Zimfest News Blog

Posts Tagged "Zimfest organizing committee"

ZA Call for Interest in Hosting 2018 Zimfest

Dear Zimfest Community,

As you may know, The Zimfest Association Board decided earlier this year to not hold Zimfest in 2017, to allow us to focus on the long-term success and sustainability of the festival. At the same time, we’re looking forward to Zimfest 2018!

Current options include returning to Western Oregon University (which would require less planning effort than a new site) or identifying a community that can commit to organizing and hosting the festival at some other location. However, because of the lead time required to book facilities, we would like to identify the 2018 festival site and dates by the end of January, 2017. With 2018 taken care of, the Board will continue working on how best to select and rotate among festival venues after 2018.

Thus, we extend a call to all communities to consider organizing and hosting Zimfest 2018. The community will have festival coordination support from the Zimfest board and additional festival volunteers. Information—including pros, cons and/or deal-breakers—on a number of potential venues has been collected over the years here: https://zimfest.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Potential-Zimfest-Venues-2016-12.pdf

Should you be interested in organizing and hosting Zimfest 2018, we’d love to hear from you via gro.t1505867126sefmi1505867126z@dra1505867126ob1505867126 by January 8, 2017. Individuals or communities that express interest will be contacted by the Board for further discussion. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions as well.

With all best wishes,

The Zimfest Association Board of Directors
Rujeko Dumbutshena
Jacqueline Fallon
Chris Halaksa
Tapiwa Kapurura
Claire Jones
Daniel Lockley
Dana Moffett
Evelyn Mukwedeya
David Simon
Alex Weeks
Janis Weeks

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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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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.t1505867126sefmi1505867126z@dra1505867126ob1505867126 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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Zimfest Online Applications Are Open

Dear Zimfest Community,

Applications are now open for Zimfest 2016. All performer and teacher applications are available online at https://apply.zimfest.org. As introduced last year, you will need a Google account (gmail will work) in order to log in. The deadline for submitting applications is March 12, 2016; don’t delay!

Each year we seek to offer a balanced number of workshops, including singing, dancing, drumming and the instruments performed in traditional and modern Zimbabwean music. This year’s emphasis is on Cultural Presentations. We encourage you (especially Zimbabwean instructors!) to propose workshops on a variety of cultural topics of interest to American students and fans of Zimbabwean music. Personal discussions of your own experiences in the music and growing up are welcome! Students: please take note that these presentations are half-price! Teachers: please take note that the Zimfest Association Board has approved an increase in pay rate (to $70 per teaching hour) for teachers of workshops with 20 or more participants. We would love to see Presentation topics that attract large groups!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 2016 Zimbabwean Music Festival, August 11-14 at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR. Please remember that the festival needs your volunteer help! If you are interested in volunteering, please write volunteers {at} zimfest (dot) org.

Best regards on behalf of the 2016 Organizing Committee,

Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest Requests Your Help

Dear Zimfest Enthusiasts:

We hope that you are doing well and wish you the best for the coming year! We are looking forward to seeing many of you once again at WOU in Monmouth, Oregon for this year’s Zimfest – August 11th-14th.

We are writing at this time on a matter of great importance to the Zimfest Community. As you know, Zimfest depends on volunteers for its survival. The board is comprised entirely of volunteers. The work at the festival is done by volunteers. And perhaps most importantly – each year a dedicated group of volunteers forms the organizing committee for the upcoming festival. We are fortunate to have a paid festival coordinator in Claire Jones. However, as has been noted previously, the amount of work that Claire does compared to the amount that she is compensated really amounts to her volunteering a fair bit of her time as well.

Each year, it has become progressively more difficult to recruit an organizing committee. As a board, we have taken steps to reduce the burden on the organizing committee (e.g., having Claire provide continuity as coordinator from year to year; repeating the festival at the same location to avoid re-inventing the way we do things). Nevertheless, the inability to recruit an organizing committee is a bad sign for the Zimfest Association. If we as a community cannot address this problem, the board may be forced to consider additional steps to reduce the burden on the organizers such as holding the festival every other year.

We recognize that many of you are very busy. It’s a sign of the times. Nevertheless, if Zimfest is something that’s important to you, we ask that you dig deep and find time to join this year’s organizing committee. The 2016 Zimfest Organizing Committee currently includes:

Claire Jones – Festival Coordinator
Alex Weeks – Online registration and website
Jake Roberts – Registration payment system; Onsite Registration lead
Michael Beardsworth – Concert Producer; Evening concert management
Marilyn Mohr – Zimbabwean Guest Coordinator
Carla Starck – Volunteer Coordinator

The leadership roles that are still open include:
Concert Programmer
Workshops and Teachers Coordinator
Marketplace coordinator

In addition, participants are needed to help out more generally. If full responsibility for any of these roles sounds overwhelming, it is certainly possible to share the job with another person. If you have questions about what’s involved, how the organizing committee operates, how much time it is likely to take, we encourage you to email Claire for more information (claire.jns1 {at} gmail (dot) com).

We hope that several weeks from now, we can report back with good news that we have a fully staffed organizing committee. In the event that we continue to struggle with recruitment, we will need to consider other alternatives and begin asking more challenging questions regarding the sustainability of the current Zimfest operating model.

We look forward to hearing from many of you!

—The Zimfest Board

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Zimfest – It Takes a Village

Hello Zimfest folks,

The Zimfest Association Board and I recently made the announcement that the 2016 Zimbabwean Music Festival will be held at Western Oregon University in Monmouth OR, August 11-14, 2016. I am happy to say that the Tech Committee has already started meeting in preparation for the next festival, and we are targeting mid-January for online applications to open on the festival website at https://zimfest.org. There is much to do before that date, and I am actively recruiting team members to work on the Zimfest Organizing Committee. It really does take a village—we are in desperate need of people who can give up some time to make the next Zimfest a great one! Helping out with the annual Zimfest gathering is a great way to give back for all the joy and enrichment you have experienced through this wonderful music.

What You Can Do to Help

If you have the time and commitment, volunteer for the core organizing committee (OC), members of which meet regularly via skype and take responsibility for major areas of the festival. We still need people to work on the following: Teacher and Workshop Scheduling; Concert planning and Performer Liaison; Zimbabwean Guest Coordinator; and Marketplace Coordination. Some jobs take a fair amount of time leading up to and at the festival, but do not require you to meet regularly with the OC: Instrument Procurer and Coordinator; T-shirt production and sales; Registration (non-tech) lead.

If you have small chunks of time, there are many other tasks that you can do before (as well as at) the festival: publicity and marketing; website content proofing and updating; festival guide proofreading; coordinating Portland shuttles and airport pickups/drop-offs.

If you are a group that would like to work on a project together there are several opportunities: work party to put together registration packets; festival decorations; festival signage; festival site cleanup crew.

Please let us know if and how you can help: e-mail: gro.t1505867126sefmi1505867126z@sre1505867126etnul1505867126ov1505867126 or gro.t1505867126sefmi1505867126z@eri1505867126alc1505867126, or phone me at 206-328-4011.

Happy Turkey Day,

Claire Jones
Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest 2016 Announcement

Dear Zimfest Community,

The Zimfest Board and I are pleased to announce the dates and location for next year’s festival. Zimfest 2016 will return to the campus of Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR. The dates of the festival will be August 11-14, 2016.

The feedback we have received from Zimfest 2015 participants has been positive about this site, and we look forward to focusing our collective energies on improving the festival rather than starting over in a new location. As 2015 participants are aware, the town of Monmouth is in the heart of the beautiful Willamette Valley, wine country, with easy access to the Oregon coast.

I am recruiting volunteers now to form an organizing committee! If you would like to be involved in planning and organizing Zimfest 2016 in any way, shape or form, please e-mail me: claire-at-zimfest-dot-org. Feel free to ask about opportunities large and small to help out before and/or during the festival.

Best regards,

Claire Jones
Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest 2015 Teacher and Performer Applications

Dear Zimfest Community,

It’s time to submit your Zimfest 2015 applications online! Teacher and performer applications are available now at https://2015.zimfest.org. The due date for applications is March 15, 2015.

Please be advised that we are using Google accounts for login this year; When you log in, you will be prompted to sign in using a Google account, and we recommend that you use a Gmail account if you already have one.  Alternatively, you may register a Google account for an email address of your choice (including third-party providers such as Yahoo) by following these directions: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2015 Zimbabwean Music Festival August 13-16th at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR. The theme for this year’s festival is “Enduring Rhythms ~ Gathering in Harmony.”

If you are artistically inclined, there is still time to submit designs and artwork to be used on Zimfest promotional material. For more info, see our previous blog post Zimfest 2015 Theme and Call for Artwork Submissions.

Please remember that the festival needs your volunteer help! If you are interested in volunteering, please write gro.t1505867126sefmi1505867126z@sre1505867126etnul1505867126ov1505867126

Best regards on behalf of the 2015 Organizing Committee,
Claire Jones
2015 Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimfest Annual Fundraising Campaign & Membership Drive

Dear Zimfest Association Friends and Members:

We hope that you are all doing well and have already marked your calendars for August 13-16th, 2015 for the next Zimbabwean Music Festival which will be held at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Our festival coordinator, Claire Jones, is in the process of recruiting an organizing committee. Please reach out to her at moc.l1505867126iamg@15058671261snj.1505867126erial1505867126c1505867126 if you are able to help.

In addition, the board is recruiting new members and officers–and particularly looking for one or more individuals with financial skills. Please contact us to learn more at gro.t1505867126sefmi1505867126z@dra1505867126ob1505867126. We also encourage you to review recent board activities on the Zimfest blog.

This is the second year of our Annual Campaign and Membership Drive. As noted last year, no organization can survive without financial support, and the Zimfest Association is no different. While the annual festivals provide some income to the Association, these funds are unpredictable and are insufficient to sustain and grow the Association. For example, in 2014 the festival did not turn a profit and lost roughly $2500. For this reason, the Association was not able to make charitable donations to other organizations which support Zimbabwe.

Become a Member of the Zimfest Association

Beginning last year, we changed the way membership to the Zimfest Association is handled. The term of membership now runs for a full calendar year from January 1st until December 31st. Our goal is to have all recurring Zimfest participants be members of the organization. The minimal fee of $25 will allow a Regular member to attend the festival without paying a registration fee of $12. In addition to Regular memberships, Family, Couple, Teacher and Lifetime memberships are also available. Members may choose to have their names published on the website and in the Festival Guide. Please refer to the Membership page to renew or initiate a membership. It is our hope that a healthy dialogue about the festival and association can emerge from a membership that feels a sense of ownership in the Zimfest Association.

Provide Charitable Donations to the Zimfest Association

While fees from membership are a great start, our long term financial stability will take more money than membership fees alone can raise. For this reason, we are also soliciting tax-deductible donations to the Zimfest Association. Over the past year, we raised nearly $10,000 in donations which have proven invaluable to ensure our financial health. Please consider a donation to help the Association continue its efforts to put on the best Zimbabwean music festival in North America. Your contributions really do make a difference! If your company supports matching donations, please don’t forget to complete the paperwork which would allow your company to match your contribution–often dollar for dollar.

We hope that you will seriously consider becoming a member of the Zimfest Association for the 2015 calendar year, as well as making or enabling a charitable contribution. If each Zimfest member can find a willing donor within your extended network we will be well on our way towards sustainability! Your contributions are tax-deductible either in the 2014 or 2015 tax year, depending on when you make your payment. Please visit our Membership and Donation page on our website for instructions on how to make a contribution.

Finally, we’d like to remind you of two ways that you can donate to Zimfest on a ongoing basis.  First, when shopping on Amazon you can support Zimfest by choosing Zimfest Association as the organization you would like to receive 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases (see blog post Support Zimfest When You Shop at Amazon.com). Also, for anyone who sells items on EBay, you can choose to donate a percentage of the final sales price to the Zimfest Association. See http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/my-causes for more information.

Thanks for all that you do to make Zimfest a success.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season…
—The Zimfest Association Board

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Announcing Zimfest 2015 Location and Dates

Dear Zimfest Community,

The Zimfest Board and I are pleased to announce the dates and location for next year’s festival. Zimfest 2015 will be held August 13-16, 2015 at Western Oregon University. WOU is a campus of about 6,000 located in Monmouth, OR, 20 minutes west of the capital, Salem. We are happy to return the festival to Oregon, in a location that is nearly equidistant from Portland and Eugene—an easy 75 minute drive from either city. Monmouth is in the heart of the beautiful Willamette Valley, wine country, with easy access to the Oregon coast.

The Grove at WOU, Potential Zimfest Marketplace Site

The Grove at WOU, Potential Zimfest Marketplace Site

We realize that we are somewhat late in announcing these dates to you, and want to let you know that we have been researching potential Zimfest sites not only for 2015 but for future festivals as well. It has become more and more difficult to find the facilities we require for a full festival at affordable rates and desirable dates. For this reason the need to settle on one or more semi-permanent sites has become more urgent. We are hoping Western Oregon University might work for our community as a home. As always, we ask for your feedback.

I am also late to form an organizing committee! If you would like to be involved in planning and organizing Zimfest 2015 in any way or form, please e-mail me: claire-at-zimfest-dot-org.

Best regards,
Claire Jones
Zimfest Coordinator

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Zimbabwean Guests and Vendor Information for Zimfest 2014

The performer and teacher application deadline was February 28, and this year we received a record number of applications from Zimbabweans. With the help of donations pledged by many of you in the Zimfest community, we will be able to host most, but regretfully not all, of the applicants at Zimfest 2014. You should know that the time period following the application deadline is an extremely busy one for the Organizing Committee, and we are hard at work finalizing invitations and acceptances and working out schedules.

We are thrilled to welcome to Zimfest for the first time (pending visa approvals): dancer Caroline Mangwiro from Bulawayo and marimba specialist Patience Musandirire, who is currently teaching in Botswana. Some of our returning Zimbabwean friends who will be attending this year (also pending visa approvals) are: Cosmas Magaya, Musekiwa Chingodza and Sheasby Matiure, all coming from Zimbabwe; Lucky Moyo, England; Nhapitapi Mbira, Toronto; Julia Chigamba and Chinyakare, Oakland; and Loveness Wesa from Portland. We hope to be able to announce more exciting news about this year’s lineup in the very near future. For further details, see the Zimfest 2014 web site.

Also, Zimfest 2014 marketplace vendor information and applications are now available. We anticipate a variety of vendors selling marimbas, mbiras, hosho, CDs, clothing, accessories and art. Crafts sold at the Marketplace should be of Zimbabwean or related African origin, and in keeping with the spirit and intent of Zimfest.

—Zimfest 2014 Organizing Committee

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