The 33rd annual Columbus Feis was held on August 3rd, 2013 at the Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio.
Editors Note: This feis is run in conjunction with, and across the street from the Dublin Irish Fest, but alas, I did not make it to that this year.
Venue – This is the second time I have done the Columbus Feis at the high school, the first being a few years ago before I started posting feis reviews, and to be honest, its not one of my favorite venues.
There were 10 stages at the feis, split into 4 different areas of the high school. 4 stages in one gym, 4 in another gym, the PC stage in the cafeteria and the OC stage in the Performing Arts Center (aka the auditorium). The areas were wide-spread and could be a few minutes from each other if you happened to have dancers on several stages. Travel was complicated because of having to travel through crowded school hallways.
Stage size was OK, with the stages in the 2 gyms (numbered 1 – 8) being about 20 x 24. Actually, there were two large platforms, 20 x 48 in each gym, with each split, forming two stages, and having the dancers dance back to back. There was a few feet between the two large platforms where a musician sat, playing for all 4 stages. Although the stages were ok size, the whole setup seemed very cramped, especially since some of the comps were huge. The PC stage (#9) was in the cafeteria, and I think it was 24 x 24, but seemed kind of crammed into the end of the room. The OC stage was literally an auditorium stage, and was plenty big.
I only saw one fall, and I did not see any floor cleanup or mopping during the day, but I was not in a stage area during the lunch hour, so it may have occurred.
Chairs seemed adequate, with one gym area using the school bleachers. To be honest I was only in the other gym briefly, and it was crowded, and I did not notice the seating there. The PC stage probably needed more chairs because there was lots of standing viewers, but I don’t believe there was adequate room to put many more. The OC stage was fine seating wise.
Camping was in the cafeteria, in the student locker area, and in the hallways, with a little in the gyms on the sides of, and in, the bleachers.
Results and awards were in the hallway off the cafeteria where the student lockers were. It was cramped and hard to maneuver, and campers had pretty much blocked access from the sides so flow to/past the results had restricted flow.
Due to the Irish Fest, which is across the street from the high school, parking was painful. They had only one way in and out of the school parking lot and it was full by 845 when we arrived. I dropped the family off at the door and parked somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 mile away. There was no charge for parking however.
Vendors were in the hallway between areas, and even though the hallway was large, having vendors on both sides really cramped the flow.
The last note about the venue was the ‘climate’. It was really hot in the entire venue in the morning. I heard many complaints and did my fair share of perspiring. I would say by 11 they had it more under control, but the first few hours it was miserable.
Put all that together and I think….
Venue Score: 5
Judges – The girl child danced 3 times and was judged by 3 different judges. Can’t ask for better that that.
Judge Score: 10
Music – Stages 9 and 10 each had their own musicians, but stages 1 x 4, and 5 x 8 only had one musician for each of the 4 stages. The lack of stage-worthy areas in the venue probably causes the need to have those stages share their musicians, but it caused lots of delays and I saw stages come to complete halts numerous times. Basically, all the stages in the entire gym would have to have all their age comps finish all their reels (for example), before all the stages could start on the next dance. You see where I am going here.
Musician Score: 4
Food – There were a few vendor tables that had easy to grab and eat food like bananas, grapes, bagels, donuts, drinks etc… all reasonably priced. When lunch hit, other than the snack tables, there was one hamburger/hot dog/sandwich vendor, and people waited because the food ran out quickly. It wasn’t terrible though, and the prices were reasonable.
Food Score: 7.5
Vendors – 2 shoe vendors, a jewelry table, the tshirt guy, the ribbon lady, and lots of hair stuff. Just a small showing really. There was an Irish Festival going across the street however, but I did not make it to that.
Vendor Score: 7
Results – From the end of the dance to being posted on the wall I would say it took about 30 – 45 minutes. Not as good as others I have seen. There was also one dance where the judge and mislabeled the score sheet, and had I not asked about the status of that dance, it may still not be up on the wall. That result was closer to 90 minutes to get.
Columbus is a FeisWorx feis but I did not think to check results online during the day.
Awards were in a room right in the results hallway, and were very convenient to the results. They awards staff was ‘wired’ into the results room and were able to pull up the dancers number on laptops to see all the dancers results. That was done better than most feiseanna.
If the awards had not been wired, the slower turnaround time would have brought this score down.
Results Score: 7.5
Feis Flow – Not too bad. We started at 11ish and had the last dance at around 2. Huge comps and limited musicians slowed things down a lot. They grouped the dance types together to take advantage of fewer musicians, and kept the numbers of age groups on each stage fairly small which helped. A shorter lunch, which lasted a little over an hour, may have helped too.
Feis Flow Score: 7.5
Remember, scoring now has 2 parts, the feis score consisting of Judges, Music, Results and Flow and then the overall WTF rating for all items including the venue, food and vendors.
Feis Score – 7.25 (which really benefited from the judge score, otherwise I would not have had it this high)
And the WTF Rating – a 6.92
I’m glad the quality of the judging has improved. We last went to this feis when my girl was 11 (3 years ago). We never went back after her treble jig competition was seated at the stage right before lunch, then the lunch break happened and the girls were forced to remain seated by the judge while she ate her lunch – the stage monitor (who was a dad) didn’t want to ask the feis director to release them and none of the parents were allowed to approach the judge and ask her to let them go, so they all just sat there for the entire lunch break. The venue has always been one that I disliked, and that was just the last straw – we’ve not been back since. A darn shame, because I miss the Irish Festival. They always had some terrific musicians, and while, I didn’t much enjoy the feis itself, the follow-up was always great!
I really don’t think it is a bad feis, and that the venue is the root to all the feis evil. All the feis volunteers I interacted with were really nice, if they could just get a newer place ;)
We drove in from Maryland to not only visit family, but to attend the feis. We were in the gym area and I thought it was nicely run. My only real complaint was the musician. We only had one and he stopped A LOT and stopped in the middle of one of U9 jigs and had the girls wait while he “stretched out his hand”.
As for the posting of results – by the time we made it over there two of her dances were up and the other two were already in the computer.
We would attend again.