Road to Drive: Production Attender Survival Guide – UPDATED
This post is primarily aimed at those attending the Drive Conference, but you can just as easily use some of these tips should you ever visit our campus.
– AUDITORIUM SEATING
So let’s talk about the most important thing for us production folks: seating for the main sessions. For those who will be attending Drive for the first time, I’m going to warn you about this. Maybe this happens at most conferences, but it was a new experience for me at the last Drive. When the doors open, people can get a little psychotic about coming in and getting seats. So if you’re at the front by the doors when they open, be ready for folks behind you to run you over.
To aid my fellow production folks in finding a good seat and avoiding the pandemonium involved in scrambling in an unfamiliar venue, I’ve posted a bird’s eye view of our main auditorium. For the sake of understanding what I’m talking about, let’s divide the auditorium into two main sections, the front and the back. The front section features 5 groups of seats, and the back section features 4 groups of seats. You’re really going to get a pretty good experience in just about any seat with the exception of the “Yellow” shaded front sections which might be blocked off–I’ll find out when you do on Monday. However, if they aren’t blocked off you might want to try them for a session (Session #2 if you ask me) if you’re interested in experiencing what our guests in those seats experience. I will say that those seats are covered by Meyer MSL4 sidefills we installed last year so sonically those seats are among the best….
My recommendation for seats would be the green areas. I’m a center-sitter, and I think those will give you the best center-ish experience visually and sonically. My personal recommendation would be the seats in the green as close to FOH as you can get (last couple rows in the front center section, and first couple rows directly behind FOH). FOH is the bigger X in the back seating sections. In fact any of the center-most sections are probably going to be good. If it means anything to you, when I have guests at a service I tend to get them seats directly behind FOH, and my associate audio director leans more towards the last two rows of the front-center section for his guests.
The darker blue seats are going to be good, but not my personal preference. The dark blue seats towards the front are also the ones I remember folks practically killing themselves to sit in at the last conference, so my recommendation is go for the green and let the over-zealous have the dark blue. Plus…well…I would sit back a bit if it were me…and now I’ve said too much…
The lighter shaded blue seats in the far left and right seating in the back sections are where I would recommend those with an aversion to higher volume sit. You’ll still get it, but not as much. For those who like it loud, I would avoid those outside back sections.
The balcony isn’t on here, but you should be fine sitting in it. I would, personally, gravitate more towards the center up there. For what it’s worth, there are 5 sets of balcony delay fills and fills #2 and #4 going house left to right have new high frequency drivers.
At the end of the day, though, if you get in late and you’re trying to get a seat, if you can see the three screens and some speakers you should be in good shape for what we’re going to do. Just being in the room should be an electric experience if it’s anything like the last Drive conference was for me. So please please please don’t kill yourself trying to get a really good seat.
QUERYING PRODUCTION FOLKS
I know a lot of you guys might have questions for various production folks, and we would love to answer as many of these as possible. The best time to find us is immediately following the main sessions. There will be folks at FOH immediately following all sessions, but I will try and stick around FOH for an extended period of time after the 2nd session and 3rd sessions barring any unforeseen fires I have to put out. FOH will be a good place if you have audio and maybe some video questions as Browns Bridge’s Production Director, Chris Briley, will be there with me for the first and third session. Our producers also hang out at FOH. If you’re a lampi with lighting questions, our lighting booth is located in the large, elevated booth behind FOH on the other side of the aisle (it’s not on the map).
There will be a round table discussion ont the Tech Side of Worship that I’ll be at along with several members of our production staff. I will also be at the Service Programming breakout on Wednesday morning with some of our other production staff to help with the Q&A.
SURVIVING THE AREA
Atlanta traffic is really bad. I lived in Chicago for 30+ years, and it’s significantly worse down here. The only place I’ve ever driven that I would say is worse is Los Angeles. Georgia 400 is sort of the main highway/expressway/tollway/freeway running between our campuses, and this is where you’ll probably encounter the worst of the traffic during rush hour. The traffic can be very inconsistent from one day to the next so just be prepared to hit it and leave a bit early when you can. North Point Parkway also gets pretty bad starting around 4:30pm, however, I have found it is much easier to go south on North Point Parkway coming out of the church at that time of day. To get to 400, I will take North Point Parkway south to Haynes Bridge (go west) and get on there instead of going north to Old Milton where the left turn lane gets backed up.
If you need supplies of any sort, the nearest grocery store to North Point is probably Publix. It is located west of 400 on Old Milton at the corner of Old Milton and Haynes Bridge Rd. If you take that a little further west to the next light you will hit a pharmacy. Traveling south from North Point on North Point Parkway will take you towards a lot of shopping where you can also find a Target (they have groceries as well) along with North Point Mall where you can find an Apple Store if you need one. There are also a lot of chain restaurants that way(Cheesecake Factory, TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesdays, Steak and Shake, California Pizza Kitchen, Fuddruckers, etc.).
The nearest gas station is just east of Georgia 400 at exit 10 (Old Milton). There’s a Shell station there next to a Waffle House. Gas stations are really hard to find in the area when you need one so remember this one! There is also a gas station west of Georgia 400 at exit 9 (Haynes Bridge Road).
If you’re looking for a good place to get breakfast, I have a couple recommendations. J. Christopher’s is located east of Georgia 400 at Exit 11 (Windward Parkway). You get off there and go maybe a mile or so and there will be a two level shopping center on the right. J. Christopher’s is on the second level, and you’ll need to drive around to the back. If you go west of Georgia 400 at Exit 11 you’ll find a Cracker Barrel just past the exit, and there is also a World Famous Pancake House in the same shopping area.
ATTENDING SUNDAY SERVICE FOR EARLY ARRIVERS
If you’re coming in early and are going to hit a service on Sunday, I would recommend you plan on attending either the 9am or the 12:45pm at North Point. The 11am is typically packed, but if that’s your thing come on down. Try and arrive about 30 minutes early for seating in the east. However, I would recommend you check out our west auditorium (9am & 11am only) on Sunday since you’ll get to experience the east auditorium during the conference–it will be a little easier to get a seat and a little different experience as the set is different. Our three campuses are located about 20-25 minutes apart, so it is feasible to hit all three campuses on Sunday if you’re up for it. We’re all running different parts of the current series next week, so you can hear three different messages in one Sunday if you so desire and get a feel for how each campus might make some tweaks in their approaches for their community. Browns Bridge will have part 1 of our current series at either 9am or 11am. If you attend either of those services, you can make it down to North Point for part 2 at the 12:45 service. And then if you’re up for the trifecta, you can catch Andy live at Buckhead at 6pm for part 3. Incidentally, Andy will be live at Buckhead Church for all three of their services on Sunday (9am, 11am, & 6pm).
UPDATE: Andy will not be live at Buckhead at 6pm, that will be video playback. He will be live at Buckhead at 9am and 11am.
If you have any other question about the area, feel free to drop a comment. I look forward to meeting a lot of you next week!