Countdown to Drive 09 & Survival Guide

Our annual Drive Conference is once again upon us, and Wednesday marked the start of full-blown production rehearsals. This is actually a little bit of a relief for me because it means that pre-production is over, and while there will be changes they probably won’t be as big as they can be during pre-production. There are 3 main sessions and today we rehearsed the third one. We rehearse Session 1 on Thursday and Session 2 on Friday.

This year is a little bit different than last because I’m only mixing one main session. This way it takes a bit of a load off of me, and it also gives us the opportunity to showcase the rest of our audio staffers. I’m mixing the first main session, Dustin Whitt from Buckhead Church & OwntheMix.com is mixing Session 2, and then Chris Briley from Browns Bridge is going to close it out for Session 3. Our Associate Audio Director, Luke, will be mixing the MarriedLife Live showcase on Tuesday night.

I will probably be at FOH for the duration of the main sessions making sure everything works as well as answering any questions. So definitely stop by if you are at the conference, but I just request you wait until after the end of Session 1. In fact I am happy to show you everything I’m doing on the mix and on the console following Session 1 and the rest of our audio staff will be happy to do the same after their sessions. However, I just want to encourage you to try and experience the sessions without hyper-analysing them too much. I know it’s hard to do sometimes, so I’d encourage you to save your analysis for performance-oriented stuff when possible.

Last year I had a little survival guide for Drive and the Atlanta area. Here’s a quick revise.

Dave’s DRIVE 09 Survival Guide


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 first Drive. When the doors open, people can get a little crazy about coming in and getting seats. So if you’re at the front by the doors when they open, be ready for folks behind to run you over.


You can find a bird’s eye view of our auditorium seating from last year’s survival guide presented here. 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. This year the yellow seats are most likely all going to be gone, and I think some of the blue seats in the far corners in the back section are going to be gone or roped off. Once again, the green area is my pick for seating, but I would probably stick to the center in the front section and stay out of the sections in front on the left and right.



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. 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 is no round table discussion on the Tech Side of Worship this year, but several of us will also be at the Service Programming Q&A breakout on Wednesday morning in the west auditorium.



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.



If you’re coming in early and are going to hit a service at North Point 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-plus it’s easier to get a seat in there.

If you want to check out our three campuses, they 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 part 1 of a new series from Andy so you’ll get the same message at each campus with maybe a bit of different programming at each; I don’t know about the other campuses, but at North Point you’ll get to hear a classic from Journey. North Point and Browns Bridge services are at 9, 11, and 12:45. Buckhead services are at 9, 11, and 6pm. You can find maps and directions at the campus websites in the North Point Stuff links.

David Stagl

One Response to “Countdown to Drive 09 & Survival Guide

  • Dude, I love how you listed the Apple Store as a necessity right next to the grocery store! LOL! Knowing me, I’ll probably forget my MacBook’s charger, so I might end up there, though.

    Lord willing, I’ll be there, and I’ll be sure to drop by the sound booth long enough to say hi after one of the main sessions!