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.
PARKING: 8 out of 10
Plenty of hotel parking, at $10 a day hotel rate. The parking lot flow was confusing and poorly marked. This led to problems in navigating the lots. We encountered this upon leaving, not entering. Otherwise, it was a welcome change from the usual challenges of Atlanta parking.
FOOD: 7 out of 10
Great feis specific menu with reasonable prices. Personal pan pizzas for $5, which is the same as our local pizza spot. They also had sandwich plates, fresh fruit, and snack bags at the feis. The down side? Long service wait time, if you ordered at the bar or restaurant.
MUSIC: 7 out of 10
Pianist, violinist, accordianist. Thankfully, the violinist had a beat box hooked up the speaker system. Which was neccesary, considering he was covering music for 3 stages. There was no music carry over, that we noticed. One of our little darlings danced only with the violinist. Another one danced twice on the stages with an accordianist. Champ dancers were largely in a separate ballroom, accompanied by a pianist. Personally, I think they should have moved the violinist to cover a single stage, moved the accordionist to cover the 3 stage room, and put the pianist in the room covering two stages.
JUDGING: 7 out of 10
At a perfectly judged feis, in my opinion, each dance would have a different judge. This feis came close. Close, but no cigar. Two of our darlings danced for 3 different judges. One of our darlings danced for 2 different judges.
RESULTS: 7 out of 10
IFeis kept results coming out in a timely manner. This is the first iFeis feis we have attended that we have not encountered an issue with results, or of using the website at the feis. Their including information sheets with competition numbers probably had something to do with our personal success. Results were posted in a timely manner. They did not award top 50% in most competitions, which was confusing to us. Especially considering that a majority of the competitions contained 15 or more dancers. For example, in a traditional set competition with 10 dancers, only the top 4 were placed.
AWARDS: 8 out of 10
The awards of Drake competitions are usually fun and fabulous. This feis was no exception. Georgia Renaissance fair representatives assisted in giving out the championship awards. Some vendors sponsored championship awards. Top three were given CHAMPION scarves, sashes, and plaques. First place champions also received blankets. Grades received Feis ATL medals with green neck ribbons. Prizewinner, traditional set, and treble reel received Feis ATL star trophies.
VENDORS: 10 out of 10
- Irish dance supplies
- Dress resale rack
- Just about anything an Irish dancer might need, or want, was available for purchase.
- Two vendors carried genuine Cadbury chocolate, so I have decided to give the vendors my highest score. Any time I can buy genuine Cadbury, Is a good time.
FEIS FLOW: 7 out of 10
This would have been higher, if the feis program book had arrived on time. Program books were available for pre order on iFeis.net. All of the details of the feis extras were contained within the feis program books. It told about the music and vocal competitions. It also gave the schedule for the movie showing, the evening Renaissance themed cocktail party, and themed events for the Sunday Hotlanta feis. These would have been very helpful, if they had arrived on time for registration Friday evening. We were not given one until Saturday afternoon.
Stages were run smoothly, which often happens with tablet check ins available with iFeis. Adjudication seemed to be done with relaxed manner on one of the grades stages, as we saw a young dancer approach and speak with an adjudicator on more than one occasion.
SOCIAL MEDIA: 6 out of 10
There is a public Facebook group for Feis ATL and Hotlanta. There is also a feis website. Both of these are updated periodically. They are also quick to respond to questions posted by potential attendees. Unfortunately, it was not utilized during the feis, to announce changes or the themed schedule. IFeis kept the feis stages updated on their website. This was easier to use, and loaded faster, than we have experienced previously. The lateness of the feis schedule posting certainly brought out comments on Facebook and other forums.