Festival Events

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).

Prefest

Thursday, August 8, 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 at The Grove

The Opening Ceremony, led by Zimbabwean guests, will be followed by a free performance featuring one of Zimfest’s top bands, Vawachi II!

Open Marimba Jam Time

Friday and Saturday, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Winters MNB 108

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.

Read the Marimba Jam Rules of Engagement (click to expand)

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 11, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., The Summit (WUC Room 216)

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.

Festival Highlights and Gumboot Flash Mob!

Sunday, 4:10 – 5:00 p.m., Outdoor Stage at The Grove

The Festival Highlights shows have been so popular at previous Zimfests that we have been requested to stage them when there are no workshops happening at the same time. This year, the final workshop session ends at 3:00 on Sunday, and we encourage everyone to come to the outdoor stage at the Grove (after you finish helping to clear out workshop rooms!).

The workshop groups scheduled to take part in the Festival Highlights and Gumboot Flash Mob are shown below. We are encouraging attendees to sign up for the highlighted workshops and, if you are available, to show up 15 minutes before the listed performance time. (But don’t worry, we’d love to have you take these workshops whether or not you perform!)

  • Novice Marimba: Kwira muNgoro with Mike Sibanda (Session 7), performing 4:10 – 4:20 p.m.
  • All Singing: Goto Rine Hwema (Choral) with Tafadzwa Matiure (Session 3), performing 4:25 – 4:35 p.m.
  • Beginner Dance: Gumboot Dance: Moves of Resistance with Lucky Moyo (Session 2), performing 4:40 – 5:00 p.m.

Gumboot Flash Mob 4:40 – 5:00 p.m. at The Grove

Read more at What’s New This Year

Late Night Gatherings

Late Night Thursday through Sunday, Sequoia Commons

Late Night Gatherings will start after the evening concerts and continue until the wee hours of the morning. These parties will be held in Sequoia Commons. This free-standing building is across Stadium Drive apart from any dorms, so we will not be disturbing any light sleepers!

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.

Music Dancing Across Borders