Zimfest News Blog

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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March Update on Covid Safety at Zimfest 2022

Dear Zimfest Community,

We’re thrilled that 2022 Zimfest will be held in person on June 24-26 in Mt. Vernon, WA (see Claire’s post below). I visited the Skagit County Fairgrounds and Lincoln Theatre during a scouting trip last fall; it will be a fun new venue with ample tent and RV camping onsite and other attractions. Please, please volunteer to help with the many things that need doing both pre-festival and onsite. Drop a line to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org to be matched with the volunteer job of your dreams!

One of the top concerns—if not the VERY TOP concern—in thinking about a virtual vs. in-person Zimfest for 2022 was the Covid situation, in both Washington state and more broadly. The Zimfest Covid Safety Committee (ZCSC) was established by the Zimfest Association Board last year and is staffed by Deb Goldman (Seattle), Aimée Nassoiy (Lopez Island, WA) and myself (Eugene, OR), plus ex officio members Claire Jones (Festival Coordinator, Seattle) and Alex Weeks (ZA Board President, Seattle). The committee’s efforts are now focusing on Covid risk reduction at the 2022 festival.

Infections with the Omicron Covid variant have now declined to low levels, a turn of events critically important in deciding to green-light this year’s Zimfest. Of course, the Covid situation may change again before June and the ZCSC will continue to carefully monitor the epidemiological and public health situation. Responding 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 remains the best tool to prevent the spread of Covid and to protect each other while gathering in person. As announced previously, full vaccination of all individuals 5 years of age or older will be required to attend 2022 Zimfest. 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 currently required to attend Zimfest. Feedback from the Zimfest Community on this vaccination policy has been overwhelmingly positive, with many people saying they would not consider attending without this policy in place.

The ZCSC has been working with the Zimfest Tech Committee to develop an online form for submitting proof of vaccination, which will include uploading an image of each individual’s vaccine record. You’ll be directed to this form when you receive notification of acceptance as a teacher or performer, or when you register. Everyone must submit proof of vaccination before online registration closes. After approval of submitted materials by the ZCSC, attendees will 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. We’ll announce the mask policy for Zimfest indoor spaces closer to the festival.

Of course, all of the above is subject to the Covid situation and Washington state regulations in June. Nevertheless, please help manifest a well-attended, safe and joyous Zimfest by marking the dates on your calendar and signing up for workshops when registration opens on May 1. Did you know that Zimfest Association members now get early access to workshop registration? See details on the Membership page.

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

Stay well, and we’ll see you in June!

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

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Zimfest 2022 is On in June

Dear Zimfest community,
After a nail-biting final weekend of teacher and performer applications, we are happy to announce that Zimfest 2022 will take place June 24-26 in Mount Vernon, Washington. Fewer in-person applicants than in non-pandemic years means that we will have a slightly shorter festival, with two days of workshops and afternoon concerts instead of the usual three. Festival activities kick off with a ticketed evening concert at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday evening June 24, with the African Marketplace and daytime activities at the Skagit County Fairgrounds through the weekend. 

  • Offers to volunteer are also fewer in number this year. We still have desperate needs for assistance with our Concerts team and website research. Write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org to offer your help.
  • Vendor applications are now open for Marketplace vendors of musical instruments, art and craft items; food vendors need to be licensed by the state and county and will be handled separately. See the Vendor Information page for links to the application and PayPal for payments. Application deadline for vendors is May 28, 2022. Please direct any questions to marketplace{at}zimfest{dot}org.
  • We have had a robust response to our request for pre-recorded performances, and look forward to scheduling some fabulous hybrid evening concerts at the Lincoln Theatre!

Stay tuned for an update from the Zimfest Covid Safety Committee.

We hope to see you in the beautiful Skagit Valley this summer!
Claire and the Zimfest Organizing Committee

Heron taking wing, by Rachel Edson

 

Take Flight at Zimfest 2022!

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[February 28th] Teacher/performer application deadline approaching!

Dear Zimfest Community,

Teacher and performer applications are due by the end of February, which–as the shortest month of the year–means that only 5 days remain!

In order to hold a successful festival, it is vital that a critical mass of teachers and performers apply, so that we can offer a compelling lineup of workshops and performances.

Please review the information below, and submit your applications by next Monday, February 28th:

  • Live performance information here
  • Pre-recorded performance/presentation information here
  • In-person workshop information here

I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible this June at Zimfest 2022!

Sincerely,

Alex Weeks
Zimfest Board President

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Zimfest in the time of Covid-19: A perspective

Posted on behalf of OC member Mark Swift

I am fairly new to Zimfest, having attended my first festival in 2019.  I am really excited about returning to an in-person event this coming June!  I understand that there is some hesitation about committing to performing and teaching due to uncertainty about health safety in the time of Covid-19.  No one can predict the future, but things are looking up.  I fully understand that everyone’s comfort level is different, and different people have different levels of risk. I just wanted to share my perspective as someone who lives in western Pennsylvania. 

From where I sit, the Pacific Northwest has done a great job dealing with Covid-19.  Our local vaccination rate is only 60%, a full 10% lower than Washington State.  I would estimate only 1 in 10 people bother to wear a mask indoors in public places.  Bars and restaurants are full.  Cases in my county are currently sky high.  And yet, at the college where I work, we have successfully kept the total number of cases down to 1 or 2 per week since students returned to campus in Fall 2020. In 2020-2021 everyone on campus was tested at least once every two weeks and that helped keep the case load low, with a small bump in the post-holiday surge in January/February 2021.  Through the Omicron surge, cases have increased somewhat, but positive tests results remain in the low single digits every week. How? Simple, we made the campus a near Covid-free bubble.  We required students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated, and masks are required indoors.  Students are living together in the dorms, working in the community, coming and going from their homes, but still, on campus, masks and vaccines have allowed us to keep our rates low.  We are having normal classes without social distancing.  And though people are aware of their personal space and are washing their hands often, we are mostly “back to normal.” 

I present this story as evidence that with a little mitigation like vaccine requirement and masks, it is possible to create a safe “bubble” in which we can all gather and enjoy Zimbabwean music together.   For those who are at greater risk, by all means, stay home and stay safe!  I am sympathetic to the anxiety you must feel and hope the world becomes a safer place for you as soon as possible.  But if you are in reasonable health, vaccinated, and willing to mask, I really hope to meet you at Zimfest 2022! 

Mark Swift
Zimfest 2022 Organizing Committee

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Zimfest Applications Close in Five Weeks

Dear Zimfest Community,

A reminder that applications for Zimfest 2022 close on February 28, a month away!

The OC feels the uncertainty as the Omicron variant continues to rage, but sees hope on the horizon as data shows the infections starting to decrease, and there are predictions that the peak will be past by mid-February. 

We welcome your applications now to teach and/or perform despite the uncertainty. Dreaming into summer by applying for Zimfest can be an expression of hope and resilience.

Information and the application button for (live) performers is here
Information and the application button for those wishing to submit pre-recorded performances or presentations is here
Information and the application button for teachers is here.         

Keep track of Zimfest Covid Safety requirements here.
Stay well,

Claire and the Zimfest Organizers

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December Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the December 12th meeting of the Zimfest Association board of directors have been posted.

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Zimfest 2022 Applications Are Now Open

Greetings Zimfest community,

Applications for teaching, performing and presenting at Zimfest 2022 in Mount Vernon, WA are now open. Applications close February 28, so please get your applications in soon! We are aware that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is raging across the country, but we are forging ahead with the work of organizing an in-person festival June 24-26 with fingers crossed. Please read the current COVID Safety precautions provided by the ZA Board. 

Information and the application button for (live) performers is here
Information and the application button for those wishing to submit pre-recorded performances or presentations is here
Information and the application button for teachers is here. Once you have submitted a teacher application, you will be sent a link to propose one or more (in-person) workshops.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Performers may be accepted either for free daytime concerts at the Skagit County Fairgrounds or ticketed evening concerts at the Lincoln Theatre. The theater’s COVID health and safety policy appears here.
  • Individuals who are accepted as teachers will be asked to complete a background check if they did not teach at Zimfest in 2019.
  • We love to see workshop proposals for theoretical topics (e.g. African rhythms, song structure and improvisation), songs, and cultural presentations of all sorts – in addition to the ever-popular marimba and mbira.
  • Workshop times: participant feedback indicates that hosho and dance workshops of 90 minutes work well. Many intermediate marimba students have requested longer workshops, and we can schedule a few for 2  1/2 hours. See detailed Workshop Proposal information here (scroll down the page).
  • The Zimfest Organizing Committee is still looking for individuals with expertise in graphic design and concert production (both big jobs!). Please write to volunteers{at}zimfest[dot}org to volunteer or make suggestions!

Claire Jones, Festival Coordinator

Zimfest 2022: Music Dancing Across Borders

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