The West Virginia Feis PC/OC was held on March 23rd, 2014 at Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Pittsburgh Airport in Pittsburgh, PA. Since the feis was held in PA, I have listed it under both PA and WV reviews.
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!
Venue – This is the third feis I have attended at the Hyatt, and though I wasn’t thrilled with the venue the first time, and even less impressed the second time, I didn’t mind it at all this time. Lots about the venue was the same, but considering it was a champ day, there were a LOT less people there and it made it a much more pleasant environment.
The syllabus listed 3 stages, but I only saw 2 (and actually didn’t realize there was a third). 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.
Venue Score: 9 (so much better then the past with less people)
Judges – 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.
Judge Score: 9.5
Music – 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.
Musician Score: 9.5
Food – Same as for the last feis, breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, pretzels, pizza, salad, drinks and sundries… all reasonably priced, except maybe the drinks which were $2.50 for a small bottle of soda. I didn’t eat but my wife said the fries had been sitting out for a while.
Food Score: 7
Vendors – 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…
Vendor Score: 8.5
Results – 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.
Results Score: 9
Feis Flow – 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.
Feis Flow: 10
Two part scoring with a Feis Score consisting of Judging, Music, Results and Flow, and then the overall consisting of everything.
Feis Score: 9.5 – PC/OC is always helped by judges and music, but the Results and Flow did not disappoint either.
And the WTF Rating is 8.92… pretty good ;) You can add in your rating in the What Say You section below.
EDITORS NOTE: During the results, Jim took an informal poll of the dancers. It has been the habit of the feis to give all dancers at this level an award considering they have worked so hard to get to this level. The poll was to see if that should continue, or if they should just award top half as it is for most other feiseanna. Seemed the majority (not all) of the dancers thought the status quo (all awarded) was the way to go.
My opinion was that I thought it was nice that they do that, but something seemed amiss. It was when my daughter and I were chatting on the way home that I figured out what that was. She said she liked the fact they gave awards to everyone, but by doing that, they were taking some recognition away from the top half placers. She suggested that maybe a different award might be appropriate, so that the dancers who placed had something signifying their placement, instead of the same award that they all got for participating. I tend to agree and hopefully that came out right :)
I had a feeling that the Pitts feiseanna would be a lot nicer on Sunday. Which direction did they run the PC comps in (Youngest to oldest or vice versa)?
As for Jim, I am glad that he morphs into a tolerable human being on Sunday. Saturdays he’s a right glassbowl. I once saw him come up behind someone videoing her granddaughter at the first feis stage and take an ipad out of her hand and tell her that she could have it back when the feis was over and if she didn’t like it she could leave. Not cool. And that’s not the only time I’ve witnessed him being obnoxious, especially to people videoing their kids. I understand the rules, but whatever happened to tapping someone on the shoulder and asking him/her politely to put away their device? And the organizers really ought to allow the rules to be heavily flexed at the First Feis. Most feisanna I’ve been to are not nearly so fanatical about enforcing those rules as they are at Pitts and none so rude. As you can see, he rubs me the wrong way, lovely Irish lilt or no. ;-)
After your review, I’m looking forward to the Halloween feis, now that Miss Thing has moved up. I’m all for fewer people and larger stages.
‘A right glassbowl’? Is that slang for something? ;) Jim does seem focused on his work, and I cannot fault him for that. I haven’t seen the glassbowl, so I am going with a glassbowl half full attitude. ;)