homelessness has been an increasingly visible yet commensurately overlooked issue in downtown Madison over the last few years, excepting of course the dedicated efforts of established food and shelter services, along with newer efforts like Savory Sunday and Street Pulse. Last winter, Porchlight points out, the use of food pantries and emergency shelters for men were at an "unprecedented high."
Performers of all ages, who were required to play unplugged, wielded numerous instruments from saxophones to accordions to fiddles as they took over most corners of the six-block stretch of State from 1 until 2 p.m. this afternoon for "Beat the Street."
Several brief video clips of these performances follow.
The Sigourney Weavers -- a relatively new four-piece -- attracted a crowd of viewers at the corner of Dayton and Fairchild right in front of the entrance to the Overture Center.