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.