By the 90's Dragonslayer was a mature organization that could handle anything that came our way. Bands that played our concerts trusted us to handle things and gave us a lot of leeway to make decisions. Dragonslayer was the go-to production team for anyone who wanted to bring a Christian concert into central Alabama and we taught many people how to do it right.
But things were changing. Mylon's band Broken Heart ended their long career and stopped touring, Atlanta Fest began to book fewer non-Atlanta concerts, and with Contemporary Christian Music finally being accepted, college ministries began bringing in their own Christian concerts. In addition to this some of the larger tours began using professional production companies in order to avoid the liabilities inherent in volunteer production crews. Then the economy went into recession, drying up church outreach budgets and generally reducing concert demand across the board.
Dragonslayer leadership was changing too. A number of key people moved out of the area or took jobs that were not compatible with staying up all night producing concerts. We began adjusting staffing to use fewer managers and slowly adjusted downward as the number of concerts got smaller.
The decline was gradual and fewer concerts meant we didn't need to recruit as many crew people either. With college ministries and radio stations starting to do their own concerts there was no longer a need for our services in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, and we reduced our production teams from four to just the two in Montgomery and Birmingham. Two years later the Montgomery team wound down as well.
The last concert was a Steven Curtis Chapman show at Birmingham's Samford University. We provided most of the production crew, managed the concert, went to IHOP afterward, and then put our Dragonslayer shirts away. We were sad to see it end but the slow decline had made it obvious that this season was over.
In it's ten year existence close to 800 Dragonslayer volunteers had managed more than seventy Alabama concerts. Approximately 3,000 people walked the aisles during end of concert invitations and Dragonslayer people were there to talk with them. Epic concerts were seen, lives were changed, lessons were learned, and lifelong friendships were formed. It had all been worth it but it was finally over, and the Dragonslayer team exited the stage for the last time.
Dragonslayer was a major part of my history but it was history and it was now behind me. I am proud of what we accomplished, proud of the people I worked with, and now God had taken me in a different direction.
After that first Petra concert I thought the concert thing was over too, but I was wrong then just like I was wrong now...