Zimfest is much more than workshops and concerts! There are many other festival events to partake in, listed here. And they are all FREE! (except Prefest workshops).
Thursday, July 30, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Some school and performing groups start their festival learning early by scheduling group or private lessons with their favorite teachers on Thursday before Zimfest starts. For information on Prefest and scheduling private sessions, see the Information for Teachers page.
Opening Ceremony and Free Concert
Thursday Evening, 7:30 – 9:15 p.m., Outdoor Stage
The Opening Ceremony, led by Zimbabwean guests, will be followed by a free performance featuring one of Zimfest’s top bands!
Open Marimba Jam Time
Friday and Saturday, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Location tbd
The Marimba Jam room is back this year! Now that Zimfest has the permanent use of several sets (thank you Margie Smith and Paul Hayes!) we feel we can offer time on the Zimfest instruments. Because the Zimfest schedule is so packed with activities, the only time we could find that doesn’t conflict with workshops, performances or other activities is during dinnertime!
These times are open to all participants at any level, and you can drop in for any length of time that you want. An experienced marimba player will be present to act as a facilitator. We ask you to respect one another and respect the instruments.
Marimba Jam Rules of Engagement
Respect the Instruments
Respect Each Other
- Decide as a group what to play
- Make sure everyone who wants to play gets a chance
- Give suggestions, not criticism
- Ask before you photo or record
Remember, we’re a community
And have fun!
Community Time / Village Meeting
Sunday, August 2, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Location tbd
The Zimfest Association has set aside time on Sunday morning, August 11 for all of us to gather and consider together topics that are vital to our community. We refer to this time as the Zimfest Village Meeting. The Zimfest 2019 Organizing Committee and Zimfest Association Board of Directors cordially invite all Zimfest participants to join us for this meeting.
The Village Meeting will include opportunities for cultural exchange and involve a panel of Zimbabwean guests. We invite all Zimbabweans in attendance at the festival to join our panel of guests, whether or not you are teaching or performing. This is also the time for the annual public Zimfest Association (ZA) business meeting, which will include a discussion about future Zimfest plans, a report on the membership organization, and a discussion on ZA Board initiatives. We look forward to feedback from festival participants on all topics. If you are interested in joining the fun and excitement of helping to organize an annual Zimfest or taking part in ZA Board policy-making, please contact the Board at for more information.
Late Night Gatherings
Late Night Thursday through Sunday, Location tbd
Late Night Gatherings will start after the evening concerts and continue until the wee hours of the morning.
Late night mbira parties have taken place since the first Zimfest, and are an opportunity for Zimbabweans and other experienced musicians to share a rich tradition with the rest of us. Spontaneous outbursts of Zimbabwean call-and-response singing (who can forget Jimu Makurumbandi’s song leading in 2014?) and jamming with Zivanai’s electric guitar have expanded the realm of musical possibilities so that the gatherings are no longer limited to just mbira, hosho, singing and dancing. In past years, concerns have been raised about the gatherings as we realized that not everyone had the same understanding and expectations. Below are some of the ideas that have been put forth about how best to maintain the tradition and uphold the intended spirit of the event.
Thank you so much for your support and mutual respect in making this year’s mbira and jamming gatherings rich and fulfilling for all!
Late Night Mbira and Jamming Thoughts
The late night gathering is a time to watch, to listen and to dance, as the more accomplished musicians share their ancient and modern traditions with us. We ask that you not use this time for experimenting with newly learned songs or hosho patterns, and we encourage groups of beginners and intermediate players to gather and play in nearby locations.
We would love for drummers to find a different time and place for jamming – unless you are only one or two experienced drummers accompanying other activities.
Leave marimba jamming to the Open Marimba Jam times – see above.
A host will be designated for each night’s gathering to help the party run smoothly. If several people would like to change to a different instrument or activity (e.g. from mbira to singing), the host can help facilitate the change if needed.
This is a ceremonial time. Above all else, please be respectful.
As a reminder we encourage you to bring food, snacks and beverages to share, but please remember: no containers of alcohol are allowed in the lounge.