This is my second year reviewing this feis although we have been here a few times. You can see the last review here.
Venue – As I said last year, the Expo Center is a great venue for a feis. People at the feis even commented that it was their favorite venue. However, last year I also said “probably could have taped off a bigger area for camping then they actually did, since the camping filled up and became difficult to navigate in and out of, but the annoyance was minor” and maybe I was a little too subtle. There is a ton of open area that could have been used for camping, but they taped off the same inadequate area this year and people were openly irritated. TAPE OFF A BIGGER CAMPING AREA IN 2014 PLEASE!
There, got that off my chest. Other than that, it was great!
There were 5 stages again this year and stages 1 & 2 (the OC/PC stages) were huge, 32 x 32 as far as I could tell. The remaining stages were all 24 x 24 and were bigger than the average stage I see at other feiseanna. Each stage had lots of chairs for the audience.
I saw a few slips but did see the staff mopping the stages (at least the one that we were on) at lunch, and the monitors were very good at cleaning up any foreign objects that happened to fall off dancers while they danced.
Parking, as last year, was plentiful but if you didn’t get there early, like at 8am, you were going to have to park out a ways. There is a drop zone available though.
Venue Score: 7.5 (down a little from last year due to camping situation)
Judges – The girl child had three dances and was judged by two different judges. Generally I would say that was not great, but on our stage they rotated a few times during the morning comps and it just so happened that the same judge rotated back to judge her again in the afternoon. One of the Moms told me that on her stage, her dancer had the same judge for 4 dances. I think that is unacceptable and could give unfair advantage (or disadvantage) to the dancers.
Judge Score: 5
Music – All stages had their own music and were spaced well enough so as not to bleed over.
On a side note, the nice lady at the concession stand told me she did not realize there was live music at these events. Oh, and that the music was very repetitive. We may not see her work the stand next year ;)
Musician Score: 9
Food – Same menu as last year, burgers, brats and dogs, pretzels, pizza, salad, sandwiches, drinks and some breakfast items. The food prices were good but the drink prices were (IMHO) very high. $4 or $5 sandwiches and the quality was ok, but a soda was $2.50 for a bottle. They had beer, but I did not see the price on that.
Food Score: 8.5
Vendors – Vendors were the standard list which you can see here. George the shoe guy, the wig ladies, the Zuca couple from Georgia, the ribbon lady, one Irish swag guy who sold sweatshirts, posters and a few other things, t-shirt vendor and a photographer.
The only noticeable change (to me) was that the feis t-shirts were not pre-printed like last year, and you could ‘customize’ them a bit, otherwise same-o same-o.
Vendor Score: 8.5
Results – Results were posted on the wall in about 15 minutes and that is excellent in my opinion. No apparent Twitter or Facebook posts, but I did not search very hard for them, so if any of you saw them, please let me know.
Awards were right next to the results and were divided by comps instead of by stages, not sure if that helped or not, but TGC never had to wait long for her awards.
I also like the gems that some of the dancers get for 1st place, nice touch.
The other thing I liked is that they had comments ready to be picked up within about 30 minutes of the dancers being finished. Not sure that was in every case, but it was in ours.
Results Score: 9.5
Feis Flow – Feis flow was just OK. They had 10 age comps on our stage and they all did the same dance before starting the next dance. I know that is how it usually goes, but with comps having sometimes over 20 dancers, it made for a long wait between dances. I think this wears on the dancers. I know it wears on the parents.
This venue is so large I think they could add a stage or two to help spread the comps out a little. I say that with the caveat that I do not know availability of judges, musicians etc… so this may not be an option, but it would be nice.
All that being said, we started around 11 and were done a little after 3ish with an hour lunch in there, so it was not horrible, but we got there early in case things went quick… you know how that goes, long day.
Feis Flow Score: 7
The feis score consists of Judging, Music, Results and Flow and the overall includes everything.
Feis Score: 7.625
Overall Score (aka the WTF Rating): 7.85