September 10, 2023 ZA Board Meeting Minutes

Members in Attendance: Daniel Lockley, Alex Weeks, Mandy Walker-LaFollette, Tendai Muparutsa, Heather Steele, Maria Minnaar Bailey, Janis Weeks
Members Absent: Chris Halaska, Cloud Petayi
Non-voting members in attendance: Claire Jones

Review Agenda (All)

Village Meeting Minutes (All)

Mandy will send out via email for approval.

Zimfest 2023 (Claire)

Discussion of notes from the Organizing Committee Debrief

  • Overall festival financials: According to preliminary figures from Gary Spalter, we almost exactly broke even on this festival.
  • Outdoor stage financials: have compared afternoon + evening concert expenditures & ticket revenue from previous years to this year’s outdoor stage expenditures & ticket revenue. Summary is that we always lose money on the concerts; this year we lost more than usual but not a lot more.
    • Donation basis seems to have been fine with messaging and ticketing. Worked great to have all the Zimbabweans be able to perform on the evening stage.
  • Claire notes that initial arrangements with OSU were incomplete, with the result that we weren’t able to work with Conference Services. Instead, the festival was organized in coordination with University Events, an office who usually works with on-campus entities. No reservation had been made with UHDS (Housing and Dining) until Claire came onboard.
  • Workshop room availability was a major issue (a main reason Claire does not advocate going back). McNary lounges had too much noise bleed, survey responses noted.
  • Long-range planning is needed from the Board. Ideally we would have 2 long-term homes and alternate between them.
  • Dorm & marketplace/concerts being so close together was amazing. People loved having outdoor evening concerts. This is not often realistic, as many places have noise ordinances.
  • Late night mbira gatherings are deeply wanted. One official one was held. Others happened despite Zimfest regulations due to OSU policies. They will happen regardless, so we need to plan for it.
  • First-timers felt like they were joining the party “25 years too late.” Idea/suggestion from Claire: Video FAQ for the website!
  • Workshop rooms are the main obstacle to returning to OSU (they were a huge issue this year, both quality and quantity, and Claire wouldn’t expect that to change). The other obstacle is that Claire and the OC kept running into rules and regulations that made things harder. The question, then, is “Is it worth having a known set of issues vs. a new unknown set of issues at a new location?”

Decision About Pausing for 1 Year

The Board decided not to hold a festival in 2024. We, along with the Festival Coordinator, Organizing Committee members, and the community, will take a year to:

  • Review feedback about the direction of the festival (including proposals to go to every 2 years, and to have both Oregon & Washington homes);
  • Work on projects and things we would not ordinarily have time to do;
  • Work on long-term planning.

In addition, we need to keep up community engagement. Online programming is an option, as well as social media presence. As an aside, taking 2024 off works well with Nhemamusasa North being in 2024.

Review of Board Bembership, Position, Time in Role, etc.

Reviewed our policy of 2 year terms and current members.

Board Member Candidates

Two people have submitted official applications who we will invite to interview at board meetings.