The Rock River Valley Feis was held on September 8th, 2012 at the Wellness and Sports Center, Harper College in Palatine, IL.
Venue – I thought the Wellness and Sports Center was a nice venue. Everything was in close proximity to the stages and there was room to move around, more so than some recent feiseses.
There were 6 stages all within what most of us would call a basketball arena. The OC and PC stages were in the center, taking up most of the basketball court, and were a really good size. There were three stages on one end of the court, smaller and a little close together, and then one on the other end of the court, similarly small, and off by itself. If there was a negative comment, I would say that the three that were together were too close and that music bleed from one stage to the next apparently made it hard for some judges to focus on the dancers on their stage (valid concern not smartbutt remark like you may have come to expect from me).
The ‘arena’ was two floors tall and the top of the bleachers on one side exited into the vendor area, and the bottom on the same side exited into the results area. The concession was at one end of the arena, and awards and registration were just a short walk down the hall.
Parking was great and there was lots of it. There was a bit of walk if you didn’t get there early enough, or refused to park in staff parking (I probably could have but it was marked staff only, and there are a college cop giving out tickets).
If there were any negatives to the venue, its that the bleachers were hard to navigate for smaller children and older people, and there was no good place to display used dresses for sale. Dresses were hung on the end of the bleachers and there were literally(probably) a 100 dresses hung over the top of one another in a small space. Bad selling and buying experience.
The first issue is hard to fix but the second one should be easy :)
Venue Score: 9
Judges – My daughter danced five dances and was judged by four different judges. Good rotation.
Judge Score: 10
Music – Each stage had their own musician and I did not see any of them take a break. I also liked that there was variety, accordion, violin/fiddle, flute etc… Nice mix.
Musician Score: 10
Food – A local pub catered the event, the food was good and the prices were very fair. Not a lot of variety and no hotdog/hamburger things that may have appealed to more people, but I didnt hear any complaints.
Food Score: 8.5
Vendors – A feis tshirt guy, and George the shoe guy… do you see a pattern here? They also had some nice jewelry, the wig lady, and some gifty things. I really like shirts and I am a big guy and not much catered to my taste, but it was a good selection otherwise. You can see the vendor list here.
Vendor Score: 7.5
Results – very well done. Out in 15 minutes or less for most dances and results were right outside the stage area. Awards were just around the corner……. They did not tweet results (I think) which would have been nice, but I did notice they had posted results on their Facebook Page which I found later and am not sure if they were doing that during the feis.
If there were any ‘issues’ with the results/awards, it was the awards table. Those people were doing their best but you know how it is, all the girls wait till the end, flock the table, and there was no lines there. The awarders were passing notebooks with results back and forth, so there was no telling where you should line up and I heard one or two moms getting a little testy. Thankfully, I found our stage notebook right away and fended off the testy moms while the nice lady gave the DD her awards. I can see where it could have been handled better though. Sorry -2 extra points for the awards distribution.
Results Score: 7
Feis Flow – I thought this feis was well run but I heard a lot of griping from parents. I realize though that the gripers were the ones who didnt get started till after lunch and if they are like me, they get to the feis early so as not to miss anything.
They kept the age group dances close together and although we did not get started till 245, my DD had 5 dances done and scored by 415. Thats pretty darn good.
They had a lunch break, and that is when they did their Rock and Reel which, although a lot of fun, took a long time to get started and finish which added to the length of the day. That was one of the main griping points for some of those afternoon parents I mentioned earlier. I didn’t think it was horrible.
Feis Flow Score: 7
And the WTF Rating – Pretty darn good with a WTF Rating is 8.42.