Rock River Valley Feis 2013

The Rock River Valley Feis was held on September 7th, 2013 at the Pheasant Run Resort Mega Center, in St. Charles, IL. This is the point in the feis weekend where I tell you what I thought about the feis, the venue, judging, musicians, etc… you know the drill. This one however, is going to be different.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that our trip to Illinois didn’t turn out as planned, and we ended up in the ER Friday night when The Girl Child hurt her foot practicing. By Saturday morning we realized that competing was out for the day, but we were near the venue, and her foot was ok to walk in the funky shoe they gave her at the hospital, so we decided to stop by and support some of TGC’s dance classmates.

We were only there for a about an hour and a half, and since TGC didn’t dance, I really did not have time to do a full review. I do have some general observations however, so I thought I would share them here with the hopes some of you who were there longer, and competed, can add your comments.

Remember this is an observation based on a  very short visit, so here goes.

Some Negatives

The venue was EXTREMELY crowded and noisy. We had a hard time moving around and there did not seem to be adequate camping space. I think this was the most crowded venue I have been in, and it was slightly claustrophobic, and this is coming from someone who was on submarines in the Navy.

The stages were right next to each other with very little separation, and while each of them had there own musician, I thought there was a lot of musical confusion in the room. I overheard one musician saying that she was being drowned out by the musicians on either side of her, so I cannot imagine what it might have been like for the dancers.

I only watched a few comps on the PC stage at the back of the room, and saw some slips and 2 falls. There seemed to be a lot of ‘stuff’ on the stage, and I saw some audience members point out hazards on the stage. So, stage maintenance seemed a bit lax, at least on the stage I watched.

Some Positives

Although we didn’t check any of our own scores, TGC checked results for her friends comp on FeisWorx, and was able to pull up the results within about 30 minutes after the comp ended. That’s pretty good.

I could not find a competitors list on the feis site, and while some would consider that a negative, I do not. After some of my previous posts on feis safety, I am starting to watch how feiseanna do things, and I appreciate the fact that they are protecting the privacy of the dancers. Um, someone let me know if I just missed it online 😉

The other thing that I do not recall seeing in the past, that I noticed this feis did, is that they provided changing areas for the dancers on the side of the venue. While I still saw some girls changing in the ‘open’, I like the fact that a more private area was provided.

What did you think?

I know, that is brief, so how would you rate it? Please add additional comments below. I would love to hear what I missed because of my limited visit.

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3 replies
  1. Linda R
    Linda R says:

    Your reviews are very interesting since we are in the Western Region, it is helpful to know there are differences in the FEIS formats. For example, the stage set ups are totally different out west. There is just one stage that is divided into lanes. We just attended the Hidden Valley Feis in San Diego where the stage was divided into 4 lanes. So 4 age groups danced at the same time, and there is also only one musician. So all the Reels go at the same time etc. The 4 adjudicators were rotated to each lane as well. It sounds quite confusing to have more than one musician playing in the same ballroom.
    Anyway FYI, our Feis, Feis in the Desert, will be held in January in Gilbert, AZ on MLK weekend. come on out to see how we do feises in the west. We try very hard to make everything run smoothly.

    • Mike
      Mike says:

      Thanks Linda,

      I do not know how a lane compares to a stage, but we often have only one musician serving multiple stages. The recent Columbus Ohio Feis ( was an example. That has its pros and cons depending on the venue.

      And I would love to come out to see your feis. Donations for my trip can be sent to…. 😉 Just kidding, maybe one day.

  2. Christy
    Christy says:

    You are right with the sound issue at the stages, we experienced delays and re-starts while the musician got comfortable. As my younger daughter who will start feising in the spring is hearing-impaired, this was near and dear to us. All that “racket” is amplified with hearing aids, and at that point would make it a challenge to try to compete in concert with the music.

    We competed at Stage 3 immediately to the left of that changing area. There were girls back there. But the one time I ventured that way to get a quick practice in, I realized they were just taking advantage of a private practice area! That could have been isolated…but that was my observation.

    We have not “camped” a lot yet, and stayed at the hotel so we walked down with just ourselves and my purse. However, despite the “no camping” signs there were plenty of folks who essentially made an island of their stuff which was the biggest contributor to the chaos in getting from point A to point B. My suggestion for any feis venue is to have stantions (those coralling things, like at the bank) for aisles that NEED to be kept clear for emergency purposes.


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