Zimfest News Blog

Festival Updates

Dear Zimfest community,

We are saddened and disappointed to announce that Innocent Musafare Mutero has been denied his visa in South Africa and will be unable to join us for Zimfest 2023. The Teachers and Workshops Team is working flat out to find teachers to take over his workshops and we will let you know when we confirm the revisions to the workshop schedule.

Some festival tips:

  • The weather forecast for Corvallis next weekend is above 90 degrees F. for the duration of the festival! Bring fans for your rooms and stay hydrated! We are no longer providing water to concert performers (trying to avoid plastic water bottles), so bring your own water containers.  To help you out, we will be selling iced fizzy water, probably La Croix, at the Zimfest booth during marketplace hours.
  • Sales for Zimfest tees and this year’s special product, lightweight hoodies, at this year’s Zimfest Booth will again be cash and check only – no added fees! – as we evaluate cashless payment options for future. Bring your cash! If you forget, there are ATMs nearby, in McNary Dining Center as well as the Memorial Union, site of several Zimfest workshop rooms.
  • We are getting attention in Corvallis newspapers, noting the the return of Zimfest to OSU! Enjoy this online version of a story in the Gazette-Times.

Stay cool!

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest Updates – 10 Days and Counting!

News from the OC and our OSU hosts:

  • OSU University Housing and Dining (UHDS) has added to their housing check-in times in the McNary Hall Main Lounge to better accommodate Zimfest participants’ arrival times. Their housing check-in (and check-out) hours on Thursday Aug 3 through Sunday Aug 6 will be the same as Zimfest registration hours, spelled out in the Festival Schedule and On-campus Housing pages. Housing check-in for staff and early arrivals on Wednesday Aug 2 remains the same, as does the 9-11 AM final check-out time on Monday August 7.
  • UHDS has agreed to keep the South Entrance of McNary Hall unlocked during the hours that housing check-in and Zimfest registration are open. Enter through this door (see below) if you have not yet checked in or if you are staying elsewhere and commuting.

McNary Hall First Floor

  • All Zimfest participants should visit the Zimfest registration area in McNary Hall whether or not you signed up for housing in the dorm, to pick up your meal plan cards and pre-paid single meal cards. We will also be giving out the Festival handout and map showing the workshop locations and festival schedules.
  • Meal times in McNary Dining Center have increased to two hours apiece: Breakfast 7-9 AM; Lunch 11:00 AM – 1 PM: and Dinner 5:00–7:00 PM. See On-Campus Dining for more info.
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Zimfest Deadlines and Check-ins

Hi Zimfest-goers,

Some deadline dates and pointers as festival time approaches:

  • July 18 – Tuesday – is the last day to register for housing (including RV permits) and meals. Click the links for info on on-campus housing and meals.
  • July 18 is also the last date for vendor applications. Be aware that there is a fee for late applications, and we cannot guarantee that latecomers will be provided with tables or chairs as we are renting them from a third party this year.
  • On July 23, workshops with less than minimum enrollment will be canceled. (The minimum is two for mbira workshops; three for all others.) If you have a credit for a previously-canceled workshop, or just haven’t gotten around to deciding what to sign up for, check the workshop list. Support your favorite teacher by signing up for a low enrollment workshop before the 23rd and keep it from being canceled!
  • July 25 – Online workshop registration and volunteer signups close at 11 PM. No changes until August 3rd onsite at the festival.
  • Housing check-in at McNary Hall: Please note the times listed for checking-in for dorm rooms. Zimfest staff is aware that it is difficult for people taking public transit to time their arrival during these windows of time. If you cannot make it during the listed times, UHDS is insistent that you phone this staff on-call duty phone  541-243-2617 when you arrive. I am sorry to have written on the website that other arrangements could be made, but we will continue to try to work with them.

A final tip for renters of dorm rooms – bring a fan!

Claire and the OC

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Festival Updates

Zimfest community,

We are disappointed to announce that Moyo Mutamba has had to cancel his participation in Zimfest 2023 due to personal reasons. We have been able to find excellent replacement teachers for all but one of his workshops, spelled out in the Workshop Changes page on the website. You may also wish to check for adjustments to the Friday and Sunday concert schedules to make up for the loss of Moyo and Friends mbira. 

Festival Hints

As the festival is a mere three weeks away, start preparing now! Those of you who are driving and plan on parking on campus, be advised that permits are mandatory for on-campus parking from 7 AM – 5 PM, Monday to Friday, but free on the weekend. Advance online purchase of a visitor permit is recommended, and there is information on how to go about it on the Parking page. If you check the Zimfest map, it looks like the parking lot on Jefferson way between the dorm and the outdoor stage would be most convenient, but it is not! That is a small lot, loading and unloading for the stage and marketplace will take place from reserved parking sites there, and it is more expensive! We recommend you park in the (cheaper) Zone B parking lots south of McNary Hall and Dining Center. 

See you soon,

Claire and the 2023 Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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June Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the June 11 meeting of the Zimfest Association Board of Directors have been posted.

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To Our Zimfest Volunteers

We L-O-V-E our volunteers!

L-ive the life of a helper
O-pen your heart as you share the work
V-olunteer to show you care
E-veryone can do it!

Thanks to all who have signed up to volunteer. For those who haven’t yet, we need your helping hands! The Volunteer Coordinators are still looking for folks who can join in the “many hands make light work” idea for Zimfest 2023. In case you didn’t know, Zimfest is run by volunteers and in order to keep the festival going and have it be a success, we could use your help. You choose when and how much you want to be involved and then sign up, either online when you register (until July 30th), or in person at the festival—it’s that easy!

We are still looking for people in these areas:
– General festival set up
– Decorations: Setup and Marketplace
– Volunteer Table and Tent
– Workshop support
– Marketplace setup/takedown
– General festival cleanup and signage takedown

So please join us for the cause and share in the love for this festival.

~Ev Keller
Zimfest 2023 Volunteer Co-Coordinator

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Pre-Festival Events in Corvallis

We want to let you know that there will some Zimfest-sponsored outreach events in Corvallis before the festival starts in earnest Aug. 3. These are now appearing on the Festival Events page:

  • Sunday, July 30, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tashinga Marimba, an Ancient Ways ensemble, will be playing at Common Fields. Entrance is free and family friendly; donations greatly appreciated. Tell all your friends in the Corvallis area!

  • Wednesday, August 2, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Zivanai Masango (and probably some friends) will be playing at the Old World Deli. No cover charge, but tips welcome! If you plan to come early for the festival, here’s a treat for you!

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Zimfest Update and Afropop Shoutout

Greetings All,

  • We are overjoyed to see the popularity of drumming workshops this year! Sheree Seretse’s session 3 beginning drum class is full with 15 people, but if you would like to join and can bring a drum, please write to her at anzanga[at]aol[dot]com for permission to register. Please note also that she has a beginning marimba workshop on “Butsu Mutandari” during session 7, which needs enrollees!
  • Afropop’s audio program this week is a story on Zim Dancehall, which started out as an underground subculture and is now the country’s most popular genre. Find links to other Afropop features on Zimbabwean musicians, including the late Oliver Mtukudzi and Ambuya Stella Chiweshe, on the bottom of the page.

Enjoy the summer weather!
Zimfest Organizing Committee

Music Dancing Across Borders

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Zimfest Updates

Greetings Zimfest Community,

We regret to inform you that Gwenyambira Joyce Warikandwa Chihera will not be joining us at Zimfest this year as her visa was denied. We hope to see her in a future year. Please see the Workshop Changes webpage for adjustments to the schedule to accommodate her absence.

The ZA Board has revised the COVID safety policy, to recommend (but not require) masking in indoor public spaces at the festival. Consult Covid Safety at Zimfest 2023 for details.


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May Board Meeting Minutes and Workshop Changes

Minutes from the May 14th meeting of the Zimfest Association Board of Directors have been posted.

Please also note Workshop Changes posted on June 6.

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Zimbabwean Guests

Hello Zimfesters!

At this time we would like to announce the 2023 Zimfest Travel Fellowships grantees. The ZA Board initiated two fellowships in 2019 awarding full travel costs to one veteran Zimfest teacher and one new to the festival. Because of the effect of the pandemic on worldwide travel, 2023 is only the second time we have been able to make these awards. Please welcome our 2023 fellowship winners to Zimfest (and sign up for their workshops!):

Tsungai Tsikirai 

An award-winning singer-songwriter and performing artist from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Ms. Tsikirai has been based in the United Kingdom since 2002. She previously taught (mainly choral music) at Zimfest 2018. Although she has a flare for dance, her greatest passion is singing, with influences ranging from traditional Shona and Ndebele music to contemporary AfroFusion sounds. Enjoy her performances on an electric version of “Nhemamusasa” and  a recent collaboration with Zulu guitarist Maqhinga Hadebe.

There are openings in all four Zimfest 2023 workshops Tsungai will be teaching (enter her name under teachers): Dance Therapy, two singing workshops and an introduction to both chiShona and siNdebele languages, reflecting her heritage. The more people sign up for the choral sessions, the more fun! The Session 7 workshop Yimba/Cula will be the first performance at this year’s Festival Highlights on Sunday Aug 6. In addition, Tsungai is coordinating a special all-Zimbabwean show Sunday night at 9 PM on the evening stage, Celebrate Bulawayo!

Innocent Musafare Mutero

Innocent is a multi-instrumentalist who began his musical career playing marimba at his primary school in Chitungwiza and with CHIPAWO (Children’s Performing Arts Organization of Zimbabwe). He moved to South Africa in 2008 to play in professional marimba bands there and later began teaching music in Johannesburg. He is on demand as a teacher in a number of Joburg schools, and has also been invited to play keyboards with Thomas Mapfumo as a member of the Blacks Unlimited in tours to South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe from 2015 on. 

With an impressively large and varied repertoire, Innocent is teaching several marimba workshops at Zimfest 2023. While one of them has filled up, there are plenty of openings in the others at this time. He would especially like more players for “Varipiko Amai,” a Thomas Mapfumo number, and “Fairytale,” his arrangement of a South African house track. He will be performing with Totem Marimba bandmate Michael in the Marimba All-Stars, Friday evening at 9:35 PM. Enjoy Innocent and Mike jamming together on marimba.

Ride Board

We have now published the Ride Board on the Zimfest website to facilitate carpooling. Zimbabweans (and others) are starting to purchase plane tickets and will be requesting our assistance getting from the nearest airports to OSU in Corvallis.

Two months until Zimfest 2023!
Zimfest Coordinator and Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Registration Update

Dear Zimfest community, some updates for you:

  • Registration for Zimfest workshops is going briskly, and a number of workshops have filled up. The Teachers and Workshops team will be taking a look next week to adjust and possibly add to the schedule of offerings.
  • On the other hand, all performers and teachers have been sent their official letters of acceptance and contract agreements, yet very few have been signed and returned. If you are a teacher or band contact person, please check your spam and junk folders for these important notices from Zimfest and respond asap!
  • For those who are asking whether workshop groups may go outside (rather than stay inside with masks on), we have now received confirmation that there is adequate space outside Community Hall, so singing classes in that building may go outside if the teacher and students wish. Mbira workshop groups may go outside as well, and hosho classes will meet at registration and then go outside.
  • We are happy to report that all our invited Zimbabwean guests resident in Zimbabwe now have their appointments for visa interviews, which has been a major hurdle this year. Send good vibes (play mbira for them!) so that they all get approved!
  • We have a need for a job that does not appear in the volunteer signup list. If you are experienced in desktop publishing or page layout and are available in July to help put together the Festival Handout (sorry, no Festival Guide this year), please contact claire{at}zimfest{dot}org.
  • The Volunteer Coordinators have been pleased to see a steady flow of people signing up for volunteer tasks–keep ’em coming as there are still many jobs to be filled. 

Many thanks, enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend!
Claire and the 2023 OC


  Music Dancing Across Borders

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