I don't see how you can hate from
outside the club. You can't even get in!
I'm going to let you, dear reader, in on a dirty little not-so-secret: For all of my excitement about NightBEAT taking place in my virtual backyard, I didn't actually attend. At least, not in the manner one typically attends a drum corps show. We're in the middle of a move, so a lot of our money and time is tied up with that. But because the show was still close, my daughter and I still made the short trip west to soak it all in.

Our first stop was Blue Devils' housing site. Because I've typically made the trip to whatever town - usually Charlotte - just in time for the show itself, I had never attended corps rehearsal on site before. If the show returns to Winston, it's certainly something I'll make time for, perhaps hitting a few more sites as well. After grabbing a bite to eat, it was off to the lot, where my daughter's fascination (both with the drums and the dirt where we happened to sit down) and my own (less so with the dirt) kept us by the Cadets' drumline most of the time. We did see the Commandant's Own practicing basics for a bit, and spent some time with Madison's drumline, pit, and guard before calling it a night.

While we never made it in the gates, I saw all I needed to to bolster my case for a return to Winston. The drum corps tailgating I've often done and spoken about was a reality - not in mass quantities, but I saw quite a few groups out there - folks with Wake Forest chairs, possibly returning to their usual spots, Phi Mu Alpha fraternity men, and other groups were treating a college stadium as though it were, well, a college stadium. My estimation from before on the proximity to various colleges was spot on, with college I hadn't even considered. The difference in styles led me to neglect to mention Greensboro's own North Carolina A&T, but I saw a contingent from the Blue and Gold Marching Machine watching the Cadets. James Madison was out in force as well; I hadn't considered them because they're closer to the show in Salem, VA, but because this is a Tour of Champions event, if you want to see all of the heavy hitters in one place, this is the trip.

The morning after report seems to be that everyone had a great time, the venue was excellent, and Carolina Crown set yet another attendance record. My position on the matter is clear, but I'd like to think the evidence from last night keeps drum corps in some capacity in Winston.