Zimfest News Blog

Board Retreat and June and July Meeting Minutes

The Zimfest Association board of directors has posted meeting minutes from the June 19th and July 10th board meetings, and a summary of their February 20th & 21st strategic retreat.

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Zimfest 2016 Survey

Another fabulous festival is over; Zimfest 2016 is now history. If you were there, please take the Zimfest 2016 Survey at https://goo.gl/forms/lF7glY8e5a0R4aC83

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Calling all Zimfest Old Timers

Greetings,
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.
Thanks!
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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Less Than 1 Week To Go

Less Than 1 Week To Go

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

drumming workshopLast day for online workshop registration is August 3rd

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

marimba workshopmarimba workshop

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

mbira workshopmbira workshop

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

Last day for online workshop registration is August 3rddance workshop

Marimba … Mbira … Dance … Song … Drum
Hosho … Guitar … Chipendani … Presentations

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Volunteer Request

Zimfest is just two weeks away! The Organizing Committee is eagerly watching volunteer sign-ups to learn who can help pull final festival details together on Wednesday and Thursday, August 10 and 11.

Are you arriving in Monmouth on Wednesday or Thursday? If so, we can use your help setting up – particularly WORKSHOP INSTRUMENT SETUP, GENERAL FESTIVAL SETUP, SIGNAGE SETUP and COMPUTER ASSIST (at registration). If you do not have a task preference, sign up for a shift at the VOLUNTEER TABLE. Every task scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday is our first priority to fill.

Sign up here: https://zimfest.org/vol/volunteer-tasks/. With your assistance, we look forward to preparing the space for another fabulous Zimfest!

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” —Oscar Wilde

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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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Calling All Mbira Players … and Adventurers

Calling all mbira players and "what is an mbira, maybe I would like to try it" adventurers

We have a marvelous lineup of mbira teachers at Zimfest this year and a spot just for you! From beginning workshops to advanced, from traditional songs to new and unusual instruments.

photo-two-mbiras-smallphoto-mbira-in-deze-smallphoto-nyunga-nyunga-small

Our group of 7 teachers include 4 who are Zimbabwean and are highlighted below:

Photo of Musekiwa ChingodzaMusekiwa Chingodza was born into a family of great mbira players in Mwangara village, Murewa, Zimbabwe. He began playing mbira at the age of five and is self-taught. Through listening to other gwenyambira, or great mbira players, he developed a strong attachment to and love for mbira music. This year, Musekiwa introduces a nyunga nyunga with an extra key which broadens the instrument’s repertoire. Read more…

Video of Musekiwa

Photo of Moyo Rainos MutambaMoyo Rainos Mutamba grew up mostly in the Ndau/Karanga-speaking areas of Zimbabwe, immersed in muchongoyo, maduda and ngororombe drumming and dance. He fell in love with mbira from hearing his great-uncle play at family gatherings and from recordings on ZBC Radio 2. Moyo has just returned from Zimbabwe from a three-month mbira mentorship immersion with Garikayi Tirikoti where he learnt Tirikoti’s seven-mbira orchestra. Read more…

Photo of Chakaipa MhembereChakaipa Mhembere was born in Chegutu, Mhondoro, Zimbabwe. He started playing mbira when he was four years old. His totem is “Shumba”, and he has played with Thomas Mapfumo since 1995. Now based in Eugene Oregon, Chaka works with the mbira group Mudzidzi. Read more…

Video of Chaka

photo-mbira-in-deze-smallClayton Master was born in Mbare (Harare) Zimbabwe in a family of seven. All of them have something to do with the lovely arts of Zimbabwe. He began teaching dance at 16 years old, then moved to Victoria Falls to work full-time performing mbira and dancing. He also taught djembe drums for several years in Victoria Falls. Clayton is currently based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Read more…

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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.t1495989264sefmi1495989264z@dra1495989264ob1495989264 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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