Cleveland Feis

gcfsLogoThe Cleveland Feis was held on May 26th, 2013 at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Venue – This is the first time I have attended the Cleveland Feis and the first feis I have attended at the Wolstein Center, and I thought it was just OK as feis a venue.

There were ten listed performance stages for the feis, but I only saw eight of them in the arena (3 – 10) so I am not sure where stages 1 and 2 were, and therefore cannot comment on those. I walked the entire upper area of the arena, and the awards and vendor area, so 1 & 2 must have been in a different section of the arena if they were set up.

Each stage in the arena was separated by large curtains hanging down from the arena catwalks. The curtains were on 3 sides of each stage (except the one on the end) and really seemed to constrict the area around the stage, making them seem really tight. They were so crowded in fact, that they had the musicians crammed into one corner and there was only room for one row of dancers at a time during a set.

Stage 3 was the ‘big’ stage that I saw at 24 x 24 feet and the size seemed adequate, but I did see a number of dancers slip on that stage. Not sure if there were any high or slick spots. The other stages I saw were small-ish at 16 x 20 feet and I saw at least one dancer go off the edge of the stage and finish her set on the side. I think the stage size was OK, but a little bigger would have been better for some of the more advanced dancers who ‘travel’ while dancing.

There was probably 10 – 15 feet (it seemed) between the judges table and the first row of seats where viewers could watch the dancing, and very little room for dancers to line up for their dances next to the stage, so dancers tended to congregate in the 10 – 15 feet behind the judge. This not only made viewing difficult for people in lower seats, but also made it hard to get from one place to another on the floor.

Feis results were posted on a big temporary wall at the far end of the arena, and the awards were on the same end of the arena, so all fairly convenient.

Parking was adequate with a parking garage less than a minute walk from the center. It was pay parking but the pay machines I found were out of order, plus, by the time we left, the gates were raised so I cannot comment on the cost.

A negative, arenas are not the best for older viewers and those with mobility issues, as well as parents with small children and strollers. I did not see any elevators to get from the upper area to where the results were (not saying there were none). I also saw A LOT of people trip on the steps in the arena. Step heights, even the cement steps were uneven and a bit hard to navigate. (Not the feises issue but a venue issue).

Venue Score: 6 

Judges – Daughter danced 4 times and had 2 different judges. With as many stages as they had, I would think they could have rotated more often.

Another thing I saw was one of the judges seemed to be very easily distracted by things going on around him. While the girls were dancing he would glance off to the sides and even behind him instead of watching what the dancers were doing. Others commented on this too.

Judge Score: 4

Music – Each stage had a musician or two, and as long as you were close to the stage, you could hear them fine. I asked my daughter if she had any issues hearing them and she said no. If you were higher in the arena, there was a lot of ‘musical confusion’ and it was hard to tell one musician from the other. The musician at stage 3 seemed really loud.

On stage 10 I understand there was some tempo issues and the musician was playing to fast for some of the dances.

Musician Score: 7

Food – Convention center food at stupid prices. It cost me $10 to get 2 pretzels and a bottle of water. Other food choices were pizza, hot dogs and nachos, if you could get those, since when lunch hit, the concession stands started running out of food. The one I was at had no pizza, only a few pretzels and from what I could tell, not enough hot dogs to feed the number of people in line. Small sodas were $3 and large were $5  just to show how stupid some of the other prices were.

A man I asked said the pizza he had wasn’t the worst he ever ate, for what that is worth. The pretzel my wife had was greasy and she could not eat it.

They also had a no outside food rule. Sorry, if you are going to have no outside food, you need to have:

  • healthy options
  • reasonably priced options
  • enough to feed everybody
  • enough variety to handle dietary restrictions (we have nut and gluten issues in our house)

Food Score: 1

Vendors – George the shoe guy, and the other shoe guy, the feis tshirts, some glittery stuff and a nice jewelry table, but no ‘fun’ Irish stuff.

Vendor Score: 5

Results – And it goes downhill from here…

The first result we waited for was not posted for nearly 2.5 hours. When I asked about it, the lady researched and found that it had been filed without being written on the wall. She did admit that it had still taken almost 2 hours to get to them. The results for the rest of the dances all hovered around the 1 hour mark.

Another issue is that they only had two people handling results and there seemed to be confusion posting, as I saw a number of results posted in the wrong comp numbers. Someone had complained to me about that before I even went to the results area and I thought it might have been a fluke, but while I was standing there, I pointed out to the poster that they had just put 412 results in the 512 comp blocks. There was a lot of comps and I think those people could have used some help to spread out the responsibility.

Results Score: 3

Feis Flow – Just OK. My daughter danced 4 dances and from start to finish (including waiting for results) she was done in about 4 hours. They only had three different age comps on the stage but  they seemed to rotate a little slowly. I think the fact they could only put around 10 girls on stage at any one time, and some of the comps had over 25 dancers contributed to this.

I thought the awards table needed more help too. We were standing in line and the people behind the table would be moving stations, restocking awards etc… and we had to wait a bit to pick up an award. It seemed a bit unorganized and there were not set roles for the people working that area. It was a bit chaotic.

Feis Flow Score: 5


Been thinking about it and I probably need to separate the ‘feis’ score from the overall score since the feis people do not control (necessarily) the venue, food, or vendors. Scoring will now have 2 parts, the feis score consisting of Judges, Music, Results and Flow and then the overall WTF rating.

Feis Score – 4.75

And the WTF Rating – a 4.42. Sorry, a number of negatives hurt this feis overall.

What did you think?

What did you think of the Raleigh Feis 2015, Champs Level (on a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being lowest)?

  • 10 (33%, 1 Votes)
  • 2 (33%, 1 Votes)
  • 5 (33%, 1 Votes)
  • 9 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 8 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 7 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 6 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 4 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 3 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 1 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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Stage 3 was very slippery and my niece, who never falls, fell victim. Not sure how many girls fell in all. As she danced after lunch. There were at least 3 others that she knew of in her group alone. Per my niece, as I was not at this feis, ghe feis committee did nothing to aide the stage. If it had been an isolated incident, I can understand,however, it was not. Most other feis committees would have moped with come water or something. Although falls do occur in Irish dance it still is disheartening when nothing is done to aide. In our case, my niece was happy with a 4th overall, but that fall cost her the podium. All in a days work.


I’m conflicted on this feis. It’s the hometown feis and as much as I would like to blow it off and enjoy the Memorial Day weekend I can’t ignore a feis that’s 20 minutes from home especially when I drove 5 hours to get to a feis 2 weekends before. Marina did well Sunday too but in all honesty it’s not one of my faves. It’s just an incredibly long day. At least this year we didn’t have to get there at 7:30 to get ready for teams as we did in the past because we were with the host school and were obligated to be part of the team dances. So that was a little better but we still had to be there by 9:30 or so and we didn’t leave until after 4pm and that is just how it’s always been. I’d like to see something organized better to make the day go faster and definetly didn’t like the teams put in the lunch break.

We didn’t check the results until Marina was done dancing so I can’t comment on the speed of the results this year but can tell you that the postings have come up un-Godly slow in the past. We were on Stage 5 and didn’t have any issues with the satge being slippery or the judges. Marina had 4 different judges for 4 dances and they seemed to being paying attention to the dancers and they rotated quickly.

I completely agree on the food issue. There have been years when we have gone to one of the food stands to find they were out of everything except the nachos – really? If we are forced to use their vendors and pay high prices for junk they should at least serve beer! It’s an Irish event after all! Honestly I bring my food in anyway tucked into dressbags, shoe bags or a soft sided cooler with feis stuff piled on top. I iremember our first time doing this feis where they were searching the bags as you walked in and made you leave your food and drinks at the door – including water for the dancers. So at least they’ve stopped doing that.

I think they could put the vendors in a better area. While they are next to the awards it just seems so dismal. They need to have the dresses all in one place too – not just hung up around the arena.

As far a rating – 5 as far as the feis itself – meh….


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