Clan na nGael Summer Feis Review

The Clan na nGael Summer Feis was held on July 14th, 2012 at the Shamrock Club in Columbus, OH and this was the first one.  Here is what this casual observer had to say…

OK, lets just start with the weather. The feis organizers really had no control over that, but it impacted the feis nonetheless. Rain up till early afternoon and then the sun came out and it got hot and muggy. I can only imagine that the heat wore at the girls…oh, did I mention this was an OUTDOOR FEIS? Who plans an outdoor feis in July? Sorry guys, I can’t see how that was a good idea, but that being said…

Venue –  I liked the idea of having a feis at an Irish Club, but the inside space (reserved for senior dancers) was very cramped. The outdoor space had two stages that were set literally back to back, and the stages were very small. There was really no room for chairs for dancers and parents, so the chairs around the stage were saved for the dancers, which forced the parents to the outer edges of the tent spilling out into the rain, or the sun, as the case may be. There was plenty of room for an additional stage tent that would have alleviated a number of these problems. Camping space was plentiful, but I refer you back to the rain, sun, comment and there was just not enough shaded/cool areas.

Judges – caveat – I did not see how the judging was run inside. On the two outdoor stages, there were 2 judges seated at each, and they appeared to take turns judging. Combine that with the fact that the girls moved back and forth between stages, there appeared to be good judge rotation. Two thumbs up.

Stage rotation sounds like it might have been a pain, but the proximity of the stages, and a well organized dance schedule, made that run very smoothly.

Music – There were two musicians but only one played at a time providing music for both stages. There were very few times when a stage was waiting for the other to finish, and the wait (the ones I saw) were minor.

Food – There was a hot dog vendor open at lunch time, and that was it. Claddagh, the Irish Pub people, had a booth, but it closed at about 11 and reopened later in the afternoon. Tim Hortons had a van there till about lunchtime and there was an ice cream vendor, but the “lunch menu” was very limited. The dogs were good though and the prices reasonable. Oh, and since this was an Irish Club, you KNOW there was beer there, BUT, the outdoor bar beer taps were broken… that is just wrong, no Guinness on tap outside. They did have bottled beer(domestics) and the taps were working inside.

Vendors – the rain put a literal damper on these guys. There was a good shirt vendor in the morning through the early afternoon, when a few others opened, and then most of the normal Irish SWAG was represented. There were feis t’s for the event but they were very plain.

It was odd however that there were no shoe or wig vendors (which I did not realize till I started writing this review).

Results – very well done. I would say the results were out in 15 minutes or less on average. Great job there.

And the WTF Rating – Thinking back on the feis, I think it was well run as far as the judging, music, schedule and results were concerned. The small stages and having to deal with it being an outdoor feis (I mean it is still July in Ohio) may have made this the only time we attend this particular feis. WTF rating for this inaugural feis is a 6.5. I think there is huge potential for it if the issues with spaces/stages are handled better.

And speaking of the Dayton Feis…

I want to say CONGRATS to Rachel from MI…. I won’t say what school or what age… She competed against my daughter and took first in every dance. Way to go!

Rachel and her Mom are the type to wait till the end to get results and it was killing me not to share with them how well Rachel was doing. It is really nice to meet dancers who don’t appear to have that ‘drama queen dance diva’ attitude and I like to see them succeed, even if they are beating my daughter.

Oh, BTW Rachel, can you move up so my daughter has a better chance?  Thanks!  😉

and hi to Katie (Rachels little sister who also dances, and the reason I met the family in the first place)  🙂

Editors Note: Rachel and her family have no way of knowing about this post, so if you know them by chance, please pass on my regards. Thanks!

Dayton Feis Review

The Dayton Feis was held on June 23rd,  2012 at Sinclair Community College in Dayton.  Here is what this casual observer had to say…

Venue –  I liked it.  May have seemed a little crowded to some people but I thought it was OK.  The stages were paired into twos,  at least the one that we were on,  but that was to accommodate limited musicians.  Unlike Louisville last week though,  it appeared they planned for that and had similar dances and comp sizes running simultaneously. Good camping space and stage separation (except the paired ones of course). Food was one floor up and awards two floors up, but it was a nice break to walk around between dances.

Judges – rotated frequently. Two thumbs up. You should know by now how I feel about a judge staying on one stage for multiple dances (“no sir, I don’t like it” (Ren and Stimpy reference, if you got that, you are my hero 🙂 ))

Food – good job there too. They had burgers, pretzels and pizza,  but also provided healthier alternatives like veggies,  humus and chicken wraps.  There was also a Skyline Coney table if people were so inclined. Prices were reasonable.

Vendors – thumbs down, sorry. The shoe guy (George, actually his daughter this time), a wig table and an accessories table. No fun Irish SWAG, no books, no tshirts, in fact, I didn’t even see any Dayton Feis tshirts (might have missed it but if they had them, it was not evident).

OK, now for the big negative… results. It was somewhere between 90 minutes and 2 hours between my daughters dance and the results posting. I had flashbacks to the Akron Feis and LOTS of people were complaining about result timeliness. It was about that long for the second set of results to come out too. Later in the afternoon, it seemed like things got smoother, but people won’t remember that part, they will remember the slow postings.

So the WTF Rating – While I was at the feis, dealing with the results taking forever, I was thinking the rating should be 4.5, but as I read this, I really have more positives than negatives, so I will say 6.5. It could be higher, but waiting on results is big for us parents Dayton.

Cincinnati Feis Review

Quick post regarding the Cincinnati Feis that was held on June 10th. I meant to post this right after the feis but had one of those weeks. 

Overall I liked the feis.  It was held at the Cintas Center at Xavier University and the venue was nice.  Lots of seats where you could both camp and view the stages. It was an ‘arena’ so the food was a bit pricey and was the typical fare,  pizza,  hot dogs,  pretzels,  etc….  The vendors were very limited,  shoes and wigs were represented but not much else.

Awards and scoring were handled really well and judges changed frequently which is more fair in this reporters opinion. Awards were listed right next to the stages which was convenient and the results were posted very quickly so kudos to them for that too.

Overall, What The Feis gives this feis a 7.5 out of 10.

Akron Feis Review

OK, short and sweet, this was the second year I attended the Akron Feis and it is the second year I didn’t like it.

Lets lay it out, the performances are in a barn, unless you are champion level, then you get the AC room. Sure, its a cement floor big barn, but its a barn. It was hot, and a bit smelly and I think it wore on the dancers. On the positive, the camping was adequate.

Concessions – I have to give them a thumbs up. Prices were good and the people were friendly. If there is any downside, it is that it was fair food, but who doesn’t like fair food?

Swag – not too much, a nice jewelry booth and a few Irish things, some tshirts but other than that, limited.

So whats the issue? This year, actually worse than the year before was the scoring. It took literally hours from the dance to the results. EVERYONE was complaining. Mix that with the heat, and the barn etc…. not good.

This post is being written a week after the feis, but I still feel the same. Sorry Akron, we aren’t going back.

Buckeye Feis Review

I decided that reviewing the most recent feis I attended may be good subject matter for this site. I planned on covering what I thought about the Buckeye Feis this past weekend, including the food, parking, dresses, etc…. but it appears that @IrishDanceMom02 beat me too it. For a great review of the 3rd Annual Buckeye Feis, see her blog post.

There were a few things I was interested in that @IrishDanceMom02 didn’t mention that I thought I would briefly cover. First, the judging. The judges changed frequently which is good. If a judge stays on one stage too long it can harm (or help) a dancers chances for scoring well if the judge happens to have particular style they look for. I know, I have seen it happen. I liked the fact that for the six dances the girl child did, there were 3 different judges, giving all the dancers more even odds.

The music was good and I saw at least 2, and sometimes 3 musicians on a stage. I didn’t look at all the stages but the ones in my area were well covered with fiddles or accordions, sometimes a mix of both, but nary an iPod playing dance music to be found.

And who doesn’t go for the shopping? The SWAG at the event was unfortunately limited, and besides the obligatory shoe, wig and socks tables, there was only one one Irish SWAG table. Being that I am 1st generation Irish American, I really enjoy the Irish SWAG so I was a bit disappointed.

The other thing I thought was missing that would bring more Dads to these events was beer, but I will leave that can of worms for another post.