The 42nd annual Dayton Feis was held on June 27th, 2014 at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.
This is the third time I have done the Dayton Feis at Sinclair. Here are the posts about past experiences if you are interested, but its going to sound like what is below ;) In fact, so little has changed, I am copying and pasting sections from last years review where approprite (indented and italicized). Why rewrite history? ;)
Stages and Seating
The feis was split into three floors of the building. The competitions held on the lowest level in an indoor track and field building, a second floor that had a cafeteria, the tabulation room and where the OC/PC presentations were done, and the top level where results were posted and awards were presented. Lots of stairs so not the best for people with limited mobility, but there were elevators available.
There were six stages, which in general were good sizes. The smallest was 24 x 20 and the largest was 32 x 32 (one of the champ stages). While the smaller stage is bigger than some I have seen, the issue with this one is that it was half of a joined stage (stages 5 & 6) that were split down the middle by a piece of tape.
The stages were slippery, but the feis crew was VERY proactive trying to keep the stages safe. I saw multiple times where they stopped activity on the stage to mop. Sure, it slowed things down a bit, but in the interest of safety, who can complain.
Chairs seemed adequate, but… oh if you have read any of my reviews you know what I am going to say… although adequate, they were not used inefficiently and there were lots of standing viewers. :(
Camping and Access
Camping in the dance area was very limited, but the second level had a lot more area available, just not as convenient.
It actually seemed like there were more people there this year than in the past two years. Very crowded and more difficult than usual to get around the venue. Camping was an issue.
Awards and Results
The results and awards were two floors up for Grades level dancers. Room to move around, but running up and down a few flights of stairs could be draining and not easy at all for mobility challenged visitors.
Awards and results for PC/OC was on the second floor on a small stage in the cafeteria area and there was plenty of seating and viewing room. There were three ways to get to the stage so there was no need for dancers to crowd around close which made it less congested than usual.
Parking was plentiful, in the schools parking garage and lots, and there was a covered walkway from the garage to the venue. Parking in the garage was only $2. It was a bit of a hike from the parking area into the venue and as far as I could tell, there was no where where mobility challenged viewers could be dropped fairly close to the door.
The other ‘item of note’ that they have done in both years previously is the bathrooms. Considering the number of females at these events, they turned some of the men’s rooms into women’s rooms for the day, in fact, the only men’s room I knew about was on the top floor. I feel sorry for the potty training male parents or smaller-bladdered men.
Only really saw the judges on our stage. There were three of course, and I thought one of them seemed a bit distracted and saw that judge occasionally not watching the dancers. The other two were very attentive.
Even I could tell there were music issues this year. There were complaints from dancers and I saw the musician fiddling with the speakers multiple times. Neither TGC nor the girl she was dancing with could hear well enough to start, and told the judges. The musician turned up the speakers(again) and the girls were able to complete their steps. I have seen this musician plenty of times with no issues, so I am wondering if it was an equipment issue. I thought there was a lot of ambient noise which probably contributed to the issues.
Using the college concession worked to the feis advantage. Food was plentiful, had some variety and was priced for college students. There were also healthy options like fruit cups and hummus and chips in addition to pizza etc…
Actually not as good as last year! I saw George the shoe guy, and the wig people, and the t shirt table that had a nice variety of add-ons for the t-shirts. The photography guy was there, and there was some ‘crafty’ stuff, but really nothing else ‘stood out’. Not an M&M in sight either.
I have mixed feelings about the way awards were handled for PC/OC. For as long as I was there, they made Champ results announcements every hour at fifteen past the hour. Not really a bad system necessarily, but they only did a few comps each time, so if your comp didn’t make the cutoff, you would have to wait an extra hour. Since I was ‘associated’ with the feis, I found out the results for TGC’s comp had been tabulated in about 90 minutes (the average), but, they were not announced for about 2 and a half hours after she had finished dancing because we ‘missed the cutoff’. NOTE: I did not have access to results, just knew when the tabulations were done.
The other thing this feis does is announce overall placers first, and then announce the ‘shoes’, all the while having the overall winners stand on the stage. Sorry, not a fan. Do shoes, then overall :)
Two other thing I thought was out of place, no podium, which I suppose can be attributed to the venue, but the ‘worst’ thing (tongue in cheek worst of course), there were no sashes! OMG!
Flow was actually pretty good. TGC and her comp got through both steps in around an hour, and they were staggered on the same stage with another comp. There were an average number of dancers so I thought an hour was pretty good.
Also heard an announcement that stages were moving pretty quickly and would be rearranged to move things along a bit faster. I remember the same thing happening last year. This can be good but can also cause issues if parents and dancers aren’t being attentive to the possible changes.
Another tough one to score. A local feis and I have volunteered for the past two years. I know how hard the people work but there are some ‘things’ that could be done a bit better. I tend to think that we are outgrowing that venue, granted I don’t know what other options are available. Mix that with some of the music issues and the results comments I had, and I would have to put Dayton in the 6.5 – 7 range. Sorry Dayton, love you guys, but I gotta call them like I see them. Gimme a call, when can go out for a beer and talk about it.
Of course we will be back.