Cincinnati Feis 2015 PC/OC Review

Be sure to take a look at the previous posts. I am streamlining this one a bit so as not to get to repetitive.

Before I get to the review, I want to give props to the Cincinnati Feis Committee. Not only did they read and comment on last years review, but before the feis this year, when I commented on the What The Feis facebook page, a member of the Cincinnati Feis facebook page commented that they had addressed the concerns from last year. Way to be proactive!



The 32nd Annual Cincinnati Feis was held on November 15, 2015 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, KY. We have attended this feis a number of time, and this is the first year at the Open Champion level.

I did do a few walk thoughs on the second floor where the grades were, but this review captures my thoughts on the Champ area. If anyone has thoughts or opinions on the Grades level, please let me know and I will be sure to get them added, anonymously is you wish.


The venue was the same as the few previous years, and I have always liked this venue. Last years comments are still appropriate for this year, so I will not repeat.

A few notes from this year:

  • Climate control seemed to be an issue, especially in the camping/dining area on the first floor. Warm in the morning, and cold, not cool, by the end of the day.
  • And speaking of the camping/dining area, and I know the feis committee has no control over this, but the greasy food smell was so overwhelming in that room, we actually moved TGCs dress out of the area so as not to take the smell home with us.
  • The Vendor setup between the camping area and the champs stage area was not optimal. There was a bottleneck where people could pass each other but one vendor table was set up where if anyone was browsing the table, the flow was restricted, and inevitably, people would browse, stop and chat, etc… and traffic to/from the champs area was stopped.
    • There were some vendors on the second level, and there was a ton of room in the side hall that was not being used, hint, hint 🙂

For more on the venue, please see last years review.


At the end of the stage review for last year it said:

The stages themselves appeared to be made of plywood (although my dancer insisted they did not feel like normal stages) & were a decent size. However, they were the slipperiest stages I have ever seen at a feis, and we’ve been at this game for almost 4 years now. I saw dancers at every age & level, in both soft shoe & hard shoe slip & fall all day long on all 4 grades stages. My own dancer slipped in 2 dances & took a full out fall in a 3rd (and we did douse the soles of her shoes in sprite to try & prevent slips/falls). The feis did put wet towels at the side of the stage for the dancers to rub their shoes in & I did see stages being mopped during the lunch break, but the sheer number of slips/falls we saw was completely unacceptable.

This alone would keep me from coming back to this feis next year – it is extremely disappointing to have driven 5 hours to a feis, only to find that the quality of the stages is this poor.

This is the exact point the Feis Committee addressed in their comments on my facebook page, and I quote:

you will be happy to know we painted all our stages this year and we have Sticky Mats that were used at the NAIDC to help prevent the slipperiness of the stages from the carpet fibers at the NKYCC! See you Sunday – thanks for your support

And I am pleased to report, it appeared to work!

I did not see any slips this year, and heard no complaints from other feis goers. I did see one dancer appear to trip over a stage seam, but that was really the only issue I saw.

The stage monitors appeared to be watching and picked up any foreign objects between dances.

Good job on the stages Cinci!


They ran the Champs area like it will be run at Oireachtas. Three dances, three different stages, three judges on each stage, so a dancer was judged by 9 judges. That is some pretty good judging. I think that is great exposure for the dancers and prep for the O.

A side note: As I watched the judges, as one dancer finished their set, one judge turned to another and shook their head, then put their hand up to their mouth and followed their gesture with some comment. Sorry, but that was completely unprofessional.


The three stages had some pretty good separation, but the music bleed in the viewers area was terrible. It did not appear to affect the dancers however, at least not as far as I could tell, but it made it weird to watch.


Sorry, but not a fan. The fact that you could not bring in outside food made your options what was available in the dining area. They had a large selection, but if you wanted anything warm it was a very slow process, and we hit the tables before the lunch rush, so I can’t imagine what it was like on the actual lunch break. The food was not horrible, but not worth the price, and they were charging $3 for a 12 oz soda.


Cincinnati has a nice podium with 5 places for the PC/OC awards, lots of room for dancers and seats for viewers, and a great sound system so you can hear the announcements. They also have SASHES for the top 5 places, the ultimate prize for the champs! They also give glassware to the top 3 places and candy for all the placements.

That being said, I heard some grumblings as to why the Grades got medals and champs got Hershey Bars, and one mom actually said, and no it was not TGCs mom, ‘it’s like they fill the jars with leftover Halloween candy.’ Sorry Cinci, I gotta call it like I hear it. If it is any consolation, TGC really enjoyed the candy last year when she placed in the prelim level.

One other note, it seems like the committee holds results and does a few comps at a time. Though there is room, it would make it less congested to spread the awards out every 15 – 30 minutes if that is an option.

Feis Flow

It was an extremely long day. I am not sure exactly where the PCs ended and the OCs started compared to the lunch schedule, but lunch did not get done till 115ish. By 430, TGC had still not done set, and they were still going strong on all three stages. Needless to say, we were still waiting for awards at 6. If the feis committee wanted to make it like Oireachtas, they did a pretty good job.

I am afraid I have to say that there were lots of grumblings about the flow, from dancers, parents and even from some of the committee.

Sorry, I have no opinions on how to make it better, but faster would be good 🙂


As I read this, I think my grumpy old man card is showing. I like this feis, have always enjoyed it in the past, except for that stage thing last year, and think the committee is very dedicated to making this the very best feis they can. This year however, I think they fell a bit short in some areas.

What did you think?

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Cincinnati Feis 2014 Grades, A Second Opinion…

Kelly took the time to capture her insight in a review, and even though we already had a Cinci Grades review, I feel all inputs could provide something valuable to our readers, so without further ado, The Cinci Feis, A Second Opinion.

Cincinnati-Feis-LogoFullFeis Info

The 31st annual Cincinnati Feis was held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center on November 2nd, 2014.  This feis was broken up on 2 floors with food, most vendors, camping, and champ comps on the first floor.  The 2nd floor hosted grade comps, grades results/ awards, tshirts, used dresses, and a really sweet little spot for selfies and photos.

Administration/Communication – 7

The feis committee did a good job with communication and pre-feis administration.  They were good about announcing the opening and closing of registration on facebook, twitter, as well as their website (www.  Communication was good regarding vendors, camping issues, parking, stage layout, etc.   Communication where the schedule was concerned was awesome! After the initial stage assignments were released, the committee decided to merge some of the groups so the competitions would count for advancement and sent out several messages about this to let people know right away stage assignments were going to change (and why).  This group also gets extra points from me for using QuickFeis. LOVE the printed judge comments. LOVE the live results on-line. LOVE that you get to see exactly where your dancer fell in the pack (instead of seeing either just a placement or “did not place”).    Knowing whether your dancer would dance before or after lunch was also very much appreciated. Hopefully one of these days, though, QuickFeis wall results will include either the dancer’s name or school name instead of just numbers. It’s hard to check on the results of your friends when all you have access to are numbers, but that’s QuickFeis and beyond the control of the committee.

There was a lot of confusion regarding what was or was not allowed to be near the grade level stages regarding zucas, dress bags, etc.  Facebook communication stated there was to be NO camping in the ballroom upstairs due to the venue fire code.  However, there was a lot of discrepancy as to what could or could not be brought upstairs, whether items were allowed outside of the ballroom, if the issue was just what was allowed on the escalator, etc.   Some facility workers were very strict, others were not…It was confusing and hopefully will be worked out by next year. It would also have been fantastic if social media had been used to inform competitors of when stages were resuming after lunch.  Having all food and camping downstairs led to a lot of unnecessary stress and rumors that stages were starting ahead of schedule…simple announcements like “Stage 5 competition resuming in 10 minutes” via facebook and twitter would be a fantastic idea for next year.

Venue – 8

The venue itself was gorgeous. It was already all decked out for Christmas (which some hated, but my dancer and I loved it!). There was even a sweet little podium set up in front of the Christmas tree display on the 2nd floor for photos.  Nice touch!  Anyway, upon entering the venue you were greeted by the vendors and registration was just inside the main doors. My dancer was scheduled to dance after lunch, so we arrived around 11. Registration was smooth and painless.  We set-up camp in the designated area which, if the stages were downstairs, was actually a really nice place to set-up camp.  The space was near bathrooms and away from all the noise and intensity of the competition; it was just a nice, quiet place to eat, think, chill with friends, regroup, etc.  However, having all camping items downstairs was definitely inconvenient, especially for dancers who were injured while dancing (and due to the poor stage conditions, there were many of those. More on that later….).

There were plenty of bathrooms, an elevator, and an escalator.  Results and awards were also very convenient to the stages on the 2nd floor.  It was quite nice.

Stages – 3

The condition of the stages, in my opinion, was unacceptable.  While very generous in size, they were like ice (even in soft shoes) and quite bouncy.  I could not count the number of slips and falls I witnessed on every. single. stage.  This was a problem before and after lunch, and stages were only cleaned during the lunch break . That was it. With so many slips and falls, I feel it was irresponsible of the team running this feis to not ensure someone would mop the stages at least between judges.  I observed a sweet mom taping her child’s hard shoes then demanding that one of her competitors also let her tape that dancer’s shoes so she wouldn’t fall.  Another mom was seen tapping each and every hardshoe of dancers sitting in chairs and waiting to compete.  I did love seeing all this motherly affection poured out on these dancers, but it also made me a bit angry that it was necessary. On stage 7, a dancer fell during her slip jig.  The mother immediately spoke with the stage monitors (who seemed unaware and, sadly, unconcerned).  She was told the stages were mopped during the lunch break and the dancers should know to wet their shoes. ??????  They did put down a damp cloth for the dancers to walk on before taking the stage after speaking with that mom, but it did not make a difference.   I really hope they invest in new stages next year as this was a big damper on an otherwise fantastic feis.

Judges and Musician – 7

There was only 1 shared musician on stages 5 & 6, which was nice.  I’m not a fan of the shared musician as it always seems to slow competitions and generally causes stage conflicts, but we were not on these stages so I don’t know how well this one worked.  We had a fiddle on our stage and there was an accordion on the others, but there was little music bleeding and the dancers seemed to be able to hear just fine.  My dancer saw only 1 judge for all of her light shoes which was kind of disappointing.  She had different judges for both of her hard shoe dances.  Judge rotation could’ve been a bit better.

Vendors – 8 

There were some cool vendors at this feis.  There was a vendor who made darling Irish dance wear for 18” dolls and a great vendor selling Celtic gifts and jewelry along with the standard shoes, wigs, feis shirts, and dance swag.

 Food – N/A

We did not purchase anything beyond Starbucks at this feis, so I can’t speak to anything regarding food.  My dancer and I did, however, REALLY appreciate having a Starbucks right there.  J

Results – 9

The speed of result posting was close to the speed of light. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but they were incredibly quick.  My dancer’s TJ results were pretty slow (around 30 minutes), but that was an exception.  Well done!

Feis Flow – 9

Again, I think the rate of the flow was something akin to the speed of sound. However, I majored in English, not science, so my estimation could be a little off. 😉  My dancer started dancing around 1. She danced 3 soft shoe dances and 2 hard shoe dances and was finished, with results, by 3:30.  LOVED the efficiency, but I would’ve been willing to have the feis run a little slower due to frequent stage cleaning.  I would’ve traded speed for safety in a New York minute.

The stage schedule was very nice as it was broken up by feis age and not by grade level.  There were only a few merges between ages, so there seemed to be very few stage conflicts. Few stage conflicts always, always, always makes for a more enjoyable feis experience.  Sticking to the plan to end the comps of dancers up to U11 before lunch and keeping U13 and older after lunch also made for an anxiety-free flow and I didn’t observe anyone miss a dance due to a stage conflict.

Overall Rating – 8

See you next year, Cincinnati Feis!

Add Your Vote To The Poll!

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Cincinnati Feis 2014 Grades Review

Cincinnati-Feis-LogoFullThe 31st Annual Cincinnati Feis was held on November 2, 2014 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, KY. This is the 1st time we have attended this feis, and overall, we had a pleasant experience. This review is mainly aimed at the Grades experience at this feis. As this feis divided grades by age (with younger dancers in the morning session & older dancers in the afternoon), we attended only the morning grades session, so this review covers only that piece of things.


The feis was held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. The venue is connected to the Cincinnati Riverwalk Marriott, and the feis secured a relatively reasonable rate for attendees.

Parking was available in the Marriott’s garage, as well as in an open lot across the street. Since we drove in from about 5 hours away, we stayed overnight & parked in the Marriott’s garage. I felt that the $10 we paid for parking from 5:00 PM Saturday until 1:30 PM Sunday was quite reasonable, but other options may have been less expensive.

Registration was right inside the entryway. There was a bit of a line to check in, but the volunteers kept things moving & my dancer was checked in fairly quickly and easily.

We did not spend much time checking out the vendors, but as list of vendors can be seen at

Restrooms were convenient, clean & well stocked. I never had to wait in line in the ladies room, which was nice.

Grades stages were located on the 2nd floor of the building, while PC/OC stages were on the 1st floor. The one negative was that Zucas were not allowed on the escalator that took people from the 1st floor to the 2nd, and this being a convention center, it was more than just 1 regular flight of stairs between floors, so I definitely got my exercise that morning!

There was no camping on the second floor (at least not that I saw), but there was sufficient room for everyone’s gear at the stages. There were chairs at all the stages & people generally seemed polite & respectful of space – I didn’t see a lot of gear left on chairs that people could have been sitting on.

There was some space for practicing, but not a whole lot of it. The younger dancers were able to make sufficient room to run through dancers, but the older dancers attending in the afternoon might have had more trouble.

Overall Venue Score: 8/10.


After this feis, I felt that stages really needed their own category in my reviews, as in some cases, they can make or break a feis.

The feis had 7 stages this year – 4 for grades & 3 for PC/OC. The PC/OC stages (1-3, were on the 1st floor in what appeared to be a large ballroom, while the grades stages (4-7) were on the 2nd floor in another large room. Stage 4 was in a corner by itself, and stage 7 was in another corner by itself. Stages 5-6 were together near the center of the room, and shared a musician. The setup worked well – there was no music bleed over & there was plenty of room to move around in the room.

The stages themselves appeared to be made of plywood (although my dancer insisted they did not feel like normal stages) & were a decent size. However, they were the slipperiest stages I have ever seen at a feis, and we’ve been at this game for almost 4 years now. I saw dancers at every age & level, in both soft shoe & hard shoe slip & fall all day long on all 4 grades stages. My own dancer slipped in 2 dances & took a full out fall in a 3rd (and we did douse the soles of her shoes in sprite to try & prevent slips/falls). The feis did put wet towels at the side of the stage for the dancers to rub their shoes in & I did see stages being mopped during the lunch break, but the sheer number of slips/falls we saw was completely unacceptable.

This alone would keep me from coming back to this feis next year – it is extremely disappointing to have driven 5 hours to a feis, only to find that the quality of the stages is this poor.

Overall Stage Score: 0/10.


My dancer danced 5 times and was seen by 4 judges. I thought that was excellent rotation, particularly for a feis that moved as quickly as this one did. My dancer’s judges seemed attentive, but unfortunately didn’t provide many comments.

Judge Score: 8/10


The musicians did a nice job playing consistently. There was very little bleed over from stage to stage & I didn’t notice excessive breaks or timing issues or anything like that. The musician on stage 4 played some lesser known songs, which did throw some of the dancers for a bit of a loop, but as a parent, I appreciated the change of pace from the standard songs that are stuck in my head for 3 days post-feis.

Music Score: 9/10


We did not partake in any of the food offered by the feis, but options/prices looked to be standard convention fare. A full list of food offerings & prices can be seen at

Food Score: 7/10


This was a Quickfeis feis, so results were fast & simple. Results were posted on a wall, but you could also simply hand your number card to a volunteer at the awards table, who looks you up in the computer, prints out all your results (including comments & exact placements!) and hands you your awards.

We don’t check results until our dancer is finished with all her dances, so I don’t know how fast results were posted during the day, but she got in line to pick up awards within 10 minutes of finishing her dances & was able to get all her results immediately.

This year, the feis was also posting results online. I believe they were updated every 30 minutes or so, so it was probably faster to simply walk over to the awards table, but it did allow folks who weren’t able to attend the feis to see how friends had placed.

Placements appeared to be generous – I am not sure of the exact formula, but it appeared to me that the feis placed either through 5th place or half the dancers, depending on level & the size of the group. I doubt many dancers went home empty handed, which I like – it’s nice to see the dancers have a little something to show for their hard work, in my opinion.

Medals were awarded for all grades placements, and trophies were given out for 1st place in Open Prizewinner. The medals were very nice quality & best of all, they came with the ribbons already attached (other feiseanna, please take note – parents LOVE this!!!). The trophies were also nice quality – small, but well made.

Results/Awards Score: 10/10

Feis Flow

For grades, this feis was run by dance, but was divided by age, with younger dancers in the morning & older dancers in the afternoon, which meant people were in & out fairly quickly. My dancer started dancing around 9:15, and was done around 11:15, so things moved very quickly.

Feis Flow Score: 10/10

Overall Score: 7/10

A solid score overall, but this feis was definitely hampered by the poor quality stages. We are unlikely to attend again next year because of that issue, and I heard several others make similar comments.

What did you think?

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Cincinnati Feis Review

Quick post regarding the Cincinnati Feis that was held on June 10th. I meant to post this right after the feis but had one of those weeks. 

Overall I liked the feis.  It was held at the Cintas Center at Xavier University and the venue was nice.  Lots of seats where you could both camp and view the stages. It was an ‘arena’ so the food was a bit pricey and was the typical fare,  pizza,  hot dogs,  pretzels,  etc….  The vendors were very limited,  shoes and wigs were represented but not much else.

Awards and scoring were handled really well and judges changed frequently which is more fair in this reporters opinion. Awards were listed right next to the stages which was convenient and the results were posted very quickly so kudos to them for that too.

Overall, What The Feis gives this feis a 7.5 out of 10.