Dear Zimfest community,
This message addresses a shared complaint and request from the Zimfest 2018 survey, and our response to it. Be sure to read through to the end!
Several people have expressed the desire to see more Zimbabweans performing on the evening stage at Zimfest. We want you to be aware that there is a legal reason that not all the visiting Zimbabweans can perform at our ticketed concerts. The type of US visa (B-1 business/pleasure) granted to many of the Zimbabweans (and Canadians!) traveling to Zimfest does not allow the visa holder to perform in a concert for which admission is charged. Zimfest cannot include B-1 visa holders on the ticketed evening stage lineups; it would risk the visa status of these visitors, as well as the co-sponsoring status of the Zimfest Association and our host institution (WOU).
Our plan for Zimfest 2019 is to make the Sunday evening concert on August 11, 2019 free admission, by donation only. Like the afternoon concerts at the festival, there will be no restrictions as to who may perform, so we hope to include some of Zimbabweans you’ve been missing (take note, Zimbabwean applicants!). In order to make this work, we need your help as audience members. We cannot afford to lose money on Sunday evening, so we ask that you donate the same amount that tickets cost for the Friday and Saturday ticketed concerts: currently $18 in advance, $20 onsite for adults.
If having a concert “by donation” sounds like the Zimfest workshops that are “by donation,” it is because it is motivated by the same money-earning restrictions on B-1 visa holders. Any instruction or musical demonstration offered by these individuals must be free and open to the public. This is explained in more detail on the website here (see Workshops by Donation). As with the “by donation” workshops, it is our hope that you understand that donating the full amount supports Zimfest’s ability to bring these musicians to the festival. It is disappointing for us to see people donating relatively small amounts for children taking workshops, or American teachers signing up for workshops from Zimbabweans. We appeal to you as a community to help us out on this with your generous donations.
It will be many weeks before we know who will be coming to Zimfest this year, but we wanted to let you know of these plans in advance so that you can make your own plans accordingly. We promise the Sunday evening concert at Zimfest 2019 will be very special – you won’t want to miss out!
Until next time,
On behalf of the Zimfest 2019 OC and ZA Board of Directors
Zimfest 2019 – Music Dancing Across Borders
Thank you for this clarification about the visas, Claire, and for the request that donations be made keeping in mind the source of our beautiful music. Zimfest is the best opportunity we have each year to express our appreciation and I love it that we can.
Thanks Claire and everyone who creatively problem-solved this one. Great idea! Win-win for everyone
Thank you, Claire and Zimfest board. This is a great plan! And of course, we can always donate even more for both concert and workshops, not less!
Thank you for this Claire.
Great idea BUT my worry is that if we don’t raise enough through donations on the night, would that not affect the long term sustainability of the Festival ?
Secondly an all Zimbabwean cast/performers night is great but these Zimbabwean will have to be a bit more organised, rehearsed too I fear a competitive all evening jam – session.
My views maybe far fetched though and I stand to be corrected and humbled .
Thanks for your comments. We are considering the Sunday evening by donation concert to be a experiment for this year. If it turns out to be too much of a money loss, we would not be likely to repeat it. That is why we are encouraging people to support it with generous donations!
We are not imagining the Sunday night concert as being restricted to only Zimbabweans. Making it by donation just means it would be open to those Zimbabwean performers on B-1 visas who cannot perform in the ticketed concerts. There will likely be both Zimbabwean and non-Zimbabweans performing on Sunday night, and we would apply the same criteria for performing bands as on other nights. One of those criteria is that we give precedence to bands that regularly perform together, not just individuals jamming together.
Let us know if you have any more concerns!