The Wisconsin Spring Feis was held on May 3rd, 2014 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, WI.
Back to back feiseanna were held at the Wisconsin Center this weekend so the summaries and scores for Venue, Food and Vendors will be the same for both days and only listed in this review.
This review is for the PC/OC portion of the feis. Sorry, it got to hard to monitor stages and results for grades and pay attention to what was going on with TGC and her schedule. If you have comments for the Grades portion of the feis, please contact me and I can share them in a separate post, thanks!
This is the first (and second) feis I have attended at this venue and I am on the fence about the venue itself. It is huge and has lots of potential, but I do not think the space was adequately used.
There were 10 stages with stages 1 – 3 set up for PC & OC and 4 – 10 for grades. The huge hall was divided in half by a partition with the PC/OC stages butt up against it. Grade level stages 4 – 8 were in the same half of the hall, separated from the PC/OC stages by a large camping area, and an attempt at walkways between the stages and the camping area. Stages 9 and 10 were in the other half of the hall kind of off in the corners.
The other half of the hall had the results for grades set up on the partition that divided the hall, basically in back of stages 1 – 3. It also held the vendors (about 8 of them), a small smoothie cart and some tables for dining. It also held the awards area for PC/OC which was a nice size and accomodated that purpose better than any other feis I have seen while TGC has been at this level.
The PC/OC stages were very large, about 28 x 32 and covered with the non-slip material which made for a nice dance area. TGC danced on two different stages during the two days and had no problems, and I saw no slips or falls on either of them. TGC did say that stage 3 had either a loose board or high spot she noticed when she was practicing before the feis started, but that was the only complaint I heard.
Afraid that even though I watched a dance or two by friends on the grades stages, I did not notice to much about them.
Camping in the ‘designated area’ was not adequate for the number of people there Saturday. There was plenty of area in the other half of the hall but it appeared that rather than take a 60 second walk, piling on top of each other was preferred.
Camping in the viewer chairs, was as always, an issue. People ‘tried’ not to do that and piled there stuff behind the last row of chairs which impeded pedestrian flow. Add to that the people standing behind that gear, and the people standing behind them, trying to see the dancers, because they could not sit down for all the gear piled onto the chairs, and the walkway that was supposed to be about 10 feet wide quickly dwindled down to about 5 feet. Add in overflow camping from the other side of the path, well, you get where I am going with this.
The concessions were at either end of the hall and there was only one bathroom I saw in the hall, but more were located in the hallway outside, so not to bad.
I heard parking was $15 but to be honest, since we were in a hotel attached to the venue, we used hotel parking when we got there Friday night and did not get in the car till it was time to go home on Sunday.
If I had run the feis, I would have moved all the vendors up to the front of the hall between the main doors and the stages, there was probably 40 feet of free space that would probably would have fit them all. Then, I would use the other half of the hall to space out the stages more and add more camping, but that is just me ;)
Venue Score: 7 (but it has the potential to be 9 or 10. NOTE: Sunday seemed less crowded and more pleasant then Saturday)
PC/OC always has 3 judges. They were attentive on our stage and took only one break that I saw. I realized with this back to back, that although there is always similarities in PC/OC judging, having 3 judges does not automatically mean a high score. Saturday was good, Sunday, less so.
Judge Score: 9.5
Each stage had their own musician and according to TGC, the music was fine on the stage, but in the viewing seats it was really hard to distinguish between which stage was playing what. I also saw one dancer jump the gun which I believe was due to having a hard time hearing the music.
Musician Score: 7
We only caught the lunch menu and it was much what you would expect for a ‘convention center’ venue. Hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza. We had two cheeseburgers, and one fries and it was $17, which seemed high, but the burgers were good and pretty big. There were lots of options if you wanted to venture outside the venue, but not many fast food establishments.
Food Score: 7
The shoe guy, NOT GEORGE, who also sold t’s and sweatshirts, some nice knit wear, Irish nic nacs, jewelry, the wig ladies, Guinness wear, a ribbon fob booth but not Made by Mare, the photographer and the feis tshirt booth. Plus, we were able to find Irish M&Ms (Smarties) and I found Lucozade, which I first had in my Grandmothers store in Ireland when I was a kid (queue the reminiscing music). All in all, a nice vendor turnout.
Vendor Score: 9
I am still getting used to how these PC/OC results work and I don’t know if I have determined the average yet, but I didn’t think these were hateful. It was about 90 minutes from the end of TGCs comp and the results and she was in a huge comp.
Awards were given in a large area off in an isolated part of the hall, so there was plenty of room to gather and the noise from the viewers was not a distraction to the other competitors.
Results Score: 9
Gotta say that the flow of the feis was pretty good for the number of competitors. TGCs comp was done with both dances in about an hour and the comp was the biggest comp for a standard feis I have seen.
Casual observation of other stages and it seems like the flow on those was smooth and steady as well.
Feis Flow: 9
Two part scoring with a Feis Score consisting of Judging, Music, Results and Flow, and then the overall consisting of everything.
Feis Score: 8.625 – Music brought this down a bit but the Results and Flow were pretty good considering the sheer numbers there.
And the WTF Rating is 8.36… not to bad and this is a feis we would definitely consider going back to.