The Indianapolis Feis was held on June 14th, 2014 at the Indiana State Fair Grounds Exposition Center. This is the second time we have attended the Indy Feis, although this year it was held at a new venue.
This was the first time the feis was at this venue and there are mixed feelings from lots of people on it. It is a fairgrounds building with a concrete floor but it was big and fully enclosed and it was climate controlled, unlike another fair grounds building we all know, but I wont go there right now ;)
The provided a nice map of the venue that might be a good reference.
Stages and Seating
There were 6 stages made of plywood, and the one that I mentally measured was a very good size at 32 x 32. That was a PC/OC stage and I cannot say if the grades stages were the same size.
Being plywood, there was the traditional issues that go along with that type floor. I saw one fall and numerous slips on the stage I was viewing. The feis committee did mop the stage during lunch however, so they tried to keep up with maintenance.
Seating wasn’t bad, and I never saw all the chairs full on the stage we were on. There were those that decided that chairs were better suited for their gear, and on some stages, people actually took some of the chairs and formed them into their own little camping area. You know my thoughts on this topic, but this time, other feis goers captured the event in a photo. smh
Camping and Access
Camping wasn’t horrible, admittedly no where near the best I had seen either, but they tried. Seems like each stage had an area behind the viewers seats so people could stow gear, and the far end of the venue and along the outer walls had more areas, so you could probably find a place to park your gear.
Access in general was pretty good. I found the main issue was people standing in the aisles between the viewers chairs to watch the comps. You could usually find another way around through.
Awards and Results
Both Awards and Results were along one wall on the side of the venue, out of the way but still convenient to get to.
There were chairs for viewers in the champs results area which not all feiseanna do, so that was good. They did have room, and probably could have used more chairs there. I was also a little disappointed to see a few dancers held chairs with their solo dresses, so some of the parents had to stand to see results.
Lots of parking, but not all close. There was a $5 charge for parking which was a surprise to us and apparently to other attendees. Not that $5 is a big cost, but if you are not expecting it, and don’t have cash, it can be an annoyance.
One other thing I heard complaints about was the directions on the feis site. I did not use them but heard some complaints from those that did, that the directions could have had some more details.
And speaking of finding the feis, if you tell your GPS 1202 W 38th instead of 1202 E 38th, you will end up at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a lovely building and grounds. Just trust me on this one :(
3 Judges, attentive and pretty good comments considering the size of some of the comps I saw. No complaints.
OK, here is where I heard the most complaints. Each stage had their own musician, which is always good because shared musicians tend to cause delays. Not the musicians themselves mind you, but the stages waiting to get caught up or to catch up as the case may be.
More than one dancer on the stage we were on complained about the tempo of some of the music, and also the ability to hear it. As a viewer, I could hear music from everywhere so I could understand how the dancers might have issues. TGC had a start issue on one of her dances, and that has never been an issue for her (not making excuses, just commenting on the music).
I also saw a musician play the wrong song. The dancers danced anyway, and it was not until the 1st set of dancers had nearly finished their steps that the judges realized what was going on and stopped them. They were able to redo their dance.
Not sure what the problem was, might be a musician thing, but I can’t help but wonder if the acoustics in the Expo Center contributed to the issues.
There were three food stands, but it appeared that two were not as fully equipped as the third. You could get drinks, corndogs and few other items at all three, but if you wanted grill items you needed to stand in the long line for the third stand.
Prices seemed very reasonable but I cannot speak to the quality as we did not eat at the venue.
The usual suspects. If you have been to a Mid-America feis you know who they are. There was some nic nacs and non-feis swag on top of the typical feisessities (feis necessities). You can see the vendor list here. Oh, and if you follow me on Facebook, you already know there were Irish M&Ms :)
Results for PC/OC, for TGC’s comp anyway, were out in about 75 minutes, which has been close to the norm. The awards were off to one side of the venue, behind the stages and the vendors. There were chairs for viewers as mentioned above, but there was room for more and they needed them. Lots of younger dancers sitting on the floor between the chairs and the podium, and lots of people standing behind the chairs.
At most PC/OC feis I have attended, the hard and soft shoe results are announced first, followed by the overall standings. They did it the opposite way here, announcing the overall first, and then the hard shoe and soft shoe results. And they did not allow time for the dancers to leave the podium between overall and the ‘shoes’, so you had a number of dancers standing there, kind of awkwardly.
I prefer when they announce the ‘shoes’ first personally. It gives an idea of how your dancer might have placed overall and you can prepare mentally a bit better ;)
The flow was great. I heard a few comments that comps on a few stages, were moving along and from start to finish for us was less than 2 hours. Kudos on keeping it moving.
Kind of torn on scoring. If we had been in last years venue, I think overall the feis would have faired much better. But, the venue issues combined with the music issues and I am afraid I would have to give this years feis somewhere around 6.5 to 7. We will be back though!