August 1, 2021 ZA Membership Meeting — “Village Meeting” Minutes

August 1, 2021 Zimfest Association Membership Meeting — “Village Meeting” Minutes

ZA Board Members in Attendance: Chris Halaska, Daniel Lockley, Jacqueline Fallon (small part of it), Tendai Muparutsa (small part of it), Cloud Petayi, Mandy Walker-LaFollette, Janis Weeks, Alex Weeks
ZA Board Members Absent: Drew Turner
Non-voting ZA Board Members in attendance: Claire Jones

Regular Agenda

  • Welcome + setting ground rules
  • Read Mission/Vision Statement

    The Zimfest Association mission is to produce North America’s premier annual festival of Zimbabwean music, bringing a global community together to celebrate Zimbabwe’s participatory musical traditions through high-quality workshops and performances.

    We envision a festival that:

    • Gives people from different cultures and traditions the opportunity to connect through music.
    • Values the power of Zimbabwean music and dance in building community.
    • Provides a venue for performing groups of all ages to showcase their talents and share with their peers.
    • Exposes participants to new teachers, performers, and musical styles.
    • Contributes to sustainable livelihoods for Zimbabwean teachers and performers.
    • Is family-friendly, affordable, and welcoming for all attendees.
    • Embodies Zimbabwean values of mutually respectful relationships (hunhu / ubuntu) between teachers, performers, staff and attendees.
  • Board member introductions
    • Each board member introduced themselves
  • Call for new board members/organizing committee members
  • Recognition of 2021 Organizing Committee and Tech Committee
    • Claire introduced and thanked organizing committee members
  • COVID relief grant: WA State Nonprofit Community Recovery Grant
    • ZA applied for and received a $12,500 Recovery Grant via ArtsFund
      • Thank you Claire!
    • ArtsFund has dispersed ~$11M on behalf of the Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Treasurer Report
    • Introduce new treasurer – Cloud Petayi
    • 2020 Budget
      • Net loss of $8,100
        • In-person festival was cancelled due to COVID-19
        • Lack of expected revenue from concerts, workshops, etc. is primary driver of loss
      • Festival account total at end of year: $34,000
      • Fiscally-disciplined decision to keep a reserve in previous years meant that Zimfest Association was able to weather 2020 while remaining financially solvent
    • 2021 Budget
      • Exact numbers not known yet
      • Before receiving the ArtsFund grant, we were expecting a net loss
    • Addendum (Claire) Note that 2021 budgeting decisions have all been motivated by the desire to involve more Zimbabweans than possible at a live Zimfest, and to help support them. Therefore:
      • Zimbabweans submitting pre-recorded performances and presentations are all being paid at a rate equivalent to evening concert performances (the decision was made not to pay North American performers this year).
      • All expenses incurred during recording (payments to videographers, travel, cost of data uploads, etc.) are being reimbursed or were paid in advance if needed. A music producer (Blessing Chimanga of Dream Arts) was contracted to video record all Harare musicians.
      • 2021 Virtual Marketplace featured instruments and wares made only by Zimbabwean artisans and craftspeople. Vendors, whether the artists themselves or importers, were not charged any fees for listing.
  • Membership Report
    • Summary of current membership
    • Perks of membership
    • Auto-renewal membership option is coming
  • Zimfest 2022 Plans
  • Thank you and wrap up
    • Another plug for new Board/Organizing Committee Members
  • Discussion
    • Reminder of ground rules
    • Open discussion

Discussion Notes

  • Should we set up a screen during evening concerts to show videos of people from Zimbabwe, similar to the virtual concerts this year?
    • Claire J.: We will take that under advisement–this has been suggested multiple times
    • Mandy W.: not sure technically how that works, but would be awesome and we will be thinking about it for the future
  • (Zoom chat): The concert people have always wondered how best to handle transitions between performers. Short video presentations during set changes could be a great thing to do during that time
  • Did we pay Zimbabweans whose videos were featured during virtual concerts?
    • Claire: Yes: we paid recording expenses, plus regular performance fees.
  • It will be especially important to include people again from Zimbabwe in the coming years, because it may continue to be difficult or impossible to bring people here from Zimbabwe
  • Could it be more known how we can hook up musicians with what Zimfest is doing to be recorded next year.
  • A participant mentioned that Lino Piloto’s video was excellent in terms of production values
    • Claire: he found someone in Mutare
  • The number of performers featured at Zimfest 2021 is very low compared to the number of people who are making great content. Could we make this a more year-round event instead of once per year?
    • (Zoom chat): Perhaps video concerts from Zim could be a monthly feature between festivals?
    • Claire: Much lower interest audience-wise from a regular festival.
    • Alex W.: Currently, the mission statement stipulates an annual festival, but this could be revisited if there is support for this idea
  • A participant attended a presentation with Rujeko and Mahea that covered these important discussion topics:
    • Ways students can be in relation to the teachers
      • food for thought about how we can help students be better students.
    • How to most respectfully engage with the music and the culture.
    • Things that are maybe part of American culture but are disrespectful in Zimbabwean culture
      • Students feel it’s ok to tell a teacher how to teach
      • Transactional relationship can occur
      • Also, ethical questions of appropriation, and monetization
    • Claire J: Syndrome of a transactional relationship e.g. I want to learn the whole song cause I paid for this workshop. Or, crowding around with tape recorders. In the teacher meeting, we encourage teachers to set up the workshop how they’re comfortable, but especially new teachers may not feel comfortable telling students no. Maybe it’s important to have an orientation for the students, in addition to teachers?
  • What about having Zimbabwean board members?
    • Alex W.: There are two Zimbabwean board members currently. Unfortunately, neither could make it to this meeting. More are welcome in the future. (Note from Secretary: Cloud joined late)
    • Claire: We always value the perspective of Zimbabweans on the board.
  • A participant has enjoyed this online festival!
    • Enjoys that he can go back and watch concerts later, especially since time zones make it difficult for Zimbabweans to participate live
    • Maybe if it’s online in the future Pride/Bezil/Michael Sibanda can participate?
    • Claire J.: yes! Let’s stay in touch! Yes, concerts will be up on Facebook for a while.
  • If the videos are on YouTube/Facebook forever, would it be possible to track artists that have been watched and pay them royalties?
    • Alex W.: we hadn’t thought about that
    • Janis W.: Good ideas here. All it takes is people power and we always need more volunteers to get things done!
    • (Zoom chat): I think the donation plug needs to be renewed so people don’t assume the boat has sailed and left them off the hook.
    • A popup banner on the videos with the link to donate?
  • Multiple people (Zoom chat): Yes, let’s do a live festival next year!
  • Live streaming should probably happen separate from in person festival (same people doing streaming are same people doing registration in person)
  • (Zoom chat): Thanks so much for the time and effort by the board and volunteers for making this festival happen.
    • It was so much better than I expected. So glad it will be possible to see what I missed and will let friends know that the concerts can be viewed online, and hopefully increase the audience for this music and festival.
  • (Zoom chat): To Claire: I think that it is definitely possible to incorporate virtual components into live shows without diminishing the quality of the in person show.
    • This could include simultaneously live-streaming the concert online
    • Historically Zimfest content is only accessible in small clips on YouTube or other sites, it would be much better to centralize that through the festival in my opinion.
    • Let’s get in touch, I’d like to see how I can help make that happen.
  • (Zoom chat): Would it make sense to have two annual events?
    • Online in the winter, and in-person during the summer
  • Will this recording be made available?
    • Alex W: We did not explicitly state that the Zoom recording of this meeting will be made available.
  • Claire J.: We’ve recorded this video so that we can share it with the membership.
    • Alex W: if you don’t want to be featured in the video, let me know

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