Zimfest News Blog

Posts by Claire Jones

Follow Up to Zimfest Site Evaluation Discussion

Hello all,

The Village Meeting this past Sunday featured a lot of lively feedback about Zimfest 2022 and discussion about where the next Zimfest might be. This post serves as a reminder that previous research on potential Zimfest sites is posted on the website on the ZA Documents page,  entitled Venues Researched as Potential Zimfest sites. I have made a few updates to it.

Several people interested in helping out by visiting sites not yet on the list requested we make the “Site Visit Checklist” available, and it is now downloadable as a pdf on the ZA Documents page.

The ZA Board next meets in August, so please write board[at]zimfest[dot]org if you find viable sites for us to consider. 

Thanks for your help and ideas!
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

Heron taking wing, by Carrie Rodlend

    We Took Flight at Zimfest 2022!

 

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Online Registration Ends June 17

Dear Zimfest People,

Thanks for continuing to sign up for workshops – we are happy to announce that no scheduled workshops will be cancelled due to low enrollment! Here are some bits of info to keep in mind as Zimfest 2022 draws ever nearer:

  • We have been waiting since early 2019 (pre-COVID) to announce that Zimfest has purchased five sets of hand drums, three in each set, for use in  workshops (see below). We thank Paul Hayes for making this happen through his generous donations! We have enough drums for students and teachers to use in all drum and percussion workshops. You are of course welcome to bring your own favorite drum if you prefer.
  • We have also been asked about whether students should bring mbira-s to mbira workshops. Enough loaner instruments will be available for teacher and students to use in the tuning called for in each workshop description. Again, you may prefer to bring your own instrument in the desired tuning.
  • Check out the Festival Highlights program, scheduled to take place at the Fairgrounds from 4 to 5 PM on Sunday June 26. This year’s highlights will feature classes taught by our three new Zimbabwean teachers: Danmore Kusaya (Hi Hi Hi Hello on Marimba), Salani Wamkanganise (Mhoro Nherera singing) and Blessing Chimanga (Tamba Jaiva Dance). There are still openings in the latter two classes, and you can join the fun of performing with your teacher and showing off what you’ve learned!
  • Final messages have been sent to the band contact person for each group performing at Zimfest 2022. These messages include instructions for vaccine verification for day stage performers (if you do not have your wristband showing vaccine verification when it’s time to perform, you will not be allowed onstage!) and evening performers. Additional information about the Lincoln Theatre and the the Zimfest masking policy has been sent to evening performers. If you have not seen this message, make sure your band contact person shares it with you!  For further information, write to concerts{at}zimfest{dot}org.
  • Notes on Important Dates: no further changes to workshop registrations may be made after June 15; online registration and volunteer signups end at 11 PM June 17. 

Zimfest Nested Drums from Remo

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Two Weeks Until Registration Closes

Greetings Zimfest community,

It is yet another wet, grey day here in Seattle. But a weather forecast for Mount Vernon says the Zimfest weekend of June 24-26 will be sunny and clear. Here’s hoping!

In one week the workshops team will look at workshop registrations and cancel those with enrollments under the minimum number of students. We don’t like to do that, so help us and the teachers out by signing up for those in danger of cancellation:

  • Session 5: Danmore Kusaya has agreed to teach any and all levels of mbira player in the fun song Huku Ine Ronda. 
  • Session 3: Zivanai Masango is teaching Vocal and Percussion Ensemble, and more people are needed to form an ensemble. All levels welcome!
  • Session 3: Salani Wamkanganise and Kelly Orphan collaborate in teaching Mhoro Nherera singing with hosho. We’d love it if students in this class could join in the Festival Highlights program on Sunday.

Reminder that Zimfest cannot happen without volunteer help, and there are still plenty of volunteer jobs to sign up for. Volunteer Coordinator Ev would like you to know that if you sign up for 3 or more volunteer jobs, you will be offered a trip to the Hospitality Lounge (formerly Claire’s Cafe), located onsite, for a goodie or two. We need your help to make Zimfest 2022 a success!

Claire and the 2022 Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Volunteers – We Need You

Posted on behalf of Ev Keller, Volunteers Coordinator:

Zimfest is: 
 
Z-imbabwean culture and music learning/listening opportunities
I-n a welcoming and supportive setting
M-aking meaningful and memorable moments
F-un for families, friends, fellow music lovers
E-veryone volunteers!! 
S-haring the good vibes
T-ogether crossing borders and taking flight in the experience
 
Please, take a moment to check out the (many) volunteer opportunities where you can lend a hand to help make light work for all. The sign-up link is here. We need YOU to make this a successful festival. Thank you for joining us – we appreciate you! ~Ev

And some alerts from Webmaster Larry Israel:

  • The Zimfest Ride Board has now been published – set up your ride sharing to and from the festival
  • Explore the evening and afternoon concert schedules for recent changes
  • And Festival Updates for workshop changes and additions

Till next time,
Zimfest 2022 OC

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Zimfest News and Reminders

Hello all,

As the COVID omicron variants cause new peaks in infections, your Zimfest Organizing Committee is crossing its collective fingers and continuing to work towards a hopeful and safe gathering in Mount Vernon WA June 24-26. Some news and reminders:

  • Beginning today, May 15th, dorm rooms at Skagit College’s Campus View Village can be reserved via Zimfest registration. Hint: if you have already registered for workshops and are in the system, it will be easier to go to the Registration Manager to make the change to your registration. If you are unsure how, see directions on How to Register.
  • We are very sorry to report that we have been unable to line up any food vendors or food trucks for the Fairgrounds and thus there will be no food on-site. We have consulted with local residents and determined that many have gone out of business during the pandemic while others committed to prime locations months ago. Check out our webpage on Dining Options in Mount Vernon. Everyone’s favorite: Skagit Valley Food Co-op for their deli and orders-to-go.
  • Attention all non-food vendors for the African Marketplace: submit your application by May 28 in order to avoid a late fee. Info and application here.
  • Registration is going well, with many signups on the first three members-only days and a steady flow of signups in the last two weeks. Several classes are already full.
  • We would love to see more people registering for the cultural presentations (half-price!), perhaps the most important topics to be addressed at the festival. Click here for Workshop Details, and search on Presentation or Other.
  • Highly recommended by the OC: “Non-Zimbabweans playing Zimbabwean Music: A Discussion of Colonialism, Racism and Responsibility” facilitated by Kelly Takunda-Orphan on Sunday at 9:30 AM. It is so important that we keep these conversations going!

Continue to keep each other safe!
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest Registration and Notifications

Greetings all,

Happy (belated) Mother’s Day! The OC is happy to report that Zimfest registrations are going well. Signups for workshops (especially marimba classes) were quite brisk for the first three days in which members only were allowed to register. At this point we are seeing steady interest in workshops of most types. Some changes to report:

  • We will be adding the Campus View Village rooms to registration on May 15, as Skagit College personnel have promised to provide us notification before then of exactly how many suites will be available to us. Information on these 4-room suites is here.
  • We have added a second iteration of a marimba workshop by Daniel Lockley, in order to give participants more choices during the final session. See: Session 6: Intermediate Marimba Njuzu with Daniel Lockley
  • Check the Festival Updates and Workshop Changes webpage regularly to keep track of festival news, changes and other developments.
  • Acceptance letters and contracts were sent out in April to all accepted teachers and live performing groups. To date very few have signed their contracts, and we are now sending out reminders. Several emails appear to have gone missing or have been filtered out. If you believe you have not received your notification or contract, please check your spam and (for gmail users) Promotions folders before writing to us. Most teachers were also asked to submit background checks, and you may find those notifications have been filtered out as well.

Claire Jones
Festival Coordinator

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Zimfest Registration Open May 1

Happy May Day!

Zimfest Registration is now open for members of the Zimfest Association, and will open for all others on May 4. See the How to Register page for instructions and a button (link) to register on RegFox.  You may wish to take out a membership here if you haven’t done so already.

  • You may register for Zimfest workshops and camping and RVing sites at the Skagit Fairgrounds in RegFox, and purchase concert tickets on the Lincoln Theater website.
  • Registration for the dorm rooms at Skagit College’s Campus View Village will open up in RegFox after mid-May, when College personnel notify us of exactly how many rooms will be available to Zimfest attendees.
  • Volunteer Sign-up is open now – don’t forget to sign up for your shifts after you know your workshop and performance schedules to avoid conflicts! 

Some more useful links:

The Zimfest 2022 OC

Heron taking wing, by Rachel Edson

Take Flight at Zimfest 2022

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Membership Hint

A quickie, folks.

In this first year of using the new membership system, ALL members are considered new, even if you had a membership in the old system. So register as a new member, do not try to renew.

Claire and Daniel

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Zimbabwe Independence Day and More

Greetings Zimfest Community,
Happy Independence Day today April 18th to Zimbabweans everywhere!
Catch Kutandara’s Zimbabwe Independence Festival Concert on Youtube here.

A few notes on Zimfest’s upcoming registration scheduled to open May 1:

  • The Zimfest OC and Webmaster are hard at work setting up registration for Zimfest workshops and accommodations as well as the web pages describing them and giving instructions. Stay tuned to our 2022 page as more information comes online.
  • As announced in late 2021 with the debut of our new membership system, Zimfest Association members will be able to access registration before the general public. Expect registration to open for members on May 1, and registration for all others on May 4. Now is the time to take out a membership if you haven’t done so already!
  • With the Covid pandemic continuing, and omicron variants threatening, the Covid vaccination requirement is remaining in place for the time being for Zimfest “participants” (see the Covid Safety page for details on who is included as a participant). A link to the Covid Vaccination verification form has already been sent to teachers and band contact people, and will appear in the registration form for workshop registrants.  Help our COVID safety committee keep everyone safe by completing the COVID-19 Vaccination Verification form as soon as possible if you are required.

See you soon!
Claire and the hard-working OC

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Zimfest Accommodations Webpages

Hi all,

We are aware that Zimfesters planning to come to the festival this year (June 24-26, 2022) are wanting to figure out their accommodations, whether camping onsite or lodging elsewhere. We now have relevant info available on the website.

The Zimfest Accommodation web page describes:

  • Camping and RVing on the south end of the Fairgrounds
  • Rentable single rooms in 4-BR apartment suites at the Skagit Valley College, 3.7 miles away. Zimfest has arranged for a block of apartments at the college, mainly for Zimbabwean guests, with a a limited number available to non-campers

You can sign up and pay for either of the above through Zimfest Registration, scheduled to open May 1.

Off-Site Lodging a listing of nearby hotels and motels in Mount Vernon and Burlington, some of which offer discounts of 10-15% off to Fairgrounds users and Zimfest attendees. Also included are some off-site RVing and camping sites.

Dining Options in Mount Vernon – just a few listings to help prepare you for the festival weekend in the lovely Skagit Valley!

Happy Spring!
Zimfest Organizing Committee

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Zimfest 2022 is On in June

Dear Zimfest community,
After a nail-biting final weekend of teacher and performer applications, we are happy to announce that Zimfest 2022 will take place June 24-26 in Mount Vernon, Washington. Fewer in-person applicants than in non-pandemic years means that we will have a slightly shorter festival, with two days of workshops and afternoon concerts instead of the usual three. Festival activities kick off with a ticketed evening concert at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday evening June 24, with the African Marketplace and daytime activities at the Skagit County Fairgrounds through the weekend. 

  • Offers to volunteer are also fewer in number this year. We still have desperate needs for assistance with our Concerts team and website research. Write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org to offer your help.
  • Vendor applications are now open for Marketplace vendors of musical instruments, art and craft items; food vendors need to be licensed by the state and county and will be handled separately. See the Vendor Information page for links to the application and PayPal for payments. Application deadline for vendors is May 28, 2022. Please direct any questions to marketplace{at}zimfest{dot}org.
  • We have had a robust response to our request for pre-recorded performances, and look forward to scheduling some fabulous hybrid evening concerts at the Lincoln Theatre!

Stay tuned for an update from the Zimfest Covid Safety Committee.

We hope to see you in the beautiful Skagit Valley this summer!
Claire and the Zimfest Organizing Committee

Heron taking wing, by Rachel Edson

 

Take Flight at Zimfest 2022!

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Zimfest in the time of Covid-19: A perspective

Posted on behalf of OC member Mark Swift

I am fairly new to Zimfest, having attended my first festival in 2019.  I am really excited about returning to an in-person event this coming June!  I understand that there is some hesitation about committing to performing and teaching due to uncertainty about health safety in the time of Covid-19.  No one can predict the future, but things are looking up.  I fully understand that everyone’s comfort level is different, and different people have different levels of risk. I just wanted to share my perspective as someone who lives in western Pennsylvania. 

From where I sit, the Pacific Northwest has done a great job dealing with Covid-19.  Our local vaccination rate is only 60%, a full 10% lower than Washington State.  I would estimate only 1 in 10 people bother to wear a mask indoors in public places.  Bars and restaurants are full.  Cases in my county are currently sky high.  And yet, at the college where I work, we have successfully kept the total number of cases down to 1 or 2 per week since students returned to campus in Fall 2020. In 2020-2021 everyone on campus was tested at least once every two weeks and that helped keep the case load low, with a small bump in the post-holiday surge in January/February 2021.  Through the Omicron surge, cases have increased somewhat, but positive tests results remain in the low single digits every week. How? Simple, we made the campus a near Covid-free bubble.  We required students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated, and masks are required indoors.  Students are living together in the dorms, working in the community, coming and going from their homes, but still, on campus, masks and vaccines have allowed us to keep our rates low.  We are having normal classes without social distancing.  And though people are aware of their personal space and are washing their hands often, we are mostly “back to normal.” 

I present this story as evidence that with a little mitigation like vaccine requirement and masks, it is possible to create a safe “bubble” in which we can all gather and enjoy Zimbabwean music together.   For those who are at greater risk, by all means, stay home and stay safe!  I am sympathetic to the anxiety you must feel and hope the world becomes a safer place for you as soon as possible.  But if you are in reasonable health, vaccinated, and willing to mask, I really hope to meet you at Zimfest 2022! 

Mark Swift
Zimfest 2022 Organizing Committee

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