The Raleigh Feis is hosted by the Inis Cairde School of Irish Dance. The 2015 Feis was held on Friday February 6th (Adult and Music Comps) and Saturday February 7th (Grade and Champs). The location for the Feis was the Durham Marriott Convention Center in Durham, NC. Information regarding the feis was available on their website Raleigh Feis. This is the third time we have attended the Raleigh Feis. We like it for it’s location and the size of the competitions not too small, not too big. This area of Durham is up and coming and is surrounded by eclectic restaurants and shops. Many of these places are within walking distance to the Feis.
The venue for 2015 was the same as 2014–Durham Convention Center, conveniently attached to the Feis Hotel, Durham Marriott City Center. The ballrooms (used for champs) were spacious and there was not a feel of overcrowding in the Champs competition areas. Air temperature inside the rooms was cool. Even the hallways were not as jam packed as many feisianna we have attended.
A feis rate of 121.00 was offered with a daily fee of 12.00 for parking (valet only). For those guests not staying at the hotel, parking cost 3.00 in the garage. The hotel is nice and staff are friendly, rooms are adequate in size. The price is a little above average but the convenience of location is a benefit. While the service in the hotel lobby restaurant is slow, that is of no fault to the feis committee! Besides, there are plenty of highly rated restaurants near the hotel.
Stages and seating
The stages were huge! They were slightly (one inch?) raised off the ground and covered in marley. There were no slipping issues that we could see and none that my dancer experienced. As for seating, the ballrooms offered plenty of chairs for guests.
Three judges scored dancers in both rounds. They all left comments for my dancer and as most will agree, that is appreciated. The set round judge also left comments for my dancer and seemed attentive throughout the competition.
Champ stages each had one musician, whose music could be heard without issue. Thank you to the musicians for doing a wonderful job.
No outside food/coolers were allowed. The Feis program which was available about 10 days in advance provided a menu (with prices) of what would be available for purchase that day. While I prefer to bring my own food to a feis, knowing what will be offered and how much it will cost is beneficial. Items were somewhat pricey- the food was provided by the hotel and not affiliated with the feis. The hotel didn’t prepare well and had decreased options by lunch time. By the way, the hotel didn’t appear strict about the “no food” policy (we had our own drinks and snacks…shhhhhh). Vendors also sold snacks (taytos, cadbury, etc).
- Celtic Curls – Wigs and accessories
- Celtic Shoes – Fay’s Irish Dance Shoes
- Emerald Key – Solo costumes, wigs
- FabRince Callahans – Pacelli, Hullachan, Rutherford Shoes
- Fine Designs – Official feis logo products
- **Note: 2015 Raleigh Feis T-Shirts are available pre-sale only when registering on Feisworx, click to see the design
- Hibernian Designs – Handmade totes, dance bags, cross-body cellphone holders
- Thirty-One Gifts – Purses, totes, bags
- Wild Irish Rose – Celtic jewelry, gifts and ornaments
The ballrooms provided plenty of seating and therefore traditional “camping” is unnecessary. As usual some chairs were covered in dress bags, zuca bags and coats to “hold” seating. Overall there were seats available to those that wanted them.
Location was close to the stages. One stall for the ladies room was “out of order” but this is at no fault of the feis. A short line was usually present. Another restroom was just outside the convention area and easy to get to.
The feis began at 8am with the National Anthems and then teams competition. Stages were held until teams were finished (there was an issue with this but that review should come from the grades reviewer). Once Stage 3 started (around 9:45) they moved the comps nicely. Dancers danced two at a time. While the stage was large enough for three dancers it’s always nice to have your dancer out there with only one other competitor. Morning Sets were held up a bit waiting for an adjudicator and musician. Later in the day there were more delays. This was the only negative thing that we experienced.
The results for the first few champ competitions were posted nearly 2 hours after completion of dancing. As the day pushed on it took as long, if not longer for results to be posted. This is a long time to wait! But, once the recall list was posted the awards were presented within 10 minutes. (“Recall” meaning if your number is up there you are getting an award, not the “recall” like at Oireachtas).
The awards were made of crystal and they were splendid. In looking at pictures on twitter, instagram, and facebook, some examples of the awards were candlesticks, vases, cake platter,butterflies, and others. Sashes in bright hues of White (3rd) Purple (2nd) and Aqua (1st) were awarded as well. Top three dancers had a podium to stand on. Awards were in a separate room from dancing- it was spacious and the announcer could be heard easily. The person/people in charge of awards did a fantastic job.
Everything you needed to know about this event was posted on Facebook and here. The Raleigh Feis also has an Instagram page and utilized Twitter Twitter handle to announce results/awards- although it took until 11:30a.m to begin informing anxious parents/dancers when awards would finally be announced. A competitor list was posted which most attendees are happy about. I cannot praise the social media volunteers enough for the information that was provided (more info during the feis please) Something else worth recognizing at this feis was the Charity Reel to support the South Florida Chapter of the ALS association and in honor of the late Maureen Harling-Welty. The Feis raised $840.00!
Raleigh Feis Overall Score- 8.0
The sluggish result time is the only hiccup we experienced at this feis on the champs side. According to pictures on facebook the last competitions received their results/awards just after 6pm. That seems like a long day for both the champ families and the feis volunteers! Had the results been quicker the overall score would have easily been a 9. However, there are positives to this feis such as spacious rooms, large stages, hallways were not cramped, a dress room (monitored) was offered, food was available, awards were fantastic and the volunteers were helpful and available. Special Competitions were offered for Adults, Figures, Parent/Child, Trad Set, Non Trad Set, Treble Reels/Charity reel (hard and soft shoe), Irish art, Irish baking, Vocal and Music. If you are looking for a nice feis in the Southern Region during February, consider the Raleigh Feis in 2016.
Thank you Inis Cairde Families!
What did you think?
What did you think of the Raleigh Feis 2015, Champs Level (on a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being lowest)?
- 10 (33%, 1 Votes)
- 2 (33%, 1 Votes)
- 5 (33%, 1 Votes)
- 9 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 8 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 7 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 6 (0%, 0 Votes)
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Total Voters: 3