I have been to four (at least) feis at this venue between the Halloween Feis and The West Virginia Feis. Yes, I said WV. It is at the same venue as the Halloween Feis which is actually between Pittsburgh and WV, but I digress. My first few experiences (one & two) were not my favorite, but number three was much better. The fact that TGC has moved up into the PC ranks, really helps the ‘likeability’ of this feis since the champs portion is held on Sunday. Not taking away from the great job the feis team does on Saturday mind you, but Sunday is just better. Can I get a ‘yeah man!’
The Pittsburgh Halloween Feis was held on Saturday and Sunday, October 4th and 5th, 2014 at Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Pittsburgh Airport in Pittsburgh, PA.
NOTE: This is for the PC/OC day of the feis (Sunday). If you have comments for the Grades day of the feis, please contact me and I can share them in a separate post, thanks!
After re-reading my review of the WV Feis from March, my comments for this feis are almost exactly the same, so much so that I am just going to quote them here, and I will indicate any differences I noticed.
Stages 1 and 2 were in the large ballroom and were separated by a temporary partition. This was a much better setup than having 3 stages in the same room and allowed more chairs for viewers and better traffic flow. Combine that with less people and it was a win-win.
Stages were huge, I am guessing 30 x 30ish, or maybe bigger. It was hard to tell since they covered the normal 4 x 8 sheets of plywood (which is how I do my normal measuring) with that black material which made a much better dance platform. I did not see any falls and only one minor slip while I was watching the competitions.
Due to the level of the dancers, results were announced instead of posted. This was in the hallway on the way to the back doors and blocked the hallway completely, which was an inconvenience but only minor (depending of course on who you ask).
Camping seemed adequate and I saw no NO CAMPING signs. People did fill up viewers chairs and the tables that had been set up in one of the side rooms, but I rant about that elsewhere if you are interested. There were lots of chairs though, and we did not have any trouble finding seats.
The concessions and vendors were setup in the halls as in years past, but with less people, it wasn’t as congested.
Parking was plentiful but may have involved a bit of a walk depending on when you arrived. There was a way to pull right up to the hotel to drop off dancers and gear though. The feis did pay for parking which was cool and saved me $13.
PC/OC always has 3 judges monitoring the performance. You really don’t get much better than that. The judges seemed attentive on our stage and took no breaks that I saw.
Each stage had their own musician and there was a lot of distance between them. I could not hear the music from the other stage when I was watching dancers perform on our stage.
Same as for the last feis, breakfast sandwiches… all reasonably priced.
We were not there long enough for lunch so I cannot comment on that food. There are some previous comments in previous posts.
They had the airbrush artist back which I like. Otherwise the standard feis tshirt guy, shoe booth, jewelry, feis and Irish themed apparel, knit goods, the wig stuff, nic-nacs, paddywacks, etc…
As the morning progressed I was more and more impressed that ‘the feis guy’ would come out and announce ‘awards for X will be in 5 minutes’ about 15 minutes after the comp finished. Based on previous PC experience, this is the best PC/OC results I have seen. TGCs comp did take longer than the others, and was between 30 and 45 minutes, but there were a lot of dancers in her comp, so I can understand the extra time. Even with that, it was handled better than I have seen at this level so far.
I have to echo the same sentiment. Jim (the feis guy) does an excellent job keeping things moving. TGCs results were out in about 30 minutes, and now that I have a few champ feiseanna under my belt, that is pretty darn good.
If there were any negatives on the reults, and these are minor… It would be nice if the top three in both steps were announced instead of just first place. This seems to be the norm elsewhere and it seemed NKR (not quite right) when it wasn’t done here. Secondly, if Jim could slow down a little during the result reading, that would be good. If you have heard him, you know what I mean. That is one fast talker and his thick Pittsburgh accent doesn’t help ;) NOTE: I realize I echo the same sentiment in the last review.
Big KUDOS for feis flow. ‘The feis guy (aka Jim)’ I refer to above was outstanding keeping things going, and keeping people informed on what was going on. I saw a continuous flow of dancers within and between comps, and there was very little down time.
Jim also ran the results and kept that smooth and quick. He does have a ‘not from around here’ accent and speaks quickly, and my wife had a hard time keeping up when he read results, but I had no trouble, of course my Mum has that same accent ;) . If there was any comment, he could slow down a little.
From my viewpoint the flow was handled exceptionally well.
Side Note: Although I did not attend Day 1 of the feis, we pulled in shortly after 4 and were surprised to see day 1 had already wrapped up. That is one quick feis. Nice job.
I think Jim and his team do an outstanding job and from my perspective, this is one of the better run feis in the area. I would easily give it a 9+