Zimfest News Blog

Posts Tagged "Zimfest organizing committee"

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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Zimfest 2020 Novel Coronavirus Update

Dear Zimfest Community,

The Zimfest Board is monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact on Zimfest 2020.

At this time, we plan to hold Zimfest 2020 from July 31st – August 2nd on the campus of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Registration is targeted to open on May 1.

Please be aware that this decision may change based on guidance from health agencies, travel restrictions, or if we feel that the risk posed to the Zimfest community is unacceptably high.  The board regularly reviews updates and guidance from local, state, and national public health agencies to inform our decisions.  We are also working closely with our host, The Evergreen State College, as we navigate these uncertain times.

The Board will provide regular updates about the situation and its impact on Zimfest 2020. We are all looking forward to the Festival  but your safety and health are our first concern. Please check the Zimfest blog regularly for updates. If you have questions or concerns about the impact of novel coronavirus on the festival, please write to our Board contact person, janis{at}zimfest{dot}org. Questions about the festival should be directed to oc{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

Sincerely,

Zimfest Association Board and Zimfest 2020 Organizing Committee

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Applications Wanted

Hello Zimfest people,

Just a reminder from the Organizing Committee that applications are open until February 29  for teachers and performers for Zimfest 2020! Please don’t wait until the last minute – your application will stand out from the crowd if you apply now!

And a message from the Tech committee: We are seeking a web graphic design volunteer who has knowledge and experience with WordPress. Help us to maintain and improve the Zimfest website!  Write to tech{at}zimfest{dot}org with your contact info and relevant skills.

Hoping to hear from you soon,
Zimfest Organizing Committee
Zimfest Tech Committee
Festival Coordinator Claire Jones

Zimfest: Music Dancing Across Borders

 

 

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Call for Zimfest Art and More

Hello Zimfesters,

We have some requests for help from the Zimfest Association Board of Directors and the 2020 Organizing Committee (OC):

  • The OC is calling for submissions of designs to be used for Zimfest 2020 publicity, tee shirts and more.  As mentioned on the new 2020 overview page, the festival theme remains Music Dancing Across Borders. Your artwork could reference this theme, or anything else creatively suggestive of the Zimbabwean Music Festival. Send your submissions to oc{at}zimfest{dot} org.  Creator of the best usable idea sent to us by January 15, 2020 receives $100 and our appreciation!
  • The ZA is searching for new members for the Board of Directors! The best way to help us get the news out to you, the Zimfest community, is to help us increase our numbers to do the work of the Board! See the Board Recruitment page for info and write us a letter today!
  • Don’t forget now is a great time to renew your membership, become a ZA member for 2020 or just donate to the cause! The Holiday Fundraiser page tells you how and why.
  • A reminder from the OC that performer and teacher applications will open January 2, 2020. If there are any offerings you’d like to see in the way of workshops, drop us a line at teachers{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

Enjoy the solstice!

Alex Weeks, ZA Board President
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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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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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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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 2019 Housing and Dining

Greetings Zimfest community,
In an ongoing effort to respond to festival feedback and survey comments, the Zimfest Organizing Committee wishes to share with you some of the arrangements with our 2019 host institution, Western Oregon University. Our contract with WOU Conference Services includes housing in their dorm rooms (Ackerman and Butler Halls this year), dining in Valsetz Hall, the services of maintenance and groundspeople, and the use of various facilities and classrooms across campus. As with many universities, hosting conferences during the summer months allows WOU to retain their employees on the payroll rear-round. In order to keep the cafeteria open and food service workers employed during the summer, WOU Dining requires conference groups to purchase meals from them. This is the reason why Zimfest and WOU require festival attendees staying on campus to purchase WOU meals. Our relationship with WOU is a mutual one: they support Zimfest (and they have been very supportive of us as a non-profit!) and we,  in turn, support WOU Housing and Dining Services.

  • A number of people complained in 2018 about the lack of flexibility in meal purchasing, so we have negotiated a new set of meal plans. WOU requests that each participant staying in the dorms pre-purchase at least two meals for each night. Those who do not wish to purchase the All-Meal plan (Thursday dinner through Monday breakfast) may select any combination of two meals for each night signed up for in our registration system. For more details, see On-Campus Dining on the website.
  • Another of the problems encountered in 2018 was that tent campers in the football practice field were subjected to flying footballs at 7 a.m.! WOU people have responded with a new location for tent campers: the Hammer Throw area, a shady square next to the football stadium. They promise there will be no hammer-throwers during Zimfest! For details, check On-Campus Housing (scroll down to the middle of the page).
  • By popular request, we will be publishing the workshop schedule before registration opens, so that people registering large groups will be able to plan ahead. Look for that publication within the next 10 days!
  • The OC and Tech committees are still  targeting early May as the opening date for Zimfest 2019 registration.  Woo hoo!

Thanks for reading,
Zimfest 2019 OC

 

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Announcement of Zimbabwean Guests for Zimfest 2019

Greetings, Kwaziwai, Salibonane!
Just a short message to let you know that we have announced this year’s Zimbabwean guest teachers on the 2019 Overview page on the website. Performers are not yet finalized, and as always at this time of the year, visas are pending for Zimbabweans traveling from abroad.

Happy spring!
Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator
On behalf of the 2019 Zimfest Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Sunday Concert Special

Dear Zimfest community,

This message addresses a shared complaint and request from the Zimfest 2018 survey, and our response to it. Be sure to read through to the end!

Several people have expressed the desire to see more Zimbabweans performing on the evening stage at Zimfest. We want you to be aware that there is a legal reason that not all the visiting Zimbabweans can perform at our ticketed concerts. The type of US visa (B-1 business/pleasure) granted to many of the Zimbabweans (and Canadians!) traveling to Zimfest does not allow the visa holder to perform in a concert for which admission is charged. Zimfest cannot include B-1 visa holders on the ticketed evening stage lineups; it would risk the visa status of these visitors, as well as the co-sponsoring status of the Zimfest Association and our host institution (WOU).

Our plan for Zimfest 2019 is to make the Sunday evening concert on August 11, 2019 free admission, by donation only. Like the afternoon concerts at the festival, there will be no restrictions as to who may perform, so we hope to include some of Zimbabweans you’ve been missing (take note, Zimbabwean applicants!). In order to make this work, we need your help as audience members. We cannot afford to lose money on Sunday evening, so we ask that you donate the same amount that tickets cost for the Friday and Saturday ticketed concerts: currently $18 in advance, $20 onsite for adults.

If having a concert “by donation” sounds like the Zimfest workshops that are “by donation,” it is because it is motivated by the same money-earning restrictions on B-1 visa holders. Any instruction or musical demonstration offered by these individuals must be free and open to the public. This is explained in more detail on the website here (see Workshops by Donation). As with the “by donation” workshops, it is our hope that you understand that donating the full amount supports Zimfest’s ability to bring these musicians to the festival. It is disappointing for us to see people donating relatively small amounts for children taking workshops, or American teachers signing up for workshops from Zimbabweans. We appeal to you as a community to help us out on this with your generous donations.

It will be many weeks before we know who will be coming to Zimfest this year, but we wanted to let you know of these plans in advance so that you can make your own plans accordingly. We promise the Sunday evening concert at Zimfest 2019 will be very special – you won’t want to miss out!

Until next time,
Claire Jones
On behalf of the Zimfest 2019 OC and ZA Board of Directors

Zimfest 2019 – Music Dancing Across Borders

 

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Looking to Zimfest 2019

Greetings lovers of the music and people of Zimbabwe!

Wow, what a great festival we had this year. Taking some time off really helped to accentuate all the things that make Zimfest so wonderful: great teachers from around the world, music all day and night, and connections with friends both old and new! Those of you who attended our Village Meeting this year are probably waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not a festival will take place in 2019. What we can say at this juncture is this: while we are cautiously optimistic about having the festival next year, there are still a few things that need to come together before we can confirm with absolute certainty. We have had an outpouring of support from people all over the country who are interested in helping to organize Zimfest 2019, but we still need a few more. We are specifically looking for people to populate our organizing committee, a job that requires meeting by Skype every couple of weeks starting in mid December, usually with tasks to carry out in between meetings. We also need support personnel who don’t have to meet with the Organizing Committee and whose tasks would vary in duration. In other words, there are a number of crucial jobs to fill with varying levels of commitment, so please consider helping out in whatever way you can.  In the meantime, we hope you all sit tight and stay tuned. And don’t forget, it’s not too late to get involved. If you have any interest in helping out, please contact the board by writing board{at}zimfest{dot}org!

Hope to see all of you sooner than later,

—Your Friends on the Zimfest Board

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