Zimfest Association Meeting Minutes Synopsis
January 12, 2014
Present: Jacqueline Fallon, Tsitsi Hantuba, Jennifer Kyker, Paul Mataruse, Amy Robinson, David Simon, Alex Weeks
Non-voting member in attendance: Claire Jones
Guest: Chipo Mkandla
1) Review of Dec. 8 meeting minutes and Nov. meeting synopsis: approved. We will try to post the synopses more quickly.
2) Lifetime family membership at $600: approved after email discussion last week.
3) Marketplace vendor changes: Our fees have been lower for nonprofit ($25) than for-profit entities ($75). We are considering increasing the nonprofit fee to $50 and keeping the for-profit entities at $75. We are also considering asking 5% of sales over a certain amount, perhaps $500.
4) Chipo Mkandla (introduced by Tsitsi): Chipo is volunteering to assist in marketing Zimfest to the Zimbabwean community. She has experience as a past organizer of ZimExpo. Chipo says there is a proposal to create an annual festival (The Zimbabwean Diaspora Arts Festival) to do Independence Day activities. It would occur around April. This is another opportunity to increase exposure. She will discuss timetable and delegation of specific tasks with Claire in her role on the current festival organizing committee.
5) Review of financials: The spreadsheet was sent to the board for review. The 2014 budget looks fairly similar. Facilities fees this year will be $9.95 per person with the flexible meal plan. The facilities fees include media and their sound systems, the physical spaces and all their employees who help support the festival. Small markups to meals and housing will be added. Some of our new expenses this year include the festival coordinator, paychecks and tax prep.
Claire is working on the Greater Tacoma Community foundation grant at present. Annual Drive revenues to date were disappointing. We have received a total of $1,600 in our membership drive to date.
We need to continue to review the budget in detail and raise questions. Tsitsi remains concerned about the trend of expenses in excess of income and the loss of our volunteer tax preparer. We have opportunities to increase revenues with our nighttime concerts. Workshops should also be a greater source of income to the festival.
Benefits of association membership should be better shared. Other membership benefits could include opening registration a week earlier and offering reserved concert seats for ZA members.
6) Zimfest 2014 Planning Update: Claire sent notes out in advance of the meeting. As for teachers signing up for beginning workshops, she wants to include a question asking what the level is of marimba and mbira teachers. Perhaps we can alert individuals when they sign up for the wrong level. Sometimes people looking for new repertoire sign up for beginning or intermediate classes, but this detracts from the learners at that level.
Another issue—last year some beginning teachers were not at the level of competence. References will now be requested of teacher applicants. Teachers need to be experienced before they teach at Zimfest.
Mokoomba—the tour manager has not responded to Claire or Paul so far. The band is requesting a large sum to perform which is not an option for us.
Paul contacted Oliver Mtukudzi’s manager—this may be a more affordable option.
Update on the 2014 website—Alex is making progress on the online teacher performer applications.
7) Discussion of Peter Swing’s proposal: Parity between teachers and
performers is a costly proposition that we cannot afford at present. Some members felt that paying the nighttime performers by the head would not achieve this. The festival did provide some travel reimbursement to Americans but not in the past 2 years due to lower overall revenues.
What about intensive classes that culminate in a final performance? Sunday evening concert attendance has been declining. Perhaps people would stay if the classes performed. This was done at Camp Tumbuka, for example. It is important to keep the concerts professional so that people feel that they “got what they paid for” at the concerts. Attendance was lower last year at the intensive workshops. Changing the name from “intensive” to “multi-session” and specifying “performance” if applicable was discussed.
One other idea to help keep people staying for the whole festival—the “Zimfest Pass”—would include all meals, housing and a certain number of workshops—it might give a discount of some type.
David will follow up with Peter on this—his suggestions were appreciated and discussed in detail.
8) Zimfest brochure creation: Jacqueline, David and Lisa will have a volunteer call. Jennifer might suggest a list of topics/categories and is willing to put out a call on Dandemutande for photos. There is a workshop of Washington music educators President’s Day weekend where it would be good to advertise. It is unlikely that the brochure will be ready by then. They will consider other ideas.
Next meeting Feb. 9, 2014, 6-8 PST.
It is great to have minutes from Board Meetings! I am catching up after traveling, so am reading through the minutes since August 2013.
#2 above: Is there an agreed-upon definition of “family”? What are the benefits for a “family” with a lifetime membership?
#3 above: I like your idea of charging 5% over some $ amount. I would prefer for the policy to keep a wider difference between the fees for non-profits and for for-profit vendors.
#7 above: Performers and Teachers are NOT equal in terms of work required, in my perception. “everyone” wants to perform. In contrast, teaching requires extensive experience plus preparation ONLY done for the specific workshop being offered. That is why historically teachers have been paid but performers shared their music with each other willingly. For many years about half of the audience in the evening concerts were performing at some point during the festival. That’s part of the draw of performing at Zimfest: we play for audience that “gets” the nuances of the creative expression offered.
I continue to feel concern about the growing separation between the treatment of performers in the afternoon, compared to those groups who perform at evening concerts. I am curious to understand the overarching policy or goal that would encourage widening the gap between the treatment of these two groups.
Thank you for your dedication and your work to keep the Zimfest torch burning. You ROCK!