Quincy Feis Review 2014

Special Thanks to Boston Feis Dad for sending in this review. Hopefully it is the first of many!

The 2014 Quincy Feis sponsored by the Forbes School of Irish Dance was held Sunday March 30th at the North Quincy High School in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Venue

This Feis was originally scheduled to be held at the Quincy High School but had to be moved to the North Quincy High school due to a double-booking. This information was posted on the school website, and also mentioned in the email from Feisweb that provided the dancer card. One main concern with this venue was a serious lack of parking. The school is located in a city just outside of Boston where the major means of transportation are bus or train. The school lot was very small, with many people being forced to park illegally at surrounding businesses, or on side streets that were posted with time limits of 1-2 hours. We all know that 1-2 hours at a Feis is simply not realistic. People had to leave their cars where they could, and had to hope not to be ticketed or towed.

Once inside we found that the Feis was running at least an hour late, and by the time my daughter danced it was closer to an hour-and-a-half late. The school was large but only a small part of it was being used and it felt very cramped. There were 8 stages, one for opens in an auditorium, and the other 7 in the gym. 6 stages were all in one area with 3 connected in a row back to back with another 3 stages. The stages were small and cramped, and more than a few times dancers found themselves on the wrong stage, leading to 4, and sometimes as many as 5 dancers on one small stage at a time. The 7th stage was in an adjacent area separated by a large plastic curtain. Seating was in the form of bleachers on one side of 3 stages, and standing room only on the others. The groups of dancers were large and were split at the time that they danced so some people would be forced to move once they had found a spot to watch their dancer as they were moved to a different stage.

Camping was here, there, and everywhere. From under the results, to all around the stages, and in the cafeteria. This left little room to try and view the results, let the volunteers stage the kids before dancing, or find a spot to practice a few steps.

Judges

My daughter danced four times and had the same judge for all 3 soft shoe dances, and a different judge for her hard shoe dance. There did not seem to be much in the way of a rotation for the judges. They also seemed to be getting a bit irritated by the confusion that came when a new group would take the stage and they would need to split the group due to it’s large number.

Musicians

As I said above, there was an area with 6 interconnected stages. These stages were all served by a SINGLE musician. This definitely led to the feis running behind schedule as all 6 stages could only move as fast as the slowest stage. Once you start factoring in different speeds for hard shoe dances, and the various options for the traditional set, you have a lot of dancers waiting around for their turn to dance. Another issue with the music is that the musician from the 7th stage could be heard at the other 6 stages and vice-versa due to insufficient separation. I also heard that one of the musicians early in the day was quite poor, and that the music was not being played at the proper speed.

Food

We had an after lunch start so we didn’t eat there. From the looks of it though the majority of people who were eating had soda and pizza, not much else looked to be offered.

Vendors

There were not many vendors at this Feis, and those who were there were very difficult to get to as they were sharing space in the cafeteria with people eating, changing and camping. I suppose if I NEEDED something I would have tried to make my way over, but the cramped space discouraged casual browsing.

Results & Awards

Results seemed to be coming out very slowly, which was unexpected as my daughter was part of the first group that danced after the lunch break. I assumed that they had caught up on all pre-lunch competitions during the break and while the after lunch comps were being danced. Then there was an issue with my dancer’s results. Due to confusion with splitting groups the judge had put the wrong competition number for her group. As the large group of frustrated parents, and tired dancers continued to wait word trickled through the crowd of the mistake made it’s way around and we found that our results had been on the wall for quite some time, just no one from Feisweb or the school had bothered to mention it. I can’t even imagine what happened when the competition that used the number that had been wrongly attributed to my daughter’s comps came through later in the afternoon.

Feis Flow

As I’m sure you have gleaned from the above sections, the flow was pretty bad at this feis. From a lack of parking, to cramped quarters, ever changing stages, and lots of standing around waiting for other stages to get done for the music to change.

Scoring

I am not going to score this feis as I do not think it would be entirely fair due to the forced venue change because of a double booking of the original venue. I did not attend the previous year’s feis, as my daughter wasn’t feising yet, but I hope that next year’s will be better organized.

 So What Did You Think?

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