The city of Atlanta will soon say goodbye to the Georgia Dome, which after 25 years of service will be imploded and demolished on Monday, November 20.
The iconic venue played home to the DCI Southeastern Championship for 11 straight years, creating a number of memorable moments at one of the biggest annual events on the Drum Corps International Tour schedule.
When the Georgia Dome opened in 1992, it was the largest covered stadium in the world. It wouldn't be until 14 years later, however, that Drum Corps International had the opportunity to first utilize the facility.
Beginning in 2006, the first three DCI Southeastern Championships were single-day Prelims/Finals events, with the eight corps participating in the Masters of the Summer Music Games in Murfreesboro, Tennessee the night before automatically seeded into Finals. The remaining World Class corps competed in the Prelims for a shot at becoming one of the four corps to advance into the evening show.
In 2009, the DCI Southeastern Championship took on its current form of all corps competing head-to-head in the same contest. This made the Atlanta show the final event at which all World Class corps would compete on the same day until the DCI World Championship Prelims.
In the inaugural 2006 event that drew nearly 16,000 spectators to the Georgia Dome, The Cavaliers eked out a victory over the Blue Devils by the microscopic margin of 0.025, 93.025 to 93.000. The Green Machine used that momentum to stay undefeated on way to winning its seventh World Championship title two weeks later in Madison, Wisconsin.
Win after win …
Despite the loss in 2006, the Blue Devils roared back with a vengeance, winning the next eight Southeastern Championships in a row. From 2007 through 2014, the Devils would be unstoppable and the final corps to be announced as the scores were read.
The 2007 event was hosted earlier than ever on the DCI Tour schedule as corps made their way west for the DCI World Championships. That year, the scores of two other corps, The Cadets and The Cavaliers, each within 0.35 points of the Blue Devils, marked the closest margin ever between the top three corps in Atlanta.
Blue Devils' score of 95.100 in 2014 will go down in history as the highest score ever achieved by a drum corps at the Georgia Dome. Shattering the scoring ceiling all summer long, Blue Devils would march on from Atlanta and break records at the DCI Eastern Classic in Allentown and at the DCI World Championship Finals in Indianapolis. The corps' score of 99.650 in Indy still stands as the highest of all time.
In 2015, Carolina Crown managed to pull the Southeastern Champion rug out from under the Blue Devils with an ultra slim lead of just 0.025, the same margin the Devils found themselves behind The Cavaliers all the way back in 2006. Crown's score of 91.500 to the Devils' 91.475 made the last two weeks of the season even more intriguing, with Crown winning both the Prelims and Semifinals at the DCI World Championships before falling to second in Finals.
The final say under the Georgia Dome went to the Bluecoats in 2016, outscoring the Blue Devils by 0.225, 91.713 to 91.488. Bluecoats went on to top the competition in each of the corps' five remaining contests on the DCI Tour schedule as the Canton, Ohio corps powered its way to its very first DCI World Championship title.
Future of the DCI Summer Tour in Atlanta
The brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, which was erected right next door to the Georgia Dome, is expected to become the home of the DCI Southeastern Championship beginning with the 2018 Drum Corps International Tour.
The event that will feature the performances of more than two dozen drum corps along with SoundSport and DrumLine Battle teams, is anticipated to take place at the state-of-the-art facility on Saturday, July 28.
Read more about the 2018 DCI Southeastern Championship.