Zimfest News Blog

Posts Tagged "Zimfest 2023"

Zimfest Updates and 2024 Announcement

Greetings Zimfest community,

The Zimfest Board and I want to communicate with you all before too much time passes about plans for next year. We have, regretfully, decided not to try to produce an in-person festival in 2024. The reasons are many: you may recall that we had planned to hold Zimfest 2020 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia WA when the COVID pandemic hit. We also had hopes of going there in subsequent years, but their Conference Services informed us last year that they can no longer accommodate a group of our size during the summer. Due to the lack of planning for alternate sites, we have been in the position of hastily arranging in-person festivals at venues that are new to this Organizing Committee both in 2022 (Skagit Valley Fairgrounds in Mt. Vernon, WA) and this year (OSU in Corvallis, OR). Organizing for a new site (housing and dining details, registration, facilities, contractual obligations, etc.) is extremely time-consuming and a drain on the resources of the OC. There is currently no site (university or otherwise) lined up for next year. Rather than scrambling to arrange for a venue, we have decided to step back and take a break for 2024. The core of the current hard-working OC has been together for several years now and needs a rest; the ZA Board, with the support of the community, needs to apply its energy towards long-range planning for the future. We hope to work on a five-year plan in which all possibilities are on the table: moving to a festival every other year, alternating between agreed-upon sites in Oregon and Washington, etc.

Other comments:

  • Minutes for the Village Meeting will be posted very soon, for those were unable to attend. The decision to pause the festival in 2024 was made at the Sept. 10 board meeting, minutes of which will also be posted soon. While there will be no in-person festival, online and/or local activities may be considered.
  • As always, it takes (more than!) a village to produce Zimfest, and that includes our village hosts! Thank Yous for those who contributed to the 2023 festival have been posted here.
  • We appreciate your taking time to fill out the post-festival survey, and several members of the OC and board have gone through the responses. There are a number of useful suggestions which we hope to take up in the coming months. There are also some comments on issues that we had no control over. For example, more than one person complained about having to pay for a triple room that they didn’t need:
    • OSU Housing and Dining proved awkward for Zimfest to work with as most of their summer conference groups are youth camps. We were not notified of the distribution of rooms in our assigned dorm (McNary Hall) until just before we opened the registration system. At that point we were unhappy and frustrated to learn that most of the rooms were so-called “economy” triples, with elevated beds that our mostly-adult participants do not care for. We would need to contract for different dorms with more single rooms if Zimfest were to return to OSU.
    • Some survey respondents who were not renting rooms in the dorms had complaints about not being allowed access to McNary during concerts. All activities in and access to the dorms must be approved by the OSU Office of Youth Safety & Compliance. As access to the dorm stairwells and elevators (as well as outside doors) are controlled electronically, we had to negotiate to allow non-dorm residents access to the upstairs lounges while Zimfest workshops were taking place. The Youth Safety people were not happy about letting non-dorm residents into McNary, but allowed it for Zimfest 2023 workshops.
  • On a more positive note, most Zimfest participants and performers loved having all concerts outside on one stage. We took the opportunity to make all evening concerts by donation so that all Zimbabweans could perform during evening concerts without worries about visa restrictions, and were happy to see the supportiveness of concert attendees in paying the requested donations. There was a request, however, to move the mostly-Zimbabwean concert to Friday or Saturday so that more Americans (many of whom leave on Sunday) could enjoy it. We want you to know that few of the American bands were available to perform on Sunday—that is why we had more Zimbabweans performing then!

Thanks for reading, you will be hearing more from us soon!
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest 2023: survey, lost & found, and volunteer opportunities

Dear Zimfest Community,

Thank you so much for showing up strong at Zimfest 2023!

To all attendees–as well as those who could not make it this year–please complete this survey. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and helps to improve the festival.

A number of items were left at the festival.  If you are missing anything, please reach out to Janis Weeks janis{at}zimfest{dot}org with a description so that we can return it to you.

Zimfest runs on volunteers; if you have any ability or interest in helping, please reach out here:


Alex Weeks
Board President

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COVID-19 Cases

Dear Zimfest Community,

Be aware that several COVID-19 cases have been reported among participants. We are providing this information so that you can make decisions about your personal safety.

Alex Weeks
Zimfest Board President

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More Zimfest Updates

Here are a few more details, as the festival is nearly underway.

  • All kinds of Workshops have openings. Come register in person at Oregon State University.
  • We have replaced all five of Innocent Musafare Mutero’s marimba workshops. For a summary of the changes, see the Festival Updates & Workshop Changes page. For complete descriptions of these – and all Zimfest workshops — see Workshop Details.
  • All meal cards — for meal plans and commuter cards — will be given out by UHDS (OSU housing and dining services) staff, not by Zimfest. UHDS and Zimfest Registration are both located in McNary Hall.
  • Don’t forget to pick up your prepaid evening concert tickets at the Zimfest registration desk when you check in.
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Three Days Until Zimfest

Dear Zimfest Community,

Zimfest is only three days away, and even though we are still processing the loss of Martha Thom Mafuleni, there are a few announcements to make:

Weather/Heat: Corvallis has forecasted highs of 92-96°F (33-36°C) for the entire weekend. Please come prepared with plenty of water and sunscreen for the concerts and a fan for sleeping.

Mosquitos: There may be mosquitos at the outdoor concerts (afternoon, and evening), consider bringing long-sleeved shirts, pants, or insect repellant.

Parking for RVs (and others): There has been a slight change of procedure for those who signed up for RV parking: you will be sent an email with guidance on how and and where to park in the designated lot at Adams Ave. NE, (see map on housing page) and will not have to register online as we were initially told. Those who have registered online for parking in the OSU “B” lots may also park in the same lot.

Village Meeting: This year’s village meeting will be held on Sunday, August 6th, at 9:30am in McNary Dining Center. The Zimfest Association Board and Organizing Committee will share updates, and receive feedback from the community.


Alex Weeks
Zimfest Board President

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Zimfest Updates – 10 Days and Counting!

News from the OC and our OSU hosts:

  • OSU University Housing and Dining (UHDS) has added to their housing check-in times in the McNary Hall Main Lounge to better accommodate Zimfest participants’ arrival times. Their housing check-in (and check-out) hours on Thursday Aug 3 through Sunday Aug 6 will be the same as Zimfest registration hours, spelled out in the Festival Schedule and On-campus Housing pages. Housing check-in for staff and early arrivals on Wednesday Aug 2 remains the same, as does the 9-11 AM final check-out time on Monday August 7.
  • UHDS has agreed to keep the South Entrance of McNary Hall unlocked during the hours that housing check-in and Zimfest registration are open. Enter through this door (see below) if you have not yet checked in or if you are staying elsewhere and commuting.

McNary Hall First Floor

  • All Zimfest participants should visit the Zimfest registration area in McNary Hall whether or not you signed up for housing in the dorm, to pick up your meal plan cards and pre-paid single meal cards. We will also be giving out the Festival handout and map showing the workshop locations and festival schedules.
  • Meal times in McNary Dining Center have increased to two hours apiece: Breakfast 7-9 AM; Lunch 11:00 AM – 1 PM: and Dinner 5:00–7:00 PM. See On-Campus Dining for more info.
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Zimfest Deadlines and Check-ins

Hi Zimfest-goers,

Some deadline dates and pointers as festival time approaches:

  • July 18 – Tuesday – is the last day to register for housing (including RV permits) and meals. Click the links for info on on-campus housing and meals.
  • July 18 is also the last date for vendor applications. Be aware that there is a fee for late applications, and we cannot guarantee that latecomers will be provided with tables or chairs as we are renting them from a third party this year.
  • On July 23, workshops with less than minimum enrollment will be canceled. (The minimum is two for mbira workshops; three for all others.) If you have a credit for a previously-canceled workshop, or just haven’t gotten around to deciding what to sign up for, check the workshop list. Support your favorite teacher by signing up for a low enrollment workshop before the 23rd and keep it from being canceled!
  • July 25 – Online workshop registration and volunteer signups close at 11 PM. No changes until August 3rd onsite at the festival.
  • Housing check-in at McNary Hall: Please note the times listed for checking-in for dorm rooms. Zimfest staff is aware that it is difficult for people taking public transit to time their arrival during these windows of time. If you cannot make it during the listed times, UHDS is insistent that you phone this staff on-call duty phone  541-243-2617 when you arrive. I am sorry to have written on the website that other arrangements could be made, but we will continue to try to work with them.

A final tip for renters of dorm rooms – bring a fan!

Claire and the OC

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Festival Updates

Zimfest community,

We are disappointed to announce that Moyo Mutamba has had to cancel his participation in Zimfest 2023 due to personal reasons. We have been able to find excellent replacement teachers for all but one of his workshops, spelled out in the Workshop Changes page on the website. You may also wish to check for adjustments to the Friday and Sunday concert schedules to make up for the loss of Moyo and Friends mbira. 

Festival Hints

As the festival is a mere three weeks away, start preparing now! Those of you who are driving and plan on parking on campus, be advised that permits are mandatory for on-campus parking from 7 AM – 5 PM, Monday to Friday, but free on the weekend. Advance online purchase of a visitor permit is recommended, and there is information on how to go about it on the Parking page. If you check the Zimfest map, it looks like the parking lot on Jefferson way between the dorm and the outdoor stage would be most convenient, but it is not! That is a small lot, loading and unloading for the stage and marketplace will take place from reserved parking sites there, and it is more expensive! We recommend you park in the (cheaper) Zone B parking lots south of McNary Hall and Dining Center. 

See you soon,

Claire and the 2023 Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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To Our Zimfest Volunteers

We L-O-V-E our volunteers!

L-ive the life of a helper
O-pen your heart as you share the work
V-olunteer to show you care
E-veryone can do it!

Thanks to all who have signed up to volunteer. For those who haven’t yet, we need your helping hands! The Volunteer Coordinators are still looking for folks who can join in the “many hands make light work” idea for Zimfest 2023. In case you didn’t know, Zimfest is run by volunteers and in order to keep the festival going and have it be a success, we could use your help. You choose when and how much you want to be involved and then sign up, either online when you register (until July 30th), or in person at the festival—it’s that easy!

We are still looking for people in these areas:
– General festival set up
– Decorations: Setup and Marketplace
– Volunteer Table and Tent
– Workshop support
– Marketplace setup/takedown
– General festival cleanup and signage takedown

So please join us for the cause and share in the love for this festival.

~Ev Keller
Zimfest 2023 Volunteer Co-Coordinator

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Zimbabwean Guests

Hello Zimfesters!

At this time we would like to announce the 2023 Zimfest Travel Fellowships grantees. The ZA Board initiated two fellowships in 2019 awarding full travel costs to one veteran Zimfest teacher and one new to the festival. Because of the effect of the pandemic on worldwide travel, 2023 is only the second time we have been able to make these awards. Please welcome our 2023 fellowship winners to Zimfest (and sign up for their workshops!):

Tsungai Tsikirai 

An award-winning singer-songwriter and performing artist from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Ms. Tsikirai has been based in the United Kingdom since 2002. She previously taught (mainly choral music) at Zimfest 2018. Although she has a flare for dance, her greatest passion is singing, with influences ranging from traditional Shona and Ndebele music to contemporary AfroFusion sounds. Enjoy her performances on an electric version of “Nhemamusasa” and  a recent collaboration with Zulu guitarist Maqhinga Hadebe.

There are openings in all four Zimfest 2023 workshops Tsungai will be teaching (enter her name under teachers): Dance Therapy, two singing workshops and an introduction to both chiShona and siNdebele languages, reflecting her heritage. The more people sign up for the choral sessions, the more fun! The Session 7 workshop Yimba/Cula will be the first performance at this year’s Festival Highlights on Sunday Aug 6. In addition, Tsungai is coordinating a special all-Zimbabwean show Sunday night at 9 PM on the evening stage, Celebrate Bulawayo!

Innocent Musafare Mutero

Innocent is a multi-instrumentalist who began his musical career playing marimba at his primary school in Chitungwiza and with CHIPAWO (Children’s Performing Arts Organization of Zimbabwe). He moved to South Africa in 2008 to play in professional marimba bands there and later began teaching music in Johannesburg. He is on demand as a teacher in a number of Joburg schools, and has also been invited to play keyboards with Thomas Mapfumo as a member of the Blacks Unlimited in tours to South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe from 2015 on. 

With an impressively large and varied repertoire, Innocent is teaching several marimba workshops at Zimfest 2023. While one of them has filled up, there are plenty of openings in the others at this time. He would especially like more players for “Varipiko Amai,” a Thomas Mapfumo number, and “Fairytale,” his arrangement of a South African house track. He will be performing with Totem Marimba bandmate Michael in the Marimba All-Stars, Friday evening at 9:35 PM. Enjoy Innocent and Mike jamming together on marimba.

Ride Board

We have now published the Ride Board on the Zimfest website to facilitate carpooling. Zimbabweans (and others) are starting to purchase plane tickets and will be requesting our assistance getting from the nearest airports to OSU in Corvallis.

Two months until Zimfest 2023!
Zimfest Coordinator and Organizing Committee

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Zimfest 2023 Registration Opens Soon

Are you ready to register for Zimfest!? Go to the website to Meet the Zimbabweans, meet the Workshop Teachers, browse all 79 workshops on the Workshop Schedule, learn How to Register, and much more.

Registration is due to open late Sunday night at midnight (when the date turns May 1st, Pacific Time) for ZA members, and on May 4th for everyone. Why not join, renew, verify your membership, or get your membership number.

A team of dedicated volunteers, the Zimfest Organizing Committee has been working very hard for the past few months preparing an amazing festival, August 3-6 at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

The Roommate Request Board is a new feature on the website this year (similar to the ride board). Because most dorm rooms are doubles and triples, you may want to find a roommate, to save money on housing.

You can always get the latest news by going to the Zimfest Home Page (in the white box in the middle).

Larry Israel
Zimfest website maintainer

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Announcing Zimbabwean Artists at Zimfest 2023

Dear Zimfest community,

The Zimfest OC is excited to announce the Zimbabwean guests for 2023, including five performing and teaching artists new to Zimfest: Othnell Mangoma Moyo, Joyce Warikandwa Chihera, Mudavanhu Magaya, Innocent Musafare Mutero, and Tendayi Kusaya. Read more about them and returning friends on the Festival Overview page. Also check out planned Festival Events, including a tribute in song to the recently deceased Ambuya Stella Chiweshe among the Festival Highlights on Sunday afternoon.

We are hard at work getting registration ready to go, targeted to open on May 1 for members and May 4 for all others; the workshop schedule will be published soon. We have had unexpected news from OSU University Housing services, in that many of the rooms for rent in McNary Hall are triples. This is a mixed blessing as the triple rooms will be great for participants coming in groups, but not all the beds will be at floor level as we requested. See On-Campus Housing for room rates and configurations.

Friendly reminder to those wishing to renew Memberships: If you are a long-time member but have not paid for a membership since November 2021 (when we introduced a new membership system), you cannot renew your old membership. You must take out a new membership in the new system. If you take out or renew a membership in April, you will be able to access the registration system on May 1 before the general public.

Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

Music Dancing Across Borders

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