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What kind of a name is Dragonslayer?  That's the first question people ask because Christian groups don't have names like that.  Christian concert production companies of the 80's had nice names like Praise Productions and Harmony Concerts.  You know, respectable names. 


At the time Contemporary Christian style music was still a new thing in Alabama and a lot of people were on the fence about it.  But we weren't on the fence at all and were eager to push forward with this new avenue for ministry.  We weren't terribly interested in playing things safe and wanted a memorable name that both reflected our mission and would sound aggressive.  After much discussion we finally settled on Dragonslayer Productions, immediately confusing friend and foe alike for the next ten years.

 

Michael CardMichael CardBut it's not that confusing if you know the story behind the name.  Dragonslayer is a Christian term and comes from the Michael Card song of the same name.  Card writes great stuff like God's Own Fool, This Must Be The Lamb, and, of course, Dragonslayer.  The song is about Jesus' birth, His mission to be a sacrifice for all of minkind, and His defeat of Satan.  The Dragonslayer in the song is Jesus, which means that Dragonslayer Productions literally means Jesus Productions.

 

The name matters because the primary purpose of Dragonslayer was to tell people about Jesus.  This was a ministry that supported each bands' outreach ministry and we felt strongly that our role was to help people find their way to Jesus.  And by doing that we were helping to slay whatever dragons that person was facing in life.

 

Yes the name was a little silly, but it worked, and it did turn out to be memorable.  Dragonslayer was a phenomena in 80's Alabama and decades later people still remember that name and what Dragonslayer did at concerts.  I regularly meet roadies, agents, and band members today who have heard of us or even worked with us back then. 

 

It is truly amazing to see how far this work from the 80's has resonated and I am sure I will keep hearing Dragonslayer stories in the future.

  Dragonslayer

Michael Card

 

The star led wizards came to see
Whom might this new born Dragonslayer be
He'd come the serpent's lies to cease
To win for us a never ending peace
The serpent reared his ugly head
In the stillness of the garden
To bite the Dragonslayer's heel
And defeat His plan of pardon
But the Mighty One provided for
The fallen ones instead
And the quest began to slay the beast
To finally crush his head
To finally crush his head

 

Chorus
Behold the Dragonslayer
He stills the serpent's scream
He stops his accusations
He spoils the dragon's dream
Behold the Dragonslayer
He died to set us free
The dragon thought he'd won then
It wasn't meant to be
It wasn't meant to be

The dragon sought to take the child
Of the woman clothed in sunlight
But once again the King stepped in
And began to fight the last fight
And so the battle raged between
The heavens and the sky
And the dragon was defeated
And at last was doomed to die
At last was doomed to die

 

Chorus

Got a Dragonslayer or No Name concert memory?  Tell us about it here.

Dragonslayer routinely deployed teams of 50-150 volunteers who worked in dark and noisy environments.  We recruited from all over the place so many of those volunteers did not know each other.  These two factors could quickly turn any crew into a disorganized mob, and mobs are bad.  The U.S. Navy has the same problem on aircraft carrier flight decks and solved it by putting people in colored shirts that reflect their mission.  We shamelessly copied that idea and the Dragonslayer shirts were born.  Your shirt was your pass and your color was your job.  Once we started using the shirts we could easily tell who was supposed to do what and whether or not they were in the right place to do it.  Managing huge crews became simple, and each volunteer had a groovy shirt to wear after the concert.  People loved their shirts and it was always fun to see a random Dragonslayer shirt or two while walking through the mall. 

White shirts were Dragonslayer leadership.  A typical crew included a single overall leader and one leader each for stage crew, tickets, mechandise, catering, and counselers, but some larger concerts used more.  Each white shirt was responsible for their assigned area, like tickets, and worked alongside their crew in that job.  If anyone had a problem all they had to do was find their assigned white shirt.  In fact, Dragonslayer's only rule was the White Shirt Rule:  "If someone isn't wearing a white shirt and tells you what to do, be polite but don't do it.  Send them to your white shirt instead."  This is because band roadies sometimes grab volunteers as they need them, which is fine, but it's not fine when they grab half the stage crew or all of the ticket people.  The White Shirt Rule allowed us to do whatever the band needed while still maintaining control of the crew and facility.  That's a big deal when 5,000 audience members are running around in the same building.

Red shirts were Dragonslayer counselors and ushers whose job was to talk to people who responded to the invitation at the end of each concert.  They were always the largest team we used.  Their numbers were necessary because a concert with several thousand people in attendance could have hundreds people respond to the band's presentation of the Gospel.  Typically the band tells the audience about Jesus and why they follow Him, and then they invite anyone who is interested in talking about that relationship to come down front.  The counselors then pair up with audience members to discuss whatever is on their minds for as long as they want to talk.  This is no different than what happens at churches on Sunday morning and we drew our crew from people who had done this sort of thing before.  In the ten years that Dragonslayer was active we talked to more than 3,000 people about Jesus and our counselors are the ones who made that happen.

Blue shirts were Dragonslayer stage crew and security.  The blue shirts were the strong guys who unloaded the band's trucks and set up the stage.  During the concert they handled stage changes between sets as well as security, and they were the ones who broke everything down and loaded it back on the trucks after the show was over.  At any concert having a well-organized and fully staffed stage crew is critical to the show's success, because if things are not set up right you aren't going to be able to open the doors on time, and nobody likes that.  Dragonslayer blue shirts were normally the first ones in and the last ones out.  They often had to unload entire 18-wheelers, wrestle the road cases onto the stage, and then unpack and set everything up.  Stage crew can be hard but if you have enough guys it can also be a wonderful experience.  There are fewer things more awesome than standing on the stage as your favorite band plays on instruments that you set up.

Black shirts were Dragonslayer merchandise and ticket people.  The concerts were ministries and all of us were volunteers but there were still expenses to be paid.  The bands made their living by selling tickets and music and we had to pay for the auditorium, promotion, mailout, radio, insurance, catering, printing, and sometimes even more than that.  Tickets had to be distributed to bookstores and then be collected on the day of the concert.  Other tickets were sold at the door and all ticket monies had to be reconciled at the end of the day.  At the same time there were merchandise tables where the audience could buy T-shirts, CDs, and other band stuff.  Black shirts handled all ticket operations, set up the merchandise tables, helped the band with inventory, staffed the tables during the concert, and tore everything down after the audience left.  Black shirts were the people who had the most contact with the audience and we never had enough of them.

Dragonslayer's chest logo represented some of the armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10-18, specifically helmet of salvation and shield of faith.  Salvation was Dragonslayer's primary mission and faith was our belief in God's direction of our efforts.  Shown is the colored summer logo.  The winter shirts did not have the gray color and just had the black outline of what is shown here.

Dragonslayer shirts had the word Dragonslayer running down the right arm.  The original design had the lettering running from bottom to top but that made the name appear upside down when you bent your arm.  The Montgomery team reversed the lettering and their fix became the new standard.  Pictured is a Montgomery counselor shirt with the corrected lettering.

Dragonslayer's shirts were conceived immediately after the frozen Mylon concert and usurprisingly used a long-sleeve design.  The verse reflected our philosophy: a production company that brought in rock concerts but the rock concerts we were promoting were not like other rock concerts.  The shirts were so popular the T-shirt vendor sold a teal version to the public. 

Dragonslayer's long sleeve crew shirts did not work very well at hot Alabama summer concerts so in 1987 we came out wtih a short sleeve version.  Designed by a Birmingham red-shirt crew member named Laura, the shirt colors were the same but the new shirt had more ink colors and a new design on the back.  Romans 12:1-2 was the verse and we used the Keith Green version from his 1980 song "If You Love The Lord."

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