Zimfest News Blog

Posts Tagged "Zimfest 2020"

Announcing the Cancellation of Zimfest 2020

Dear Zimfest Community,

After much discussion by the Zimfest Association Board and the Organizing Committee, we have decided to cancel Zimfest 2020. In lieu of holding the festival this year, we will begin to plan for Zimfest 2021, and also explore alternative opportunities for celebrating and supporting Zimbabwean music.

The health and safety of Zimfest teachers, performers and participants have been our paramount concern.

Although there is no way to predict what the status of the COVID-19 pandemic will be in late July, we must consider the possibility that restrictions will still be in place regarding large group activities that would require a last-minute cancellation of the festival.

If this were the only barrier we faced, a final decision could potentially have been postponed until later in the year, but unfortunately we also face a number of challenges in the short term:

  • The availability of Conference Services staff at The Evergreen State College, our Zimfest 2020 host, is very limited during this time, as all campus services are on deferred operations through at least April 24 due to COVID-19. As a result, we have not yet received the letters of invitation we requested for our Zimbabwean guests—these are necessary documents supporting their B-1 visa applications. We also require data on room allotment by early April in order to set up our registration system. As long as the deferred operations are in place, we can expect further delays in other essential information on facilities, concert, and workshop venues, adversely affecting our ability to open registration.  There is currently no estimate for when Evergreen Conference Services will resume normal operations.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Harare, where Zimbabwean visa applicants must appear for mandatory in-person interviews, has cancelled routine non-immigrant visa appointments as of March 19, 2020.  It is unknown when this restriction will be lifted.
  • Due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, South African Airlines has cancelled international flights for the indefinite future. This carrier provides flights from Harare to Johannesburg SA that are often the first leg of the journey from Zimbabwe to the US. Many flights onward from Joburg are also being cancelled and their future availability cannot be predicted.
  • The United States has barred entry of citizens from many regions of the world, including Asia, Europe, Canada and Mexico. There is no indication when such bans may be lifted.
  • Another consideration is the severe economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Members of the Zimfest community will be affected financially by working reduced hours or losing their jobs, while others are beset by new challenges such as converting from in-person to remote working or teaching. These difficulties could suppress Zimfest attendance, even if COVID-19 transmission were no longer an issue at the end of July.

In short, because of conditions outside of our control, we are unable to put on a successful Zimbabwean Music Festival this year. We believe that announcing the cancellation now, rather than waiting, will reduce financial losses by Zimbabwean artists who need to pay for visa applications, airfare, etc.

In times of stress and uncertainty, gathering together in community to celebrate Zimbabwean music and each other could be an especially healing and uplifting experience. Members of the Board and Organizing Committee mourn along with you the loss of our event and the incredible line-up of teachers and performers who planned to attend this year. We are especially sad about the lost opportunity for Zimbabwean artists to come to the festival, teach and perform, make new connections, and earn income for their families. 

We wish you and yours good health during these unsettled times, and extend our sympathy to anyone who has lost family members or friends to the virus. To the healthcare personnel in our community, we deeply thank you for helping save the lives of others, despite the risks. Traditional music has provided strength and healing during many troubled times; may you continue to gain comfort from the music we love, even as we ride out this unprecedented worldwide calamity.

Sincerely,

Zimfest Association Board
2020 Zimfest Organizing Committee

Zimfest: Music Dancing Across Borders

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Applications and Updates

Dear Zimfest community,

A few updates from our hard-working Zimfest organizers:

  • The Organizing Committee is eagerly awaiting applications from performers and teachers before the Feb 29 deadline! We need workshops in all categories to allow for a complete menu of offerings beyond marimba and mbira at Zimfest 2020: dance, singing, drumming, hosho, guitar and other instruments, as well as cultural presentations on various topics.
  • See this page for details on workshops. Marimba teachers, please keep in mind that we can accept a few workshops of 2.5 hours as requested by intermediate and advanced students.  Teachers of dance and hosho are advised that workshops of 1.5 hours work well for many students.
  • The Zimfest Association Board of Directors welcomes new board member Drew Turner! Drew was introduced to Zimbabwean-style marimba in Homer, AK and now lives near Ashland, OR. He has also joined the OC as an intern with the Volunteer Coordinators – great to have you, Drew!
  • The ZA Board wishes to call your attention to changes in membership categories and fees. Recognizing that many older members of our community are on fixed incomes, the Board has added a new category of membership for seniors 65 years and older, at just $10 a year (more if you can afford it).  In addition, the Teacher membership fee, covering a teacher or youth leader plus up to 20 members of their student group, has increased to $100 per year. See the membership page for details and to sign up. 

Stay well – musare zvakanaka!

Zimfest Organizing Committee
Zimfest Association Board
Festival Coordinator Claire Jones

Zimfest: Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest 2020

Dear Zimfest community,

On Friday, Zimfest organizers and I had a successful visit and consultation with Conference Services at The Evergreen State College. I am pleased to announce that both parties agree: we are confirming Zimfest 2020 to be held from July 30 – August 2 at this public liberal arts college in Olympia, Washington. You can write those penciled-in dates in ink now!

There are of course many details to be worked out as this will be the first Zimfest at Evergreen, conveniently located between Portland and Seattle. I am happy to say we have some Olympia community members working on Local Arrangements along with at least one Evergreen student. The Zimfest Organizing and Tech committees will begin preparing for performance and teacher applications to open January 2, 2020. Make your plans and get ready for a “Greener” experience!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator
Zimfest 2020: Music Dancing Across Borders
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Zimfest 2020

Dear Zimfest community,

Thank you to all who filled out the post-Zimfest survey or have otherwise communicated to the ZA Board and organizers about their feelings and desires for Zimfest in 2020.

Based on support from the community, the Board has decided to go ahead with plans to produce Zimfest 2020 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA!  I have been in touch with Conference Services at Evergreen and they are enthusiastic about hosting Zimfest from July 30-August 2, 2020. We are in the process of ironing out some details and look forward to signing a Booking Agreement. So, not 100% confirmed yet, but I would advise you to save these dates! 

We are happy to say that a number of people stepped up at this year’s festival to volunteer to help organize the next Zimfest. As always, however (you know the drill), we welcome your volunteering help! Let us know if you are interested in helping to organize, or would be available for special assignments – e.g., proof-reading, publicity or technical tasks – for brief periods of time during the course of the year. You can write to me at claire{at}zimfest{dot}org or the Board at board{at}zimfest{dot}org.

 – Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

Music Dancing Across Borders

 

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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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