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.

4 replies
  1. Mary DeNunzio
    Mary DeNunzio says:

    I just saw an Irish dance mom friend of mine who was there and the first thing she said was that they would never do another outdoor feis because of the weather. Her comments where that there was nowhere to sit, practice, stretch or get away from the elements. Not being there I’m not sure how that could be remedied for the future. My only experience with an outdoor feis was with the Celtic Fling Feis a few years ago and have to say we had beautiful weather! I could see how the feis could turn ugly in a hurry if there was rain or super hot, humid temps because there was no shelter other than the covered stages. The Celtic Fling Feis also had the advantage of being on the grounds of a Renn Faire so there was lot of grassy area to camp and trees for shade.

    As for the beer…….that’s just wrong!!! Hello! You’re having a bunch of Irish dancing families – make sure the taps are working!

    Good job on the review!

  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    As we left, we also said ‘that was the first and last time’ for that feis, but hey, we did Akron twice before we agreed we didn’t need to do anymore of those.

    If they had added an additional tent the size of the one they had, and moved one stage and one of the musicians there, that would be a great step in helping the situation. I think they have the land to do it. Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks for the review kudo!

  3. Laura
    Laura says:

    I’d agree with your review–and we will be unlikely to do this one again. Being caught out in the rain with no where to go (and we even had a big umbrella) was awful and my son had wet feet by the time he started his reel. He was fairly miserable and he and I decided it wasn’t worth it to wait to do his hardshoe competition (with wet feet? Blister city!). Practicing outdoors on uneven ground is a recipe for injuries, also.

  4. blue
    blue says:

    We signed up for this feis again this year, I figured it couldn’t actually be any worse than last year, right? You forgot to mention the many ants that were in the other tent. We took home a few hundred in our bag.


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