Zimfest News Blog

Zimfest Volunteers – We Need You

Posted on behalf of Ev Keller, Volunteers Coordinator:

Zimfest is: 
Z-imbabwean culture and music learning/listening opportunities
I-n a welcoming and supportive setting
M-aking meaningful and memorable moments
F-un for families, friends, fellow music lovers
E-veryone volunteers!! 
S-haring the good vibes
T-ogether crossing borders and taking flight in the experience
Please, take a moment to check out the (many) volunteer opportunities where you can lend a hand to help make light work for all. The sign-up link is here. We need YOU to make this a successful festival. Thank you for joining us – we appreciate you! ~Ev

And some alerts from Webmaster Larry Israel:

  • The Zimfest Ride Board has now been published – set up your ride sharing to and from the festival
  • Explore the evening and afternoon concert schedules for recent changes
  • And Festival Updates for workshop changes and additions

Till next time,
Zimfest 2022 OC

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Zimfest Mask Policy

Dear Zimfest Community,

I’m writing to announce that the Zimfest Association Board, based on work by the Covid safety committee, recently adopted a masking policy for Zimfest.  This policy applies to indoor spaces at the Skagit County Fairgrounds, as well as a nearby senior center where some events are held:

We expect all Zimfest participants to mask at all times while indoors at the Festival.  Currently, western Washington is experiencing a second increase of Omicron Covid infections. The highly infectious Omicron Covid variants have demonstrated an ability to evade immunity from vaccines, previous infections, or both. Consequently, we are asking for masking at all times when indoors at Zimfest, using N95, KN95 or surgical masks. Zimfest will have surgical masks available. Teachers may require that all participants in their workshops wear masks. We ask this with consideration, allowing us to include as many at-risk members as possible, and holding the best of intentions for a healthy gathering of our Zimfest community. We will depend on each other to uphold this safety standard, and encourage participants to speak up with reminders or requests for indoor masking.

“Zimfest participants” in this context includes: teachers, performers, workshop participants, indoor volunteers, vendors and workers contracted by Zimfest.

Please plan to bring your favorite style of N95, KN95, or surgical masks with you to the festival. Further details on Covid safety can be found on the Zimfest website.


Alex Weeks
President, Zimfest Association

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Zimfest News and Reminders

Hello all,

As the COVID omicron variants cause new peaks in infections, your Zimfest Organizing Committee is crossing its collective fingers and continuing to work towards a hopeful and safe gathering in Mount Vernon WA June 24-26. Some news and reminders:

  • Beginning today, May 15th, dorm rooms at Skagit College’s Campus View Village can be reserved via Zimfest registration. Hint: if you have already registered for workshops and are in the system, it will be easier to go to the Registration Manager to make the change to your registration. If you are unsure how, see directions on How to Register.
  • We are very sorry to report that we have been unable to line up any food vendors or food trucks for the Fairgrounds and thus there will be no food on-site. We have consulted with local residents and determined that many have gone out of business during the pandemic while others committed to prime locations months ago. Check out our webpage on Dining Options in Mount Vernon. Everyone’s favorite: Skagit Valley Food Co-op for their deli and orders-to-go.
  • Attention all non-food vendors for the African Marketplace: submit your application by May 28 in order to avoid a late fee. Info and application here.
  • Registration is going well, with many signups on the first three members-only days and a steady flow of signups in the last two weeks. Several classes are already full.
  • We would love to see more people registering for the cultural presentations (half-price!), perhaps the most important topics to be addressed at the festival. Click here for Workshop Details, and search on Presentation or Other.
  • Highly recommended by the OC: “Non-Zimbabweans playing Zimbabwean Music: A Discussion of Colonialism, Racism and Responsibility” facilitated by Kelly Takunda-Orphan on Sunday at 9:30 AM. It is so important that we keep these conversations going!

Continue to keep each other safe!
Claire Jones, Zimfest Coordinator

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April Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the April 10th meeting of the Zimfest Association board of directors have been posted.

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Zimfest Registration and Notifications

Greetings all,

Happy (belated) Mother’s Day! The OC is happy to report that Zimfest registrations are going well. Signups for workshops (especially marimba classes) were quite brisk for the first three days in which members only were allowed to register. At this point we are seeing steady interest in workshops of most types. Some changes to report:

  • We will be adding the Campus View Village rooms to registration on May 15, as Skagit College personnel have promised to provide us notification before then of exactly how many suites will be available to us. Information on these 4-room suites is here.
  • We have added a second iteration of a marimba workshop by Daniel Lockley, in order to give participants more choices during the final session. See: Session 6: Intermediate Marimba Njuzu with Daniel Lockley
  • Check the Festival Updates and Workshop Changes webpage regularly to keep track of festival news, changes and other developments.
  • Acceptance letters and contracts were sent out in April to all accepted teachers and live performing groups. To date very few have signed their contracts, and we are now sending out reminders. Several emails appear to have gone missing or have been filtered out. If you believe you have not received your notification or contract, please check your spam and (for gmail users) Promotions folders before writing to us. Most teachers were also asked to submit background checks, and you may find those notifications have been filtered out as well.

Claire Jones
Festival Coordinator

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Zimfest Registration Open May 1

Happy May Day!

Zimfest Registration is now open for members of the Zimfest Association, and will open for all others on May 4. See the How to Register page for instructions and a button (link) to register on RegFox.  You may wish to take out a membership here if you haven’t done so already.

  • You may register for Zimfest workshops and camping and RVing sites at the Skagit Fairgrounds in RegFox, and purchase concert tickets on the Lincoln Theater website.
  • Registration for the dorm rooms at Skagit College’s Campus View Village will open up in RegFox after mid-May, when College personnel notify us of exactly how many rooms will be available to Zimfest attendees.
  • Volunteer Sign-up is open now – don’t forget to sign up for your shifts after you know your workshop and performance schedules to avoid conflicts! 

Some more useful links:

The Zimfest 2022 OC

Heron taking wing, by Rachel Edson

Take Flight at Zimfest 2022

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Membership Hint

A quickie, folks.

In this first year of using the new membership system, ALL members are considered new, even if you had a membership in the old system. So register as a new member, do not try to renew.

Claire and Daniel

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Zimbabwe Independence Day and More

Greetings Zimfest Community,
Happy Independence Day today April 18th to Zimbabweans everywhere!
Catch Kutandara’s Zimbabwe Independence Festival Concert on Youtube here.

A few notes on Zimfest’s upcoming registration scheduled to open May 1:

  • The Zimfest OC and Webmaster are hard at work setting up registration for Zimfest workshops and accommodations as well as the web pages describing them and giving instructions. Stay tuned to our 2022 page as more information comes online.
  • As announced in late 2021 with the debut of our new membership system, Zimfest Association members will be able to access registration before the general public. Expect registration to open for members on May 1, and registration for all others on May 4. Now is the time to take out a membership if you haven’t done so already!
  • With the Covid pandemic continuing, and omicron variants threatening, the Covid vaccination requirement is remaining in place for the time being for Zimfest “participants” (see the Covid Safety page for details on who is included as a participant). A link to the Covid Vaccination verification form has already been sent to teachers and band contact people, and will appear in the registration form for workshop registrants.  Help our COVID safety committee keep everyone safe by completing the COVID-19 Vaccination Verification form as soon as possible if you are required.

See you soon!
Claire and the hard-working OC

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March Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the March 13th meeting of the Zimfest Association board of directors have been posted.

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Zimfest Accommodations Webpages

Hi all,

We are aware that Zimfesters planning to come to the festival this year (June 24-26, 2022) are wanting to figure out their accommodations, whether camping onsite or lodging elsewhere. We now have relevant info available on the website.

The Zimfest Accommodation web page describes:

  • Camping and RVing on the south end of the Fairgrounds
  • Rentable single rooms in 4-BR apartment suites at the Skagit Valley College, 3.7 miles away. Zimfest has arranged for a block of apartments at the college, mainly for Zimbabwean guests, with a a limited number available to non-campers

You can sign up and pay for either of the above through Zimfest Registration, scheduled to open May 1.

Off-Site Lodging a listing of nearby hotels and motels in Mount Vernon and Burlington, some of which offer discounts of 10-15% off to Fairgrounds users and Zimfest attendees. Also included are some off-site RVing and camping sites.

Dining Options in Mount Vernon – just a few listings to help prepare you for the festival weekend in the lovely Skagit Valley!

Happy Spring!
Zimfest Organizing Committee

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January and February Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the January 9th and February 13th meetings of the Zimfest Association board of directors have been posted.

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Covid Safety at Zimfest 2022, Version 2

In response to questions from the community, here is an updated version of the March 8, 2022 blog post, with additions and clarifications underlined.

As of early March, Covid infections with the Omicron variant have declined to levels not seen since last November. This heartening turn of events helped the Zimfest Association decide to go forward with an in-person festival this year (June 24-26, Mt. Vernon, WA). In response to the decline in cases, the CDC, state, and local public health agencies have started phasing out masking requirements; in Washington state, mask mandates end on March 12. Healthcare providers, businesses, event organizers, etc., can still choose to require masks in the interests of health and safety.

Vaccination is the best tool for preventing the spread of Covid and protecting each other while we gather in person. As announced previously, all Zimfest participants 5 years of age and older are required to be fully vaccinated. “Participants” include Zimfest teachers, performers, workshop participants, volunteers, food/drink and merchandise vendors, and workers contracted by Zimfest. The Skagit County Fairgrounds will be open to the public, without any vaccination requirements per local health regulations. The public, and individuals accompanying participants (e.g., non-participant family members), will have no access to indoor spaces except for a bathroom/shower building. The evening concerts are likewise open to the public and the venue has its own vaccination policy (see below).

Presently, full vaccination consists of either (1) both doses of a double-dose vaccine (e.g. Moderna or Pfizer) or (2) one dose of a single-dose vaccine (e.g. Johnson & Johnson). Other vaccines approved by the World Health Organization may also be accepted. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of vaccine. Boosters are not required to attend Zimfest.

Proof of full vaccination, including an image of an official vaccination record, will be submitted via an online form. You’ll be directed to this form when you receive notification of acceptance to Zimfest (e.g., teacher applicants) or when you register. Proof of vaccination will be due when online registration closes. Participants will then be issued a special wristband that provides access to indoor spaces at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. Lincoln Theatre, the venue for evening concerts, will carry out their own verification of full vaccination at the door (check requirements here), independent of Zimfest’s vaccine verification. Neither Zimfest nor the Lincoln Theatre will accept Covid test results in lieu of full vaccination.

Of course, all of the above is subject to the Covid situation in June. We continue to closely monitor Covid case rates and official health regulations regarding vaccination (e.g., boosters, minimum vaccine-eligible age), masks and other safety precautions. We’ll announce the mask policy for Zimfest indoor spaces closer to the festival.

We will launch a Covid Safety page on the Zimfest website soon, containing all the details.

Please address any questions to covid_safety (at) zimfest(dot)org.

Stay well, and we look forward to seeing you in June!

Janis C. Weeks
Zimfest Association Board member
Chair, Zimfest Covid Safety Committee

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