Great Lakes Feis 2013

image001The 11th Annual Great Lakes Feis was held on August 18th, 2013 at the Lansing Convention Center in Lansing, Michigan.

This is the third, fourth, ah who knows, time I have done the Great Lakes Feis. You can see last years review here but that was before I had scoring for each section of the feis, and just had an overall score.

Venue – The venue is great. The feis uses what I assume to be the biggest hall in the center and there is plenty of room.

There were six stages with numbers 1 and 2 at one end of the hall for OC and PC, and 3 – 6 more towards the other end for the other level dancers. The stages were huge compared to many feiseanna I have attended. The smallest I saw, if my visual measuring system is even close to accurate, was about 24′ x 28′, and the stage we were on was closer to 32′ x 32′. There was also good separation between the stages, on the order of tens of feet, if that makes sense, not a few feet or attached like other recent feiseanna.

I did see multiple slips and did not see any mopping during the day, so stage maintenance could have been a little better, but overall, stage condition seemed pretty good.

There were plenty of chairs for spectators and a good amount of room behind them for the standers.

There was more camping then there were campers, which is a unique experience at a feis. People were able to spread out which is not what they did, which struck me a bit odd. I don’t try to figure out what people are thinking at feis anymore.

Results and awards were at the far end of the hall, opposite end from the PC/OC stages, and were at tables right next to each other so it was all very convenient. The champs had a separate stage, still within the hall for their awards that was near their stages, and far enough away from the other stages so as not to be a distraction.

Parking was available at different garages near the venue, but this year we just left our car in the feis hotel parking, which was convenient considering the hotel was attached to the venue by an enclosed pedestrian walkway. I am afraid I cannot comment on the price of other parking in the area.

Vendors were grouped together in an area between the champ stages and the other stages which provided even more separation.

Venue Score: 9.5  

Judges – The girl child danced 3 times and was judged by 1 judge. Like the Milwaukee Feis last week, the dances were grouped very close together so rotation is limited… HOWEVER, in between the first two dances the judge on her stage changed and then changed back. The third dance was the first after lunch, and the same judge came back to the stage, which I think would have been a perfect switch time. I am really torn on this one because the same judge for all dances can be unfair to the dancers, but there is that whole ‘all close together’ thing, but there were opportunities. You can see the judge list here, although I did see judges working that are not on the list.

Judge Score: 6

Music – Each stage had their own musician and the stages were spaced far enough apart where music bleed over was not an issue.

An interesting sidebar – one musician, an older gentlemen who played the violin (or is it a fiddle?) stood the whole day while he played. I had not seen that. This however is the same guy who apparently came to the feis on a skateboard, so who I am to judge.

TGC did comment that the music on one of the stages she was not, on was ‘funner and kinda techno’ than the music she had, which begs the question, do they ever rotate musicians?

You can see who played here.

Musician Score: 10

Food – Convention center food at reasonable prices, $4 – $5 for a sandwich/burger, salads, pretzels etc… The popcorn chicken and fries were pretty good, I shared with TGC, so overall, not bad.

Food Score: 8

Vendors –  George the shoe guy was there, and two wig tables, which was good because we showed up first thing to get a new wig. NOTE: If you let your dancer dye her hair, consider the dance wig first!  Some nice souveniry type items, hats, shirts, etc, some jewelry, and the tshirt guy and a photographer. A nice little selection. View the vendors.

Vendor Score: 7.5 

Results – Mixed feelings on results. I was told they would be doing results electronically on QuickFeis but I did not see that being utilized during the actual event. The volunteers were taking pictures of the board and posting them on Facebook, but that was after they had already been posted (obviously). It wasn’t like a FeisWorx feis where they are posted in minutes, most times before they hit the results board in the hall.

Time to post on the wall varied, and appeared to be around 30 minutes for TGC’s first 2 dances, but it was closer to 45 – 6o minutes for her last result.

I did appreciate the fact that the awards table were able to print out the dancers score sheet with comments after their last dance had been posted. It is a nice touch that you can see what the judges had to say right away.

Results Score: 8

Feis Flow – Not too bad. We started at 11ish and had the last dance and results by 2. That would have been quicker had they not stopped for lunch when TGC had already checked in, and they went a little more than an hour for the lunch break.

I do like close dances even if it can affect judge rotation.

Feis Flow Score: 8


2 part system in place, the feis score consisting of Judges, Music, Results and Flow and then the overall WTF rating for all items.

Feis Score – 8 – could have been better if the judges rotated at least once.

And the WTF Rating – a 8.14. Good Job Great Lakes!

What did you think?

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

  • 7 (25%, 6 Votes)
  • 6 (17%, 4 Votes)
  • 8 (17%, 4 Votes)
  • 4 (13%, 3 Votes)
  • 5 (13%, 3 Votes)
  • 10 (8%, 2 Votes)
  • 3 (8%, 2 Votes)
  • 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 9 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 1 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Laura Solomon

I agree with you on all points, but would also wish to note that this is one of the very few feiseanna we attend anymore that DOESN’T have a family fee. Their computer went down just as we got in line to buy an adult ticket, and the line got quite long and people disgruntled. Now, in fairness, the Lansing Center staff did start selling manually eventually, and tickets were available to be purchased online beforehand. However, buying online meant that you were also paying additional electronic charges (just like most Ticketmaster events, etc.). I admit that I am a fan of the family fee, because it avoids such hassles. I know that, from a security standpoint, selling individual tickets might be better but, in this instance, I’m not sure there was a difference. Any creep can still buy an (anonymous) ticket and wander around the feis. I wish there was a compromise between the convenience of the family fee and the idea of identifying who goes with a dancer!


While I agree with what you say, I think it is safe to point out, and anyone please correct me if I am wrong, but every feis has a family fee, whether it is added in the fees paid online or collected at the door, it is almost always there. :)


Totally untrue for the Great Lakes Feis Mike. I am on the planning committee and while a family fee has been discussed over the past couple of years we have opted to maintain the current flat rate for registration. Regarding your comment about the musician who stood while playing – he specifically asked to stand. Musicians are not rotated because many of them bring their own amp equipment and it would be difficult to move them throughout the day. I agree that the feis would have ended sooner if we had not broke for lunch but the judges and musicians get cranky if we don’t feed them. :)
And Laura – regarding the computer going down to purchase admission tickets – those computers belong to the Lansing Center and are totally out of the control of the Great Lakes Feis. We apologize for the inconvenience, however, I believe efforts were made to expedite the repair.


Thanks for the clarification. I was told that all feiseanna did have a family fee one way or another, and took it a face value. Thanks for setting me straight! :)


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