WHAT IS FeisFWD?
FeisFWD is an online interface for Irish Dancing events - both in-person and online. You can use this software to:
- Organize and run an online feis with online entries and secure video judging and results;
- Organize and run an in-person feis with self-tabulation or an option to hire FeisFWD staff
- Organize and run class feiseanna, or class report card sessions with video judging; and
- In the near future, FeisFWD will be adding new features supporting event organizers, dancing
teachers, and committees with digital tools.
HOW DID FeisFWD BEGIN?
- The concept for a new kind of Irish Dance support software was hatched in 2016, and was revitalized in December 2020 and brought to fruition due to the need for increased digital communication and online tools during the COVID-19 interruption;
- Our mandate is to provide an affordable and easy way for Irish Dance teachers and organizations to connect with their community and provide safe events to keep dancers engaged and progressing; and
- The product was built to service the dance community during the global pandemic, and is also designed to offer affordable services to in-person feiseanna. Members of the community expressed a desire for more options in both of those sectors.
WHAT MAKES FeisFWD SPECIAL?
- FeisFWD’s software is cutting edge and has the highest standard of security and encryption
available in the video interface for data storage, security and privacy;
- FeisFWD was built based on consultation with Irish dancing teachers and feis organizers who were
seeking a product that could be customized to meet their needs in an agile and “forward thinking”
manner – which is the basis for our brand name. FeisFWD is designed to help you move forward into
this new paradigm and to embrace technology in an easy way;
- Anyone can use this software. Even if you are “not good with tech” – we have tried to make this
program user-friendly and simple;
- Feis organizers will have access to a dashboard with live updates about their event, tools for
communicating effectively with the schools and with registrants;
- Feis organizers can create and modify events in our self-serve event creation software. You can
rename, add, delete, split or combine competitions or change age groupings with ease. You can
custom brand your event and set rules and guidelines for dancers specific to your region;
- We will soon have a regional template for each area of the world;
- Transparency in pricing and services – no secrets or hidden charges;
- Contracts and agreements that protect all parties and ensure quality control;
- Friendly and helpful customer service. You will never get a sharp or grumpy e-mail from our team.
You will not be told “No, we can’t do that” (unless your request is totally ridiculous!);
- We are professionals, who really care about this community, and about the successful growth of
Irish Dancing as one of the world’s best art forms;
- We want YOU – the feis organizer, and the schools, to be successful and to have a way to
fundraise for your school, your dancers, or for a charity. That’s why our prices are set at a
reasonable and attainable rate;
- We offer special concessions and discounts for events that are donating a minimum of 50% of net
profit to a registered charity. (Get in touch to discuss and apply!)
HOW DOES AN “ONLINE FEIS” WORK?
The timeline / process for an event looks like this:
- Organizing phase, working with the feis host to set up and test the event. Organizers can send us a
syllabus document, or, build one online and customize all aspects;
- We will advertise the feis once contracted. When the organizer approves a date and time for launch, we send out a
notification and a link to entries;
- Entries open (whether to the public or restricted to a particular school, invitational group or region)
and we accept payments online.
- When entries close we will send you a printable PDF of your judges sheets, sidestage check-in lists, and anything else you need!
- If your volunteers are doing tabulation for the event we will do a training session as needed,
- If you want a FeisFWD professional to tabulate your feis and lead a team of your volunteers we can connect you with a person. Fees start at $700 plus travel expenses.
- Video uploads and entries are cut off at the deadline specified by the organizer;
- Videos are organized by the development and IT team and assigned to adjudicators hired for the event;
- Adjudication happens over 3-4 days, during which time the judges can access each competition to view videos, assign marks, and give comprehensive feedback;
- Judges are limited to a maximum number of views, and have a function where they can alert the IT team to any problems or anomalies; and
- Judges input marks and comments and for CLRG events the 100 point system is employed. Feis organizers can specify during event setup what the scoring method is for multi-round events (championships) – for example;
o a set panel with perfect score being 300 Irish Points; o three rotating panels of 3 or 5 judges allowing a perfect score of 900 etc. Additional tabulation setups are available on request.
BUT, IS IT SAFE?
1) HOW IS MY DATA MANAGED?
Feis organizers, teachers and event registrants can trust that FeisFWD is protecting their personal information, their privacy, and the intellectual property of teachers as it pertains to choreography. We are committed to safe practices and child protection is our highest priority; We have a channel for queries and questions if you have any concerns. Please reach out and we can assist in explaining or demonstrating how our system protects users.
2) HOW DO PAYMENTS WORK?
We have SSL protected encrypted secure online payments; Credit card information is not stored on our server or database in any way. We use Stripe and Paypal which have robust protections in place for users. Our user profiles correlate with merchant accounts for the purposes of transactions.
3) HOW SAFE IS THE VIDEO PROCESS?
- Videos are not stored on our servers at all; they, and image files, and all user-submitted media and data is stored on amazon s3 storage, configured with no public access. Admin staff, or consultant in the Irish Dance community are barred from accessing any video data. The only persons who can access and assign videos for judging are Nick, and his staff of IT experts, none of who are involved in competitive Irish dancing;
- The only way to access the files would be to use the app, and for example, you're an adjudicator, and you're going to judge a video submission, we actually generate an encrypted url with an expiry date and time according to the timeline of the event. The url expires after that amount of time;
- Safeguards are in place to stop judges from sharing links or code from the video interface. Any attempted breaches are flagged in our system and users can be disabled immediately if there are any anomalies to be investigated;
- The database is not publicly accessible at all. The technology employed to host our software is secure, and as tech security functions evolve and add more protections, we are committed to continuously update to meet the highest standard available;
- The client part of the site (the “front end”) is a basic website, created for informational purposes and sharing of information about our services. The api (the “back end”) are on two separate servers, for performance and security reasons. All profile information, payments, video uploads, adjudication function, and communication between the client and server is encrypted.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY ONLINE FEIS VIDEOS? HOW ARE THEY USED?
- Videos are securely stored. When judges are assigned for an event, they will receive a link to each competition they will be adjudicating. Within that interface, judges interact with the videos embedded in a player, where they can view the video, and then give marks and feedback;
- Judges are under a strict contract regulating their usage of videos, and are prohibited from any type of recording or taking screen shots. We only accept judges that have signed a formal, legally binding agreement with the feis organizer outlining their behaviour and restrictions as it pertains to viewing and judging the video content;
- Each governing body can set out specific sanctions in addition to the legal documents that judges must sign, such as disciplinary procedures, suspensions, monetary fines, removal of licenses or certifications, etc. FeisFWD will be fully compliant with the requirements of all regulatory dance organization rules and requirements, and will update the system as needed to ensure all users are compliant with our policies, local laws, and rules of their dance organization;
- Organizers can choose to offer the feature of a “highlight video” to be published after the feis. Participants can opt in and give permission for their videos to be selected to appear in the highlight video for web and social media (but are under no obligation to do so). This would involve up to 4 bars of a video being provided to a video editor to create the mini-film. After this is posted the original files would be deleted permanently; and
- 7 days after results and the video highlights (if applicable) are published, all video submissions for that event are deleted permanently and this process will be documented.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS IN PLACE FOR ADJUDICATORS?
- The feis organizer chooses adjudicators, whether by application, invitation, or online draw. For registered feiseanna, adjudicators must be registered in good standing with their regulatory body and must have completed all required vetting and child protection courses;
- Adjudicators must sign a legal agreement outlining their responsibilities, duties, and services required by the feis;
- We have a system where adjudicators can be assigned at random and it ensures that each judge will have an equal number of competitions, spread across a variety of levels. Judges with any declared associations will not be assigned to competitions where they have conflicts;
- If an adjudicator notices a problem with a video, whether technical, or in violation of the rules of the organization or event, they can send a query to the IT team and they can then either fix the problem or communicate to the feis organizer as needed to address the problem. Judging for that competition will be paused until a solution is reached;
- Adjudicators are paid by the feis organizers after the event. The fee should be aligned with the standard fees paid for in-person events in the area where the feis is being hosted, and can be negotiated by the feis committee to the satisfaction of all parties; and
- FeisFWD pays the organizer their feis income, minus professional fees and bank/wire transfer fees where applicable. A deposit may be provided during the entry process to allow feis organizers to purchase awards or pay staff.
WHAT CAN TEACHERS OR FEIS ORGANIZERS SEE?
- No one can view the video content except for adjudicators;
- Teachers can set up a school profile, and if you have registered as their student, they can see what feiseanna you are entered in, and which competitions you are signed up for under their school name;
- When a parent or dancer over 18 signs up, they can allow for their teacher to see their video content in their account settings.
- Teachers can see all results from all adjudicators including raw scores and comments, after public feis results are posted;
- Feis organizers can see a record of all entries, payments, and any messages directed at them for questions or concerns regarding the event; and
- Feis organizers can pull reports about the event including participant lists, budget items and school lists.
CAN I SEE WHO IS IN MY COMPETITION?
- Where requested, e-programs, lists of participating schools, numbers of competitors in each age group, and dancer lists will be published for each event. Registrants can opt to allow their name to appear on a public listing of participants;
- After the competition all participants can see the results, and the names of the competitors that placed including their scores, but not their personal remarks; and
- A post-event highlight reel option, if selected, may show videos of some of the competitors and/or winners at the discretion of the feis committee.
WHO IS OPERATING THIS SOFTWARE?
The software has been designed and produced by Nick Germaine. Nick was introduced to the Irish Dance realm through contract work for a well-known Irish Dance music app (FEIS) as its IT specialist and back-end developer. Other stakeholders and employees will be engaged but will have limited access to the actual files and function of the software.
See more about Nick on the "ABOUT" tab in the menu.
HOW IS THE PRICE SET FOR ENTRIES?
Feis organizers set the entry fee to accommodate their budget. We can help with a budget template and costing calculator.
These are factors that affect the fees:
- Professional fees: Adjudicator services are paid per judge, for a set number of videos, determined by the feis organizer and agreed by the judge;
- A licensing fee, for a musician’s playlist for dancers to use. All dancers get to compete with the same music, and there is no charge or need to pay for purchasing a specific track or subscription;
- Awards: Feis organizers may choose to purchase any number of awards at a wide variety of quality and type. Awards can also be virtual by way of a certificate of recognition (we have artists on call to help create something beautiful for you!) or, a gift certificate or gift card for a store or service;
- Postage (where applicable), insurance, legal and administrative charges; and
- Tabulation: We offer competitive pricing for events of all sizes.
These fees cover our services including customer service, development and IT support, training for organizers, online
payment fees, video file uploads, security, encryption, storage, and streaming secure video traffic to the adjudicators.
I AM NOT SURE HOW TO BEST FILM MY DANCER(s) FOR ONLINE EVENTS
- We have a detailed step-by-step guide on the help page;
- We will be creating some additional supports such as video walkthrough guides and example submissions – stay tuned!
- We can offer support and communications on how to best film dancers and will do our best to answer your questions.
MORE FAQ ITEMS COMING SOON – based on parent and teacher questions we will update this list regularly!