King O Sullivan Winterfeis was held January 26-27, 2018 at the Marriot Evergreen Resort within Stone Mountain Park, Georgia. Instrumental music and vocal competitions were held Friday evening. Grades, championships, figures, specials, art, and baking competitions were held Saturday. New this year were the additional Second Chance competitions for Novice, Prizewinner, and Championship dancers. This feis is the traditional start of the new feis season for Atlanta area dancers. Sadly, due largely to the severe flu going around, attendance was lower than usual.
Posts By: Mellie Wilkes
Feis ATL was held November 18, 2017, at the Renaissance Waverly Marriott, in Atlanta, GA. This feis is hosted by the Drake School of Irish Dance. Usually, this means fun, fabulous, crowded, and chaotic. Thankfully, this new venue handled the crowds and chaos beautifully. See also Venue.
VENUE: 10 out of 10
The Renaissance Waverly Marriott was a new experience for the Wilkes family. Hotel feisanna are not my favorite. This hotel convention center was a surprise. The ballrooms were large enough to handle the crowds. Music carry over was not an issue. Bathrooms were kept cleaned and stocked. Ash had a couple of options for his feis coffee, which made the feis more pleasant for the entire family. For younger siblings, there were a few entertaining options. Besides the escalators in the lobby, Feis ATL used a rented ballroom to show How to Train Your Dragon. Those staying in the hotel also had the option of a heated indoor pool.
Celtic Rose Feis 2017 was held October 21, 2017, at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center, near Emory University. The Celtic trilogy feiseanna are all hosted by the Rowena Ryan Irish Dance Academy. This feis offered several specials and cultural competitions, in addition to the regular ones. These included Gaelic spoken word, parent/child, Celtic art, soda bread, soft shoe, and hard shoe specials. This was the first feis, in a two feis weekend.
VENUE 7 out of 10
Hotel feis. Not my personal favorite. Crowded, chaotic. A Fire Marshall nightmare. It was also quite a challenge to reach. That being said, the Wilkes family did stay in the hotel. It was well appointed, clean, and the staff we encountered were friendly. Except when they were dealing with ballroom access bathroom problems. Or when the Georgia Tech football team event and the feis couldn’t seem to work out hallway traffic difficulties. They did get chairs out of the back closets for grandparents waiting in the confusion, which was kind of them. It also appeared to be strongly encouraged by the Georgia Tech football team staff. Velvet ropes were put into use in a couple of areas. But, otherwise, the staff was friendly. Several feis attendees were seen posing for photos with the football players.
If you are like me, you have just dropped a chunk of change on Irish dancing. This could have been for a workshop, dance camp, private lessons, school dance costume, or new dance shoes. Possibly even (gasp) a new feis vest or solo dress! Anyway you look at it, you just spent a lot of money.
But, your dancer still has a feis bag to supply. Fear not! At least that part of the equation does not have to be quite so expensive. You can stock their feis bag and still have enough to join Ash Wilkes, or Mr. WTF, for a feis coffee.
The, possibly, 20th anniversary Feis Na Tara was held February 27-28, 2015. The feis was held at the Marriott Atlanta Airport. This feis holds competitions on Friday night and all day Saturday. The Devil Went Down to Georgia treble reel is a popular event for all ages. These are held on Friday night. This year, the proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior fund. This feis also offers competitions in Celtic Art, Music, Vocals, Gaelic, and Baking. These are in addition to the grades, championships, and figure competitions.
The Raleigh Feis was held February 6 and 7, 2015. Even though it is called the Raleigh Feis, it was held in the Durham Convention Center, in downtown Durham, North Carolina. This feis put the Ish in Irish. Registration began at 6ish on Friday evening. The competitions began at 8ish on Saturday. The stages were handled in a professional-ish manner. After all, enough is as good as a feast, isn’t it? This was the first feis, in a long time, where we have not heard Quiet in the Hall. So this was also a quiet-ish feis. The feis had something for all ages and abilities. The feis offered competitions in Celtic instrumental music and vocals. They also offered Celtic Art and Baking competitions. The main feis competitions were supplemented by treble reels, traditional and non traditional sets specials, and the Maureen Harling-Welty charity reel specials.
Well, aren’t you big stuff? Attending your first Oireachtas is very special indeed. Whether you are attending to watch the solos, teams, traditional set, or some combination thereof, let me be the first to congratulate you. Take a moment and enjoy the accomplishment of being invited to attend your first Oireachtas.
Let me assure you, it is even more important for the dancer you are going to watch.
Oireachtas, in short, is a regional competition. It has been called, by wittier writers than myself, a big ole honkin’ feis. But, I would disagree. At a feis, there are baking, art, music, vocal, dance, and special competitions. The Oireachtas would be better classified as a big ole honkin’ feile. See also What The Feis Dance Terms. At the Oireachtas, there are only dance competitions. The majority of the competitions are solos. This is followed by 4 hand and 8 hand teams, figure choreography, and dance drama. There are also traditional set competitions at some regional Oireachtas.
Feis ATL was held November 14th and 15th of 2014, at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. This was a Drake feis, which means fun, fabulous, chaotic, and crowded. The feis offered competitions in musical instruments, vocals, Celtic art work, baking, traditional and non traditional sets, treble reels, and a Dancer of the Day award, in addition to the regular feis competition schedule.
In the tradition of fun and fabulous, this feis offered some unexpected surprises. Friday night, there was a casual Irish music session in the registration hall. On Saturday, the FROZEN princesses made appearances and lead a pre awards show sing-a-long. On Saturday night, they held a post feis luau at the hotel pool for feis attendees.
The American Pride Feis was held September 12 and 13, in Nashville, TN. The feis was located inside the Convention Center of the lovely Gaylord Opryland Resort. This feis was sponsored by the Tennessee Irish Dance Organization. The school behind the feis is the Southern Academy of Irish Dance. The feis offered multiple competitions, including baking, art, instrumental music, Tir Na Nog, First Feis, and charity treble reel competitions. This year’s charity treble reel proceeds went to the Navy Seal Foundation. (Go Navy!) This year’s feis was very well organized and well run. It may well become one of the top Southern Region feisanna to attend, much like Nation’s Capital and Rhythm of Ireland.
A contribution by my friend Mellie Wilkes who thought some of you would find it useful. Thanks Mellie!
So, an amazingly talented friend or family member has invited YOU to a feis?
The following are some suggestions and tips, to help in your first feis experience.
- Water bottle
- Snack bar
- Chocolate bar
- Ink pen
- Hand sanitizer
- Cash in small bills
- Plenty of time
- Sense of humor
Bonus points for packing the following:
- Black duct tape
- Black electrical tape
- White electrical tape
- Safety pins
- Bobby pins
- Also, read the following blog for a better understanding of feis terminology.
EDITORS NOTE: I didn’t tell her to put that in here, but I do think its brilliant ;)
Try to arrive 30-45 minutes beforehand. Parking at any event can be a challenge. A feis is no exception. The competitions can happen very quickly. It would be a shame, to arrive at a feis and the dancer you came to see has finished for the day. So, arrive EARLY!