Zimfest News Blog

Posts by Claire Jones

Zimfest Off-Year Fundraising Campaign

Dear Zimfest Association Friends and Members:
We hope that you are enjoying your summer and that you are finding ways to enjoy Zimbabwean music and culture despite the lack of a festival this year. The Zimfest Board is making great progress on our off-year activities including: identification of a more sustainable and easier to maintain registration software system; broadening our approach to Zimfest marketing to reach new participants while ensuring strong attendance at future festivals; reviewing potential changes to festival structure in the interest of Zimfest sustainability; and considering new sources of income for Zimfest. We hope that you have already marked your calendars for August 9-12th, 2018 for next summer’s Zimbabwean Music Festival which will once again be held at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Over the coming months, our Festival Coordinator, Claire Jones, will begin the process of recruiting an organizing committee. We hope that you will consider volunteering! Please reach out to by writing gro.t1505866892sefmi1505866892z@sre1505866892etnul1505866892ov1505866892, or directly to Claire at gro.t1505866892sefmi1505866892z@eri1505866892alc1505866892 if you are able to help.

As we’ve noted in the past, no organization can survive without financial support, and the Zimfest Association is no different. We need your help to survive! Towards this end, we would like to announce the start of our off-year fundraising campaign which will continue through the end of the calendar year. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us continue to put on the best Zimbabwean music festival in North America. A strong fundraising campaign will help ensure that we go into our next festival in a strong financial situation. The funds raised will be used to help bring Zimbabwean teachers and guests to the festival, to help grow our endowment, and to raise operating funds for specific needs such as supporting the transition to our new registration software. If your company supports matching donations, please don’t forget to complete the paperwork which would allow your company to match your contribution – often dollar for dollar.

We hope that each of you will consider a donation – no amount is too small (or too big)! We would like to appeal to bands in particular to consider raising funds for Zimfest during your summer performance season. In addition, if each of you can find a willing donor within your extended network it will greatly assist us in strengthening our financial position. Contributions are tax-deductible in the 2017 tax year. Please visit the Support Zimfest page on our website (http://zimfest.org/about/support-zimfest) for instructions on how to donate. You may also wish to initiate or renew a Zimfest Association membership on the Membership page (http://zimfest.org/membership).

Thanks for all that you do to make Zimfest a success.
Best wishes from the Zimfest Association Board

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An ALS fundraiser for Mary Donohoe

Greetings Zimfest Community,
We are posting the following announcement on behalf of Mary Donohoe and the Zimbabwean marimba community of Moscow, Idaho.
Thanks for reading,
Claire Jones
Zimfest Association

Sesitshaya Marimba of Moscow is hosting a fundraiser Friday, June 23, to support Mary Donohoe. Mary was diagnosed with ALS early this year. The medications are incredibly expensive so we are contacting all her friends asking for help. The concert in Moscow features the three local musical groups Mary is involved with – Gefilte Trout, great klezmer music, Sesitshaya Marimba and Mary’s marimba club from the Moscow Charter School. Tendai Muparutsa and Jacqueline Fallon Muparutsa are our special guests.

Mary has been an integral part of the Zimfest community. We are hoping the community members will want to support her. The gift of a check made out to Mary G. Donohoe may be sent to her new Salem, OR address: 4027 9th Ct. SE, Salem, 97302. She and her husband will be moving there mid-July. She is looking forward to finding marimba groups to play with once she is settled. Checks can be sent to Moscow at 1625 Shetlund Ct., Moscow, ID 83843 until July 10.

For more information contact ude.o1505866892hadiu1505866892@rekl1505866892awbd1505866892 or see Sesitshaya Marimba on Facebook.

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Zimfest 2018 Announcement

Dear Zimfest Community,
On behalf of the Zimfest Association Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce the dates and location for next year’s festival. Zimfest 2018 will be held August 9-12, 2018 at Western Oregon University. We are happy to return to the festival-friendly WOU campus in the town of Monmouth, Oregon, nearly equidistant from Portland and Eugene.

Western Oregon University has worked well as a Zimfest site for the past two years, but we would also love to return to Washington State at some future date. Please be assured that the ZA Board is working hard to locate alternative locations for the festival. As always, we welcome your suggestions.

Mark your calendars for WOU in August 2018 and we hope to see you there!

Best regards,
Claire Jones
ZA Board

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Calling all Zimfest Old Timers

The Zimfest Association Board of Directors is very interested in hearing how future Zimfests can better meet the needs and desires of experienced musicians and long-time Zimfest participants. At this year’s festival, The Board will be hosting a discussion on Saturday August 13 at 11:45 a.m.in the Backstage Room in Valsetz Dining Center to hear your feedback on this topic. Please join us, bring your lunch, bring your ideas, and help contribute to stronger Zimfests in the future! This is a lunch meeting, so get your food in the cafeteria at Valsetz and then come back out towards the entrance and turn left into the Backstage Room.

Hope to see you there!
Zimfest Association Board of Directors

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Drums and Mbira Needed for Zimfest Workshops

Hi all,

Zimfest needs loaner drums and mavembe/gandanga mbira for workshops.
If you have either a conga/djembe drum, or a mavembe/gandanga mbira that you are willing to loan, please bring it to the registration desk Thursday or Friday morning.  We will check it in, label it with your name, and treat it as if it were our own.
Zimfest 2016 Organizing Committee
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Zimfest Tips

Greetings Zimfest Participants,

There are now six days remaining before Zimfest 2016 launches! We have a few tips and reminders for Zimfest participants, whether you are new to the festival or an old hand:

  • The weather forecast for Monmouth OR is for continued sunny and warm weather,  likely to be in the 80s during the festival. Be sure to put on sunscreen and bring fans for your rooms. Like most colleges, Western Oregon University has no air conditioning in the dorms.
  • Zimfest supplies (borrowed) marimbas and hosho for workshops, but it can be challenging procuring enough instruments for the many types of workshops we offer. If you have or can borrow a mbira in the tuning a workshop will be taught in, please bring it; otherwise the teacher or Zimfest will provide one. The same goes for drumming workshops; if you own or can borrow a drum for a workshop you are taking, please bring it.  If you are taking a guitar workshop and have a guitar amp, please bring it as Zimfest cannot provide amps.
  • Zimfest online registration for housing, dining and workshops is now closed, but you can still sign up for volunteer shifts here. Onsite registration will open at the festival at noon on Thursday August 11. You will then be able to enroll in workshops that still have space in them by going to the Registration Desk.
  • Workshop registrations will close 15 minutes before the session starting time in order for staff to print final workshop rosters.  In some cases latecomers may request a “golden ticket” to sign up for an open workshop up until the start time of the workshop.
  • Very often bands performing at Zimfest like to sell their CDs after their shows. If you are performing on the evening concert stage, Zimfest can provide table space in the WUC West Lobby outside the Pacific Room concert hall. Please provide your own CD salespeople, as Zimfest volunteers cannot sell CDs for you.

Thanks for reading, and see you at the festival!

Zimfest 2016 Organizing Committee

Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!

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Online Registration Closes August 4

Dear Zimfest Participants,
Complete your workshop registrations and concert ticket purchases this week! Online registration for both Zimfest workshops and concert tickets closes Thursday, August 4 (registration for Zimfest housing and dining is already closed).  After this date:

  • You will not be able to sign up for open spaces in workshops until August 11 at onsite registration.
  • You will not be able to purchase concert tickets at the discounted advance sale price.
  • Concert tickets will be available at the door of the WOU Pacific Room from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Aug 12 – 14. No tickets will be sold at the Zimfest Registration Desk.

See you in Monmouth!

2016 Zimfest Organizing Committee

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Registration Deadline Reminder

Greetings Zimfest community,

Registration is going well and the excitement is building – Zimfest 2016 is only three weeks away! We wanted to remind you that there will be no housing available at the festival unless you book it in advance, and you must make your reservations online as soon as possible. Here are the important deadlines to be aware of:

  • July 25 (Monday): Sign up and pay for all housing by this date.
  • July 28 (Thursday): Workshops with enrollments of less than three (marimba) or two (all other workshops) will be canceled.
  • August 3 (Wednesday): Last day to drop workshops

See Registration Deadlines on the website for more information. To register for housing, meals, workshops, and concert tickets, go to https://register.zimfest.org.

Keep up with workshop changes: https://zimfest.org/news/festival-updates/

Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!

See you soon,
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator
On behalf of the Zimfest 2016 Organizing Committee

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Concert Schedule Posted and New Workshops Available

Greetings Zimfest community,
If you haven’t visited our website lately, please check out the Concert Schedule and Performers pages for the announcement of Zimfest 2016 concert lineups. We’re excited to confirm that Zimfest newcomers Mbira Renaissance from Edmonton received funding for their travel expenses and will be joining us in Monmouth!

Once you have perused the concert schedule, we invite you to finalize your workshop registrations. You can keep up with changes and additions to the workshop schedule here. Marimba workshop spots have been selling like hotcakes, but we’d love to see more people signing up for mbira and singing, in support of our wonderful mbira and singing teachers! Also, if you aren’t aware of the chance to perform with your teachers, read about the Festival Highlights performances in the What’s New page. We need more people to register for the workshops selected for performance to make it fun for everyone!

Tambai Tambai! Sing-Dance-Play! Dlala Dlala!

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Zimfest Year Off in 2017

Dear Zimfest Community:

We hope that you are all doing well and are looking forward to another amazing Zimfest in Monmouth, Oregon, in less than two short months. We are writing at this time to share a decision that the Zimfest Association Board recently made regarding Zimfest 2017. For a variety of reasons as explained further below, the Board is not planning to hold a Festival during the summer of 2017. This was not an easy decision for us to reach; however, we believe that in the long term it will be a positive move for the Festival and the Association. We are open to your constructive input if you have thoughts on this matter. The Board has spent many months in discussions leading up to this decision including a two-day face-to-face retreat on Whidbey Island.

Please review the rationale below – and feel free to email us at gro.t1505866892sefmi1505866892z@dra1505866892ob1505866892 with your thoughts.

The Zimfest Association Board


Zimfest 2017 – Rationale for the Decision to Take a Year Off

Why did the Board choose to skip a year in 2017?

  • The core members of the organizing committee have remained unchanged for several years and they need a break. The Zimfest community owes a great deal of gratitude to these people. The Board’s decision in no way suggests a failure on the part of these generous volunteers nor on the part of our paid coordinator, Claire Jones.
  • We have a wonderful and hard-working community willing to volunteer their time. However, there has been an inadequate response to calls by the Board for volunteers to help with “off-season” festival planning and organizing; difficulty in recruiting for core positions on the yearly Organizing Committees; and insufficient volunteer hours contributed during festivals to ensure smooth operations.
  • The infrastructure necessary to run Zimfest (primarily in the form of the software necessary for registration) is not yet self-sufficient and requires a great deal of work each year to develop and sustain. The bulk of this work falls on 2-3 individuals with technical expertise.
  • Beginning in 2013 the Board shifted to a centralized organizational model. The benefit of this approach has been to create continuity in organization from year to year while improving and standardizing the underlying processes involved in putting on a Festival. We believe that many improvements have resulted from this approach, but ongoing review of how best to serve the Zimfest community is an important Board responsibility.
  • The complexity of organizing Zimfest has increased over the years, in part due to challenges of working with our host facilities. Despite attempts by the Board to identify one or more “semi-permanent homes” for Zimfest to ease these complexities, we are still seeking a good match for our needs.
  • The Board recognizes that having local organizing committees can contribute to unique and successful Festivals. Since the site for the 2018 Festival has not yet been selected, the Board encourages any community that is interested in hosting Zimfest 2018 to contact us now so that we can begin discussions at this year’s Festival.
  • The Board is responsible for the financial soundness of the Festival. In recent years, the costs associated with putting on Zimfest have increased faster than revenues. During our off year, the board will focus on improving the financial model of the Festival, while keeping the Festival affordable.

What are the benefits of taking a year off?

  • It will provide the core organizing team an opportunity to regroup.
  • It will provide an opportunity to invest in needed infrastructure (e.g., registration software) with the goal of improving sustainability and reducing reliance on the same people year after year.
  • It will allow focus on finding a site for 2018 that has the potential to become a semi-permanent home for Zimfest while remaining open to a local committee organizing Zimfest in their community.
  • We are hoping that the Zimfest Community will choose to come out in force to support Zimfest in 2016. By increasing participation and revenue, we hope to enter our off-year with funds in the bank which we can invest in improving and sustaining the Festival.
  • We also hope that after a year off, the 2018 Festival will have strong participation.

What are the risks and downsides of taking a year off?

  • We will all miss an opportunity to gather as a community in 2017 to celebrate Zimbabwean music, as we have done since 1991.
  • There is potential for negative financial impact on our Zimbabwean teachers. We feel we can best serve our Zimbabwean teachers over the long term by taking this break to focus on Festival sustainability.
  • There is the possibility that skipping a year might reduce momentum in the community to help organize and attend future Zimfests.

The Board is dedicated to working diligently over the next year to improve the sustainability of Zimfest and ensure a very successful Festival in 2018. We encourage Zimfest community members to consider service on the Zimfest Association Board, the 2018 organizing committee, or to contact us to see how you can help keep the Zimfest spirit alive and thriving.

Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!

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Zimfest Vendor Info and Applications

Greetings Zimfest community,

Just a quick note to let you know that Zimfest 2016 Marketplace Vendor information and applications are now available on our website here. Booth fees are due in advance; you may choose to pay by check or PayPal. The deadline for Vendor Applications is July 18, 2016.

The Organizing Committee is working hard to get the website ready for online registration for workshops, concerts, housing and dining by the end of May.  Zimfest 2016 will again be held at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR. Join us from August 11th to 14th to sing, dance and play.

ZFest Logo
Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!

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Zimfest 2016 Theme and Applications Reminder

Dear Zimfest Community,

Zimfest celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, come celebrate with us! We thank Musekiwa Chingodza and Lucky Moyo (yes, both are planning to come this year!) for help in choosing the theme for this year’s festival.

Sing-Dance-Play! Tambai Tambai! Dlala-Dlala!

In Zimbabwe you only need one word to say “Play (music)” or “Dance” or “Play (have fun)”: Tambai if you speak chiShona, or Dlala in isiNdebele. What could be more appropriate to describe the three and a half days of Zimbabwean-inflected music, dance, song, culture and fun that is the Zimbabwean Music Festival? Come sing-dance-play with us at the 25th annual Zimfest at Western Oregon University, Monmouth OR, August 11-14, 2016. Tambai! Dlala!

Applications Closing Soon

The deadline for submitting your online applications to perform and/or teach at Zimfest 2016 is this weekend, March 12, 2016. We want your ideas! Don’t forget that this year’s emphasis is on Cultural Presentations. We encourage you (especially Zimbabwean instructors!) to propose workshops on a variety of cultural topics of interest to American students and fans of Zimbabwean music. Teachers of workshops with 20 or more participants will receive a higher pay rate. We’d love to see Presentation topics that attract large groups! All performer and teacher applications are available online at https://apply.zimfest.org.

As always, keep in mind that the festival can’t happen without your help! If you are interested in volunteering, please write volunteers {at} zimfest (dot) org.

Best regards on behalf of the 2016 Organizing Committee,

Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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