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.
Hands down our worst feis experience thus far. At the grade levels, this was a nightmare and those in charge assume no responsibility at all. Even their failure to book a food vendor (and this feis had no cap this year!) was not their fault. The response was “we were not informed the cafeteria was going to close today….” 41 years into a feis, it’s not the job of the venue (which is awful for this purpose, music bleeding, too small for no cap, you couldn’t move without bumping someone….awful) to inform, it’s the job of those running the feis to inform themselves. Fortunately, the cafeteria had mercy on the people there and agreed to stay open, but made sure to tell those in charge it would not be there next year. This feis also expects people to magically know they need to bring stage assignments and the woman with the computer was very grumpy about people needing copies. Never mind that they changed from the dead-last-minute they were posted on line in the first place (mine was outdated from when I printed it a few days before the feis). She kept grumbling about how people “don’t know what the h#!! they are doing” and something about sending out an email. This was an issue last year, as well. For the record, I have never received an email from this feis, ever.
My dancer was mostly on a joined stage this year with 2 comps running concurrently and sharing a musician. As a result, these stages were running very slowly and we very slippery and not cleaned that I saw. No falls that I saw, but lots of slipping and ankle injuries due to slipping.
Results were horribly slow, taking up to over an hour in some of our dances.
This feis just felt highly unorganized on every level. Finding stages and results were a challenge for many people (and I heard quite a few people say it’s like that every year). For such an old feis, it’s unacceptable that no one has had the idea to buy some poster board, a sharpie, and spend 10 minutes making signs with words like “stages” and an arrow. “Grade Results” and an arrow. Etc. There is simply no excuse for these oversights. This is not their first rodeo.
On the positive side, I did appreciate that the champ announcements were done in a separate space & not set up behind grade level stages with distracting announcements. I also appreciated the humble musician at the shared stage. During a hardshoe dance, he actually noticed the dancers were struggling, realized he was playing the wrong speed, stopped, apologized, and corrected his music. :-). We also had an issue with my dancer being merged into a dance on another stage and missing it because the other stage was running so far ahead of her normal stage, the other dance came up WAY sooner than it appeared on paper (her dad was helping her out this time and he had no idea that was even a possibility). She ended up having 2 of her dances run at the same time. We spoke with the monitor on the single stage, she spoke with the judge, and they were very kind about letting her dance separately and comparing her scores to the other competitors; they made things right. This was the one time the painfully slow results were helpful. ;-).
Even though my dancer did very well, and this feis is close to home, we will likely not return. It was unnecessarily stressful and not fun. I think we’ll just make the 2 hour drive to the KY competitions (which are very well run) and skip this one next year.
You may want to give the Dayton Feis another chance this year. We have moved the venue to a single floor level at the Dayton Expo Center which is a much larger venue. Results will be posted faster as we are moving to Quick Feis this year. We are adding a podium for OC/PC and will be providing sashes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.
We have only been to a handful of Feisanna, but I would agree with the above review: hands down, the worst one we’ve attended. What is it about this venue that makes the sound so assaulting? It was like you could hear the clip clop of every single shoe in the building. I am amazed that the dancers were able to hear the music at all. We were on Stage 3 and I could not hear my dancer’s musician. She was “sort of” able to hear it and her younger teammate could not hear it at all.
Now let’s talk about flow. Horrible. We waited 20-30 minutes to rotate judges – EACH time. For one dance, the rotation ocurred after they had already checked in the “next” dancers. So the “now” dancers used the dancer seats to the side, and my daughter who was “next” stood in line for 20 minutes. Next time, if there’s not a judge, don’t check anyone in and allow the poor girls a chance to rest their legs. Not that there was anywhere for her to sit and rest her legs though! Camping was minimal, but I did appreciate that there were hanging wracks for people to put their dress bags on. If only everyone were so considerate to use them! On stage 3, someone draped her dress bag over four chairs in the viewing area. I am amazed at people’s rudeness. With so much dance gear dumped on the chairs, my elderly parents often had nowhere to sit. My mom with multiple medical conditions ultimately sat on the concrete floor and needed help to get up. Shameful.
The noise assault continued during lunch break. I get that there was a lot of space and seating for the PC/OC awards in the cafeteria. But when awards are given out a lunch break, it means less space for people trying to eat while everyone hovers around for awards. When you’re finally out of the torture chamber that is the lowest level and hoping to have a peaceful lunch, you’re unknowingly dumped into the fishbowl of awards with announcements over the microphone, claps, cheers, etc. But with no other space in the building, where else could we eat?
I’m glad to hear adjustments were made to provide more women’s bathrooms. But the men’s bathroom that was “converted” to a women’s bathroom was disgusting. There are certain essential elements in a women’s bathroom that were missing in the men’s, namely trashcans in the stalls. In the absence of those, people thought it was okay just to pile their used “product” on the floor or the back of the toilet. Gross! I alerted a maintenance worker to the issue and hopefully it was addressed.
I did think the medals were cool with the Wright Flyer on them. My dancer had a really good day so it was worth the time for us. If it’s at the same venue in the future though, I’m not sure we’ll be back.
I’m adding my “ditto” here. My child dances in the grade levels, so I can’t comment on PC/OC, but we didn’t get out of the feis until 4 pm, which is not what I would expect with this feis being (relatively) small. The flow was poor. We’ve been to much larger feiseanna where we’ve still gotten out by 2pm. My kid was so tired we decided to leave without all of the results. (We had a VERY long drive home!) As far as results go, this feis is definitely one of the slowest in posting at the feis I’ve ever seen. The results STILL aren’t on eFeis, so we don’t know how she did or ranked. The noise level was horrendous, and camping was definitely an issue. This was our first time to this feis, and I was surprised to learn that this was not a new venue…if they’ve been in that location for so long, you think they’d either 1) Find solutions to the issues or 2) Get a new venue. My daughter specifically asked me to never come back to this feis, which is something she’s never done in 5 years of constant feising. Sorry, Dayton.
I completely agree about results not being on efeis. That is ridiculous. It is also unacceptable that stage assignments came out so late. My dancer is participating in a feis in July that we got stage assignments for 2 weeks ago. We actually considered leaving the feis before her last dance because we were so frazzled and stressed out. We decided to stick it out, and she did place, but I can’t honestly say it was worth it. Hope that if they ever do post results, it will be worth the wait for your dancer!
I detest this venue and have no idea why they continue to host the feis in a location that is obviously too small, to loud and three levels of chaos. Sadly, even only being 10 mins away from our home we will not be attending next year if still located at Sinclair.
My daughter was also on stage 3. The stage monitors were obviously doing the best that they could. Clearly they were all mom volunteers that were not given adequate instructions on how to handle difficult judges, slow changes, kids checking in for the wrong dances or not knowing the difference btwn a slow or fast TJ/HP and (sadly) really rude parents. I have not seen so many parents speak so nasty to another mom that is just trying to get through her volunteer slot for the day. This would be a good time to point out that not all volunteers have run a stage, or awards, or registration or whatever before… give them a break and remember they are just a parent like you. And volunteers, we are parents that just want to know that our stages are running on time, are not going to change to another stage last minute without warning and that you will get our precious one on the stage not standing next to another dancer from the same school (or next to a boy UGH)
My daughter’s one judge stopped the music multiple times because the dancers could not hear the music. I would have lost my marbles if my daughter had been on the double stage. I was not even able to walk thought that side of the feis. Stage 3 was slippery but the crew did come and mop the stage down in btwn dances. This did delay the flow of the stage but its for the safety of the dancers so really who is going to argue this delay.
On the cafeteria level it was great that they had a board listing what time and what competitons would be annouced next.. sadly this stopped about 12:15 and we waited forever for the late afternoon results and had no idea what time they would finally be annouced. This feis has a lot of history. It was lovely to hear them annouce awards that honored members of the Timm and Laffey family. I am a sentimental fool though and cry over such small measures of honor to such deserving folks.
Third floor seemed to be running just fine from what I could tell.
Call me ignorant, but what’s the issue with being next to a boy?
Reading all these, I realize I am either lucky I got out of the fieldhouse before lunch or jaded from being to this feis multiple times and volunteering at it, and I think it might be a combo of both.
I will attempt to get these comments in front of the powers that be. Maybe we can help initiate a change.
Best of luck, WTF! From what I understand, those running this feis lost a heart for it and are very out-of-touch with what it’s like to be a participant. Not only does it seem that this feis needs a new venue, it seems to need a heart transplant and a sense of humility. I was nearby when it was discovered that the cafeteria was about to close and there would be no food for lunch. The feis had failed to ensure it would be open, taking for granted that it “always had been open,” and failed to book their own food vendors. There is no excuse for that oversight. What a great thing it was that the cafeteria staff agreed to stay and ensure everyone was able to eat!
Daughter is U15 – PC. Came down from WI knowing feis was oldest to youngest so expected to get out of there at a reasonable time to head back to WI….waited what seemed like forever for results (maybe it was 2 – 3 hours) We are a fan of over all results and then individual shoe. However, disappointed that there wasn’t a podium. Not the best feis I’ve been to, but I’ve been at a lot worse…I know it takes a lot of time and volunteers to put on a feis…I would like to say thank you to those volunteers!
This was our first time at this feis- I have been to better and I have been to worse. I didn’t run into some of the issues that others have mentioned. Our biggest disappointment was the shared stage for Stage 5 and 6, with the small line down the middle. It was far too jammed. If it wasn’t for the musician keeping it organized it would have been even more a disaster. He was great at announcing and verifying speeds. I must say the stage workers seemed a little out of it and not in control of the stage. The results for grades were much slower than we usually experience. Then the worst of it was the line to pick up awards was incredibly slow at the end of the day. That floor was jammed with people just waiting for results or in the lines for the awards. One volunteer was doing awards for stage 4 and he had no line, but would he jump in to help the two ladies beside him who were struggling, he just sat there and stared at all of us waiting When we got to the front after a 20 minute (that is when I started timing and we had been in the line a bit) the volunteer seemed to not understand the names of the dances and it seemed like the filing system was not working for her or she had messed up her sheets. Many tired and irritable kids and dancers after a long day of trying times. We liked the food – we must have eaten early and didn’t realize that they may close. The person handing out numbers was the least friendly person I ever encountered at a registration desk – seemed like she had no desire to be there. The nicest older gentleman was upstairs when we were entering and helped us thru the door. We had a nice chat with him- his last name was Timm – we are not from the area, butI assume that he was affiliated with Richens-Timm, but he set such a positive tone, asked where we were from and really made you feel welcome – so hats off to him and his congeniality. Will evaluate whether to return or not next year.
I have been reading the comments regarding the 2014 Dayton Area Feis and wanted to respond to a few items mentioned. In regards to the food situation, Sinclair Community College does not permit us to bring in our own food vendors. Unfortunately, just prior to the event, the college closed the cafeteria and did not inform us of the change in advance, so food options were limited. At the time of the contract, the cafeteria was still open and was expected to be open on feis day. We were not informed that the college would be remodeling cafeteria at the time of the feis. We do apologize for the inconvenience, but we had no way of knowing this was going to happen and only learned of this the day of the feis. Most of the feis volunteers had children dancing that day and we were all as inconvenienced as our visiting dancers and their families.
We agree that the multi-floor layout and bathroom situation have not been ideal. After much consideration, we have moved our event to the Dayton Airport Expo Center, 3900 McCauley Drive in Vandalia, Ohio. Those who have attended the GEM City Feis will be very familiar with this location. Parking will be included at no additional cost and there will be PLENTY of food vendors this year!
This year, we will be holding the Dayton Area Feis on Sunday, April 26, 2015. We will be back to back with the Buckeye State Feis. Registration will be opening in just a few weeks on Quickfeis where results will be posted almost in “real-time,” as Quickfeis updates every half an hour throughout the day of the feis. We expect the feis to run very smoothly this year!
These are not the only exciting changes so definitely check our webpage and Facebook page for updates over the next few months. We do take your comments seriously and strive to provide the best feis experience possible. We do hope you will be back this year!
If you have any questions for the committee, you can visit our Facebook page or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Schmidt, Treasurer and Committee Member
Dayton Feis, Inc.