Zimfest News Blog

Posts by Claire Jones

Post-Festival Blues

Greetings Zimfest community,

Zimfest 2019 has come and gone and I, for one, have now caught up on my sleep after four days of incredible music and gathering with new and old friends!

Why are we blue? We want to hear from you! The Post-Festival Survey is open on the website and we’d love to hear your feedback: what did you like and what didn’t you like about Zimfest 2019 at Western Oregon University. If you didn’t make it to the festival this year, there is a question for you too – we’d like to hear why you didn’t come! 

The Zimfest Association Board of Directors will be meeting soon to make a final decision on Zimfest 2020. We need your input.

If you would like to offer to help organize the next festival, please email board{at}zimfest{dot}org or contact Claire directly at claire{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

Thank you, Tatenda, Siyabonga!

Claire and the 2019 Organizers 

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Two Days Until Z-Day!

Hello Zimfest Friends,

The festival is upon us and we will see each other very soon! It is hot here in Seattle and the weather forecast for Monmouth is continued temperatures in the 80s with possible showers on Saturday. Be prepared for anything!

  • Remember that the WOU dorms are not air-conditioned – bring a fan for nighttime sleeping. Also bring your own soap, as the linen packs do not include soap.
  • As we mentioned in a previous blog post, all WOU dorm rooms now have mini-fridges and microwaves, so you can refrigerate drinks to stay hydrated! The requirement to purchase at least two meals per night remains in place however.
  • WOU Dining has informed us that Grab & Go bottled drinks and packaged snacks in the retail section of Valsetz will be available on a cash basis between lunch and dinner times according to the schedule shown on the On-Campus Dining webpage.  (This schedule does not appear in our Festival Guide however.)
  • Introduce yourself to Anesu Ndoro, volunteering at Zimfest as the Registration Co-Lead. Anesu, an anthropology student at Reed College, would like to do brief interviews with North Americans, asking how they got interested and involved in playing  and listening to Zimbabwean music. What does the music mean to you?
  • A couple of our Zimbabwean guests are looking for transportation back to Portland Airport on Sunday before the festival is over. If you might be able to offer a ride, please check the Ride Board on the website, or look for a physical Ride Board in the Registration Area at Zimfest.

See you in Monmouth!
Claire and the OC

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Ride Board and Registration Clarification

Howdy,

Want to get to know a Zimbabwean teacher or performer better? Give them a ride to or from Zimfest!

* We have Zimbabwean teachers and performers coming from all directions this year. Some will arrive directly from Zimbabwe and some are visiting communities elsewhere in the US before the festival. Some are experienced US travelers and some are first-time visitors. Given the variety of schedules and arrival points, it’s quite a logistical challenge to get all our Zim guests to Monmouth for the festival and to get them off to their next destination after the festival. As with so many aspects of Zimfest, we depend on festival goers to help by giving rides to teachers and performers on their way to and from Monmouth. The Ride Board on the website is the place to make connections between drivers and riders. You can post an offer or request a ride yourself, by entering some basic info on time and place plus a contact email or phone number.
 – Mark Keller, Zimbabwean Guest Coordinator

* Also, a clari-fication from the Festival Coordinator: Housing and dining registrations are now closed, and the last day to register for workshops and sign up for volunteer shifts is July 31. These systems will close at midnight that day and no registration can take place until August 8 onsite.
 – Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Deadlines and Drums

Hello Zimfest community,

The festival is only 20 days away! Important information for you:

  • Saturday July 20th is the last date to register for housing and dining as we need to send the data to our WOU host. There is not likely to be any housing available for walk-ins onsite, so register now!
  • Registrations for workshops and volunteer signups will close August 1st at midnight. No changes can be made until Aug 8 at onsite registration.
  • As always, we are in need of hand drums – Zimbabwean style ngoma, congas or similar ones – for our drumming classes. Please let us know whether you can lend one or more by writing teachers{at}zimfest{dot}org or just bring them to the Registration desk Thursday Aug. 8 at the festival. We promise to take good care of them for the weekend!

Zimfest 2019 OC

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Interview with Zimfest Teacher Gilbert Zvamaida

Hello Zimfesters,

A quick news flash to alert you to a new Zimfest initiative!
We asked a Zimfest volunteer (Anesu Ndoro) to interview one of our new teachers, Gilbert Zvamaida, to learn more about his musical background and what he has to offer at Zimfest 2019. Mr. Zvamaida plays a mean guitar and is an expert in different Zimbabwean guitar styles. Listen to what he has to say on this interview excerpt.

Learn more about Gilbert Zvamaida and the workshops he will be teaching on the Workshop Teachers page. Better yet, sign up to learn to play mbira-guitar style or hear him talk about and demonstrate guitar styles in Zimbabwe!

While you’re on Youtube, search for and subscribe to our new Zimfest USA channel to hear the entire English-language interview with Gilbert Zvamaida and Anesu Ndoro and be alerted to upcoming Zimfest clips.

See you at the festival,
Claire and the OC (with Techie help!)

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Zimfest Housing and Dining Registration Closes July 20

Dear Zimfest community,

Zimfest 2019 is fast approaching! Updates for you this holiday weekend:

  • July 20 is the last day to register for housing, meals and Zimfest booths. That is two short weeks away! Click on New Registration to sign up for dorm rooms as there are not likely to be any available onsite!
  • Go to Vendor Information to sign up for a Marketplace Booth. A late fee will be applied for any applications submitted after July 20.
  • Sinini and Pamela Ngwenya have had to cancel their participation in Zimfest 2019 because of paperwork and visa appointment delays in their Germany home base. We are disappointed but hope to host them at the next festival. Read about all workshop changes and cancellations on the Workshop Changes page. Students registered for cancelled workshops have been notified of workshop credits.  No notification has been sent in the cases in which a substitute will be teaching a workshop originally listed under Sinini Ngwenya.
  • Got your workshop schedule figured out? Don’t forget to sign up for Volunteer shifts to keep the festival running smoothly!

Stay cool,
Claire and the Zimfest 2019 OC

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest Workshop Changes

Greetings Zimfest-ers,

Zimfest 2019 registration is going very slowly and we are anticipating reduced attendance this year. There are likely a number of reasons for this, but what it means for those who are coming is less competition for desirable workshops, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Register soon – your registrations tell us what you want! 

  • We have made some adjustments to the workshop schedule to optimize enrollments. See Festival Updates & Workshop Changes for a list of changes. You may find openings in a workshop you thought was full!
  • A heads-up to those enrolled in marimba workshops: we received a number of comments in last year’s evaluations that some of the marimbas were too loud, making it difficult to hear when trying to learn parts. For this year, all tenor and soprano marimbas in workshop rooms will have no resonators. Our marimba loaners and transporters have been very happy to hear this! Let us know in the workshop evaluations if this should be repeated in future years.

Happy solstice,
Zimfest 2019 OC

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Zimfest Board and Committee Updates

Howdy Zimfest Community,

The 2019 Organizing Committee would like you to know:

  • We are actively working on this year’s Festival Guide. If you or your organization would like ad space in the printed guide (discounts for non-profits!), please contact chatbetty{at}gmail{dot}com. You may also contact Betty if you or your community has lost a loved one who you would like mentioned in the In Memoriam page.
  • We are seeking Vendor Applications for the Marketplace—a fun place to hang out during the festival! Be sure to get your applications in by July 20 to avoid being charged a late fee. 

From the ZA Tech Committee:

  • You can now look up current workshop enrollments on both the Workshop List and Workshop Table pages on the website, where “Remaining” indicates the number of spots open in each workshop. Both displays also feature an additional filter called “Open/Full” with which you can view either Full or Open classes (those with slots remaining).
  • Make your Zimfest travel plans now! The Getting to Zimfest page has been updated and the Ride Board is ready for posts from those seeking and those offering rides.

And at long last, an announcement from the Zimfest Association Board:

  • The ZA Board has tentatively reserved the dates of July 30 to August 2, 2020 for Zimfest at The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA. We will make an official decision on whether to hold a 2020 festival after this year’s festival, based on commitment from the community and the success of Zimfest 2019.

Posted by Claire with help from many hard working volunteers!
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

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Zimfest News

Greetings all,

The Zimfest 2019 Organizing and Tech committees have some festival updates for you:

  • The Festival Concert Schedule has been posted online. See biographies and photographs of performers here (check back later for information not yet available on a couple of groups).
  • Our host Western Oregon University has informed us that there will be mini-fridges and microwave ovens in all Ackerman dorm rooms! To ensure that this privilege is extended beyond 2019, be sure to dispose of all food and other waste properly, and please clean out fridges when you leave. 
  • There are a number of fascinating and informative cultural presentations on offer this year, and our webmaster Larry has created this Presentations page with all the relevant information.  The cultural presentations cost only $10 per hour – a great deal!
  • Don’t forget to sign up for volunteer shifts to help the festival run smoothly. Write to our volunteer coordinators at volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org if you can take on any special assignments (e.g. host the Green Room on Sunday, or help wrangle marimbas on Thursday).

Your Zimfest Organizers

Music Dancing Across Borders

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What’s New at Zimfest 2019

Zimfest organizers and participants have been quiet since registration went live on May 1. Take a look at What’s New this year and kick up the interest level! Make your plans and register now for some of the new offerings for Zimfest 2019:

  • Come learn about a different type of Zimbabwean culture: Alternative Agri-cultures in Zimbabwe. This special workshop presentation/exhibit/discussion led by musician and scholar Pamela Ngwenya is produced by Zimfest 2019 as a multi-session workshop on Saturday afternoon August 10 at discounted presentation costs (by donation); we need your registrations for either or both sessions to make it happen! Those who are motivated to give back to Zimbabwe will want to attend to learn about projects being carried out in areas impacted by Cyclone Idai and how to support them.
  • Gumboot Flash Mob – Festival Highlights Finale on Sunday, Aug 11, 4:40 – 5:00 p.m. at The Grove. Student groups from two gumboot workshops will show off what they have learned, and Lucky Moyo and Sinini Ngwenya will invite everyone at the Grove to join in with some awesome body percussion! Let’s get everyone dancing – gum boots not required! For more information, see Festival Events.
  • Some people have been confused between the skill level terms “beginner” and “novice” (introduced last year). We encourage you to look at it this way: Beginners are still the lowest skill level, ranging from those just starting out to one year of experience. We promise we’ll never change that! Novice, the next skill level beyond beginning, is the new term that replaced the old “advanced-beginner” level (which was confusing to people new to this community).

Enjoy the long weekend and remember our veterans!
Claire and the 2019 Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Registration is Open

Dear Zimfest community,

Online registration for Zimfest 2019 is now open! Visit the How to Register ‎page on the website for instructions (please read!) and the direct link to our online system RegFox. A few new tips and reminders:

  • Marketplace booth applications are also open for all new and returning vendors. Please go to the Vendor Information page for guidelines and a link to the Vendor applications. This application is not connected to the online registration form, and vendor applicants will have to make a separate payment for booths using PayPal (sorry!).
  • An eleventh-hour development strengthens our efforts to make Zimfest more affordable for families – meals are now discounted for children 11 and under! See Festival Costs for prices. When you enter the age range of the person for whom you are registering in RegFox, the correct meal prices will be displayed and computed for you.
  • All Zimfest registrants must confirm that they have read and agree to the Zimfest Code of Conduct.  If you are not aware of this initiative by the ZA Board to ensure that the festival remains a safe and non-threatening environment for all, please read about it here.
  • Zimfest Association members are exempt from the $15 Registration fee. Become a member and support Zimfest before you register.
  • Those purchasing concert tickets only are also exempt from the registration fee, and can skip down to the concert ticket section in RegFox.

Enjoy the spring weather!
Claire and the OC

Music Dancing Across Borders

 

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Zimfest Workshop Schedule is Online

Dear Zimfesters,

As promised, the Zimfest 2019 Organizing and Tech Committees have published the workshop list, grid and teachers information in advance of the registration opening date so that registrants will have plenty of time to peruse the selections. We hope this will decrease the errors made by people rushing to complete their registrations on the first day! We would rather you take your time to explore the website and all this year’s offerings before you set out to register. A few other pointers at this time:

  • We have taken some steps to make Zimfest more family-friendly. If you are a parent accompanying a child aged 7 or under in a children’s workshop, your workshop fee is waived. See details under Children’s Workshops on the About Workshops page.
  • Also, it is now easier to qualify for a family discount on housing at the festival; you need only have one child below the age of 12 to qualify. See On-Campus Housing.
  • We request that no group (youth or adults!) sign up for more than half the slots in any one workshop – this is one of the few ways we have of trying to make workshops equally accessible to all Zimfest participants. If you are a group leader and want your entire group to work with a particular teacher, or learn a particular song or dance, please consider arranging a private or pre-fest workshop. See details here.

Have fun exploring the website and all that Zimfest 2019 has to offer! Look for online registration to open on May 1 or shortly thereafter.

Claire and the Organizing Committee

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