Zimfest News Blog

Posts by Claire Jones

Zimfest 2022 Applications Are Now Open

Greetings Zimfest community,

Applications for teaching, performing and presenting at Zimfest 2022 in Mount Vernon, WA are now open. Applications close February 28, so please get your applications in soon! We are aware that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is raging across the country, but we are forging ahead with the work of organizing an in-person festival June 24-26 with fingers crossed. Please read the current COVID Safety precautions provided by the ZA Board. 

Information and the application button for (live) performers is here
Information and the application button for those wishing to submit pre-recorded performances or presentations is here
Information and the application button for teachers is here. Once you have submitted a teacher application, you will be sent a link to propose one or more (in-person) workshops.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Performers may be accepted either for free daytime concerts at the Skagit County Fairgrounds or ticketed evening concerts at the Lincoln Theatre. The theater’s COVID health and safety policy appears here.
  • Individuals who are accepted as teachers will be asked to complete a background check if they did not teach at Zimfest in 2019.
  • We love to see workshop proposals for theoretical topics (e.g. African rhythms, song structure and improvisation), songs, and cultural presentations of all sorts – in addition to the ever-popular marimba and mbira.
  • Workshop times: participant feedback indicates that hosho and dance workshops of 90 minutes work well. Many intermediate marimba students have requested longer workshops, and we can schedule a few for 2  1/2 hours. See detailed Workshop Proposal information here (scroll down the page).
  • The Zimfest Organizing Committee is still looking for individuals with expertise in graphic design and concert production (both big jobs!). Please write to volunteers{at}zimfest[dot}org to volunteer or make suggestions!

Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

Zimfest 2022: Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest 2022 OC Plans

Greetings Zimfest community,
Happy New year!

Zimfest 2022 is scheduled to take place June 24-26, 2022 at the Skagit County Fairgrounds (daytime events) and Lincoln Theatre (ticketed evening concerts) both in Mount Vernon, WA. We are painfully aware that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is raging and could threaten to derail our plans, but if we don’t prepare now for the in-person festival that so many people want, we may all be sorry. The Organizing Committee (OC) wants to let you know some of the details as they currently exist to help you make your plans.

  • Workshops, concerts and an expansive marketplace will take place Friday to Sunday June 24-26. We will need assistance setting up on Thursday afternoon June 23, and final clean-up on Monday June 27 – you can sign up as a volunteer for those tasks when registration opens.
  • ZF 2022 will be primarily a camping festival! The Fairgrounds has ample space for camping and up to 40 RVs; you will be able to register for spots with us any number of nights between June 23 and 26. For those not interested in roughing it, we hope to arrange for a limited number of dorm room-style accommodations within easy driving distance, and will be publishing the availability of nearby motel lodging on the website. A quick search of Air BnB and VRBO shows many possibilities to book for yourself in Skagit County, which is a wonderful vacation area.
  • Since Zimfest is not being hosted by a college this year, there will be no dining service and you will be on your own for meals. However, there are no rules against food sales onsite, so we look forward to lining up a number of food vendors. Downtown Mount Vernon with many restaurants to explore is also within walking distance.
  •  Due to the uncertainties of the COVID epidemic, travel restrictions, visa delays and the lack of an institutional sponsor, Zimfest regrettably will not be sponsoring guest visas this year. We would be happy to accept touring Zimbabweans on P or Q visas, but sponsors applying for those probably need to have their applications already in process at this date.
  • We are pleased to announce that the ticketed evening concerts at the Lincoln Theatre will feature both live bands and pre-recorded performances in streaming format. In this way we will be able to feature Zimbabweans who we are unable to bring here this year because of the pandemic.
  • As always, those wishing to help Zimfest 2022 happen by volunteering their time, please write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org.
  • Look for applications to open very soon for: teachers and workshop proposals; live performances; and pre-recorded performances and presentations.

Stay safe and well!

Claire Jones and Zimfest 2022 OC

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Zimfest 2021 Workshop Access Ends

Dear Zimfest community,

Registration for access to the Zimfest 2021 Live Workshop recordings closed September 30, and we thank all who participated. The Zimfest Organizing Committee is now in its resting phase, with no news to report on plans for Zimfest 2022.

Posting on behalf of Blessing Chimanga
Musician and producer Blessing Chimanga, who oversaw recordings of performers in Harare for Zimfest 2021, has announced plans to record his third album. He intends to put out a message of Hope in both chiShona and English, and is seeking sponsorship for his project. If anyone would like to assist Blessing, please write directly to him at Dreams TV, legendbled{at}gmail{dot}com.

Stay well and stay safe,
Claire and the Zimfest Team

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Zimfest 2021 Live Workshop Recordings

Greetings Zimfesters,

A belated Thank You to all who attended or participated in Zimfest 2021! Those who tuned in for the weekend were wowed by the number, diversity and quality of Zimbabwean performers and presenters! 

For those of you who missed one or more of the Live Workshops (on Zoom), we are providing on-demand access to the video recordings on a donation basis. Registration is now open for all of the workshops, and the recordings will be available through September 2021.  

Check out complete descriptions of all the workshops along with teacher biographies on the Live Participatory Workshops page. Once you register for a recording, you will be able to view it at any time you wish during the month of September.

Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

(PS – Reminding you that the 2021 concerts are still viewable on Zimfest’s Facebook Live Videos page.)

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Zimfest Reminders and Village Meeting Zoom Link

Greetings Zimfest-ers,

Zimfest 2021 starts tomorrow – Friday July 30! We kick off at 2:00 pm PDT with two Live Participatory Workshops on Zoom.

  • The Friday evening concert, taking place on Zimfest Facebook Live opens with tributes to Sekuru Cosmas Magaya and Matemai Newton Cheza-Chozengwa at 5:30 pm PDT.
  • There are plenty of openings in all Workshops – take a look at the offerings here. The link to registrations (required) is at the top of the page.
  • We encourage you to tune into the timely and important Live Workshop with Māhealani Uchiyama and former Zimfest Board member Rujeko Dumbutshena discussing engagement in Zimbabwean music through a lens of racial and cultural appreciation/appropriation issues: Sunday 2 -3 pm PDT.
  • The Zimfest Association Village Meeting takes place at 3:15 to 4:15 pm PDT on Sunday in its own Zoom room – registration not required, open to all interested parties.

Join Village Meeting on Zoom (room opens 3 pm)

(Zoom meeting access info was posted here)

Hope to “see” you at Zimfest!
Claire and the Organizing Committee

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2021 Zimfest Message from the OC

Hi Zimfest Fans,

As I am sure most of you are aware, the Zimfest Organizing Committee has been busy putting together an awesome show for this year, with some great favorite players like mbira master Musekiwa Chingodza, and some totally new folks to Zimfest, like dancer Ndomupeishe Chipendo.

The OC has been hearing from folks that they would much prefer a live event instead of the online show that is being presented.  We get it and completely agree that seeing folks up close and personal would be the best, and we would much rather have a live event as well.  However, it was obvious that we would not be able to get anyone into this country from Zimbabwe by July.  Sadly, the situation is getting worse now, very few Zimbabweans have been vaccinated and Covid is spreading rapidly through Zimbabwe, so our crystal ball was correct.  We also did not know what the situation would be like in July in America either, and the Covid cases have been climbing here as well. 

However, we equally know that our Zimbabwean friends could really use a cash infusion, so let’s support them in any way that we can, which in this case is supporting their efforts to provide us with some great performances and workshops.  On the bright side, this year we are able to present some folks that we have not been able to bring to Zimfest due to cost constraints, but we are able to include them in our online presentation.  So check out our great program schedule for the weekend of July 30 – August 1 and join us.  If that weekend does not work for you, the concerts will be available on demand and you can view them later at a time of your convenience. 

The full schedule and concert lineups have now been published on our website and on our Facebook page.

So let’s enjoy this awesome show and see you all in person in 2022!

Thanks,
Jim Levine and the Zimfest Organizing Committee

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Zimfest 2021 Updates – Workshop Registration is Open

Dear Zimfest community,

Zimfest 2021 is less than two weeks away, taking place from July 30 to August 1. The Organizing Committee has been hard at work and has the following updates for you:

  • The Festival Schedule gives an outline of activities for the weekend. Detailed lineups will be posted soon.
  • See Festival Overview for an introduction to the amazing performers and presenters who will be joining us online on Facebook Live.
  • Live Participatory Workshops will take place on Zoom; registrations are required and donations requested. Workshop descriptions, teacher biographies and a link to the registrations are here
  • The 2021 Virtual Marketplace is now open, featuring vendors and importers selling instruments and wares made by Zimbabweans.
  • Emcees needed: why not get a buddy to hold a viewing party with you, enjoy the show for a 2 to 3 hour block of time, and get paid to engage with the music together! Write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org for info. 

Zimfest mourns the loss of Gwenyambira Matemai Newton Cheza-Chozengwa, who passed away on Saturday. We extend our condolences to his family and friends, and all the mbira lovers whose hearts he touched. Enjoy the recording of Matemai singing with Rattletree Marimba at Zimfest 2009 on our homepage (lower left corner).

Zimfest Organizing Committee

Zimfest 2021: A Quilt of Local Events… Stitched Together

 

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Deadline Looming for Zimfest Performance and Presentation Applications

Hello Zimfest people new and old,

The deadline for Applications for Zimfest 2021 teachers, performers and presenters is June 30 – that’s three days from now! See all deadlines and dates here.

Please read the Information for Applicants and note:

  • We are only accepting Live Workshop applications from residents in North America and Europe as internet and electrical power are not reliable in Zimbabwe. 
  • Applications to submit Pre-recorded presentations and performances are open to everyone. You do not need to be ready with a recording when you apply – we will let successful applicants know by July 10 how to submit recordings.
  • We are arranging recording sessions in Harare for Zimbabwean applicants unable to access recording equipment themselves.

We look forward to hearing from you very very soon!

Stay cool,
Zimfest 2021 Organizing Committee

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Zimfest 2021 Applications Are Open

A quick alert for Zimfest participants:

  • Performers and Presenters Applications are now open; follow the link on the Information page. Please act fast – the deadline is June 30!
  • Reminder that Applications for Virtual Vendors selling Zimbabwean-made wares are open, with a deadline of July 10.

 

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Zimfest 2021 – How to Create Your Square of the Quilt

Zimfest 2021 - A Quilt of Local Events... Stiched Together

Dear Zimfest Family,

We hope our previous blog post has sparked some creative thoughts on how to participate in Zimfest 2021, taking place July 30-August 1 online. This post will give additional structure to our Quilt theme and answer some logistical questions.

Types of Squares: The Organizing Committee (OC) is looking for three types of Squares that we can stitch into a Zimfest 2021 Quilt.

  • Live Participatory Workshop or Presentation – Involves realtime interaction between teacher/presenter and students. Hosted on Zoom, only North American and European residents please. Duration of 30, 60, or 90 min.
  • Prerecorded Performance or Presentation – One or more songs or talks from individuals or groups. Hosted on YouTube and/or Facebook with interactive chat. Applicants may propose a cluster of performances, but each video file should be no longer than 30 min to allow the OC some flexibility in the stitching process.
  • Livestreamed Performance – One or more songs from individuals or groups, no longer than 60 min total. Hosted on Facebook Live (Zoom often fails to deliver high quality video of live music). This option should only be used by experienced hosts of livestreaming events and it would be wise to submit a prerecorded video as a backup.

These guidelines are not meant to be rigid limits, so let the OC know (oc{at}zimfest{dot}org) if you have an idea that doesn’t quite fit within them.

Focus on Supporting Zimbabweans and Expanding Participation: The online emphasis of Zimfest 2021 is an opportunity to involve more Zimbabweans than we can typically host at an in-person festival, as well as others who cannot normally travel to the festival. In the spirit of inclusiveness, we encourage proposals from all over North America as well as Zimbabweans throughout the global diaspora!

Applications and Content Submission: An online application where individuals or communities can describe their proposed Square(s) is available here, with a deadline of June 30. The Zimfest OC will select from these Squares as we do each year for an in-person festival and send successful applicants upload instructions. Videos should have a minimum resolution of 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) and be in .mp4 format. We will notify successful applicants no later than July 10 and we must receive videos no later than July 23 to allow for testing before we present the overall Quilt.

Suggestions for Teachers or Performers in Zimbabwe: Internet connections in Africa are not reliable enough for livestreaming, so we request that video from there be prerecorded. For accepted proposals requiring recording facilities in Africa and video file upload, Zimfest will cover reasonable studio and data expenses. Jennifer Kyker and Musekiwa Chingodza demonstrated in 2020 that co-teaching with one teacher live and the other providing recorded material can be quite successful, so we suggest that proposals may be based on this model.

Reduce Screen Fatigue: After 2020, we all know how our attention can wander during an online event. To avoid this during Zimfest 2021, consider having a ‘watch party’ where you gather (in a pandemic-safe way) to watch together.

Calling Virtual Volunteers: As with an in-person festival, the OC needs your help to make Zimfest 2021 a success. We need MCs to introduce videos, video editors to add captions where needed, viewers to screen submitted for quality, etc. Please write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org to learn how you can help.

Newly-revised Homepage: Check out the Quilt-themed artwork and other updates at https://zimfest.org/.

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Introducing Zimfest’s Virtual Marketplace

Hello Zimfest Community,

Zimfest 2021 is instituting a Virtual Marketplace featuring vendors and importers selling instruments and other goods made by Zimbabweans. There will be no fees for 2021 Virtual Vendors, as Zimfest wishes to provide a service to Zimbabwean instrument makers and craftspeople during these trying times.

Vendors of Zimbabwean goods: are you able to carry out mail order sales and shipping, and do you have a website (or reliable email) for visitors to browse and shop? The Zimfest Virtual Marketplace on our website will help to connect buyers and sellers but will have no role in the resulting transactions.

Applications are now open for vendors or importers of Zimbabwean instruments and other wares. Go to the Virtual Vendor page for more info and the link to applications. Questions? Write marketplace{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

 

Program information and performer/presenter applications coming soon!

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Zimfest 2021 – A Quilt of Local Events…Stitched Together

Dear Zimfest Family,

What do you think about building Zimfest 2021 together, as a series of local events hosted by local communities?

Here’s the basic idea: The Zimfest Organizing Committee (OC) would stitch together local events into an overall quilt covering a traditional Thursday through Sunday period (likely July 29 through Aug 1). Local events might include in-person and/or online components (classes, presentations, or performances). Anything goes: individual events as well as community chunks of time. Attendees could enjoy one of the local festivals in person and participate in the online components during the rest of the long weekend. If this sounds intriguing, read on to learn more!

Context: Evergreen State College will be unable to host Zimfest this year (see March 17th post). Following President Biden’s prediction that COVID-19 vaccinations are going well enough to allow small gatherings by July 4th, we are hopeful that small events will be possible by the end of July. We emphasize that any in-person gatherings should follow CDC and local guidelines for masking, restrictions on venue capacity, etc.

Next steps: We want you and your community to think about how you might contribute to a Zimfest 2021 quilt. The scale of each local event could be anything from a single performance streamed online to a full half-day of classes, presentations, and performances, i.e. a mini-Zimfest. Each participating community would manage their own local events, while the Zimfest OC focuses on stitching them into the overall festival. The OC and Zimfest Board want to do all we can to help Zimbabwean artists participate in and benefit from Zimfest. We urge each local community to look for ways to involve these artists in person or remotely.

Have questions? More info will be forthcoming, but we did not want to wait any longer to share our ideas with you. For online components, we can share what we learned from the 2020 online sessions. Some financial questions such as cost for attendees, payment schedule for teachers, and potential sharing of venue costs between Zimfest and each local community are still under discussion. Feel free to reach out to the OC by sending email to oc{at}zimfest{dot}org. We plan to have an online application ready to accept proposals by the first week of June.

Together we can stitch a Zimfest 2021 quilt that will renew ties across the Zimfest community and provide memories to sustain us until we can hug, dance, and make music as one big family again.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

 

 

Yours, Zimfest 2021 OC

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