NQC to move to Pigeon Forge in 2014

The National Quartet Convention announced this morning that next year’s convention in Louisville will be the final there. Starting in 2014, the event will move to Pigeon Forge. Here is the official press release:

Louisville, KY – The National Quartet Convention has announced the dates for the 2013 NQC. September 9 – 14 will be the dates for the 2013 NQC in Louisville, Kentucky. The event will be very special, as it will be the last year for the event to be held in Louisville. Many special and unique events are being planned for 2013, to celebrate the end of a wonderful era for the NQC in Louisville. Thousands of attendees from across the United States and Canada, as well as several countries around the world, will gather one last time in Louisville to relive great memories from two decades of gatherings at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. Plans are already underway to make the 2013 NQC one of the biggest and best weeks of the event’s 55-year history. Many first-time attendees are also expected, as it will be their last chance to experience the NQC in this historic location.

In September of 2014, the National Quartet Convention will begin a new and exciting era as Gospel Music’s Largest Annual Event moves to one of America’s most popular, family-friendly vacation destinations… Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Reserved seating can be purchased for the 2013 NQC during this week’s event, in the North Wing Lobby of the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center, and will then be available at www.nqconline.com throughout the year. Attendees are urged to reserve seating and lodging early for the final year in Louisville.

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96 Letters to the Editor

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  1. What?! Seriously, why? Does Louisville not have enough space or something?

    • That’s not necessarily the issue at hand. Sometimes the issue at hand is paying for more space than you need.

      Just a reminder to everyone: NQC is a privately run business, and the directors are (of course) allowed to host the event wherever they think they are most likely to do well financially.

      Another reminder: Keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic!

      • Not everything that happens in life is positive, constructive, and on topic. [EDIT]

      • True. But there is a way to take a glass-half-full approach in discussing controversial matters, and that is the way to do it here.

    • Ah, OK! 🙂 I didn’t know I was being unconstructive and off-topic. Sorry 😉 So are you saying they’ve had too many empty seats in past years Daniel? I’m not happy with the move, as it will be a LOT farther away from me (I’m only about 2 hours away now), and I’d think that will prove to be true for a lot of other people. I wonder if this will affect the crowds in a negative way.

      • Well, you certainly were on topic! I was just afraid that – even though your comment itself didn’t go too far in that direction – it would prompt people to make comments that would be too critical of NQC for me to be able to approve. (Actually, I’ve already had to delete a comment or two!)

  2. What venue in Pigeon Forge will be big enough to hold it? Anyone have any idea?

    • Pigeon Forge has a convention center under construction.

      • Cool! That is a lot closer to home for me!!

  3. I was really hoping it would come back to Nashville when our new convention center is finished ; 2014 also I believe. Oh well.

  4. Can’t really say I agree with the decision, but I understand why they made the decision they did.

    Hopefully a smaller venue also makes for better in-house acoustics.

  5. What is the name of the venue that they will be holding the 2014 event at?

    • It hasn’t been announced yet.

  6. Apparently there is a gigantic arena being built in Pigeon Forge. Since I live only about 3 hours from Pigeon Forge, I find myself kind of in favor of this move!

    • What would you consider to be “gigantic?”

      The specs for the new convention center in Pigeon Forge show a 100500 square foot room with very little space for an exhibit hall or showcases. The next largest room in the new facility is 12000 square feet.

      And there are 1600 parking spaces.

      Compared to Louisville, that is tiny.

      What I’ve observed is that everyone who is in favor of the move lives closer to Pigeon Forge than Louisville, and almost everyone who has opposes the move is doing so because it’s going to be further away.

      Very few people seem to be looking at the issue in a practical manner…like whether or not NQC will continue to be the sort of event where hundreds of regional groups can buy booths, sing on showcases, and stay for an entire week interacting with many of the major groups in Southern Gospel and fans.

      If so, will it be under one roof? That doesn’t seem very likely.

      Then, there’s also traffic congestion to consider.

  7. Wow, this is a huge shock. I’m not sure I like the idea. Pigeon Forge is very congested and also quite isolated and difficult to get to for many people.

    On the other hand, it is a beautiful area of the country and might make for a more family-oriented event.

  8. Like some comments above, I love the idea of having the convention in Pigeon Forge, one of my favorite places to visit, but the traffic would be my main concern. I can’t imagine that many folks trying to get through Sevierville at one time!!

    • The week chosen for the 2014 NQC is what’s called “off season”. The traffic is very light, when compared to “peak weeks”, like the July 4th Holiday, or during peak Fall color season. Pigeon Forge can easily handle the NQC traffic…over 9 million people visit the area every year…mostly during “peak season”.

      • I respectfully disagree with Gerald. I have lived in the area for YEARS and know that even though it may be an off-season….there is no such thing as “light” traffic for the PF area…especially when an event of this magnitude rolls in. Personally…I LOVE the idea of having NQC in East TN. But this kind of crowd will be the city’s biggest challenge….and the first year will set the stage for return visits. All this being said..I plan to be there and support this blessed and anointed effort!!

      • Bill, I think that Gerald knows one pertinent fact that influences his views: Pigeon Forge is at work on a route in that should alleviate many of the worst traffic jams.

      • True, Daniel…I’m just saying that even given this effort, people need to be realistically and mentally prepared for a tight fit. I’ve worked in cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston and call Knoxville my home. I’ve seen interstates widen, and new roads constructed, yet somehow the same bottlenecks and back-ups seem to occur in the same places..OR people find out about the NEW short-cut and it gets backed up too…lol. Short of a helicopter lift or the construction of a by-pass (or toll road) that would only allow NQC attendees access during the event, I can almost promise (without a crystal ball) it will a bit of a challenge for PF. Of course, I make these comments with a very light heart. I agree with many of the other comments and join them in saying, I embrace the change…I think it’s exciting and will give a much needed shot in the arm for NQC. I also think it’s a great thought that some of the area attractions, such as Dollywood and Dixie Stampede might offer some discounts and package rates for NQC attendees. A great time will be had by all, I’m certain! East TN is my home and I am honored that NQC is coming to my back yard!!

      • Actually, though I’m not familiar with all the developments first-hand, I am under the impression that a completely new route into Pigeon Forge is being constructed!

      • Lord, I hope you’re right! LOL Although I’m not sure where they would put a new route into PF. Seriously, I think it’s to be somehow connected to the by-pass from Sevierville that already leads to the Dollywood entrance…or in that area. We can be hopeful 🙂 I’m sure the powers that be will do all they can to make it a positive experience for those who visit our area!

      • That does sound right. Despite living only two hours away, I’ve only ever been there (and experienced the traffic) once, so I don’t have the firsthand familiarity with the area that would permit a definitive answer.

      • I think it’s safe to say, it will be no worse than Louisville access and definitely better than Atlanta rush hour! 🙂 And just like the transition from Nashville to Louisville, once we all get settled and learn our way around, it will be a great experience… PLUS a brand new facility!! I love a new car smell, don’t you?? lol

      • I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a new car smell! 🙂

  9. I for one am all for it and I live in Ky. The traffic won’t be as bad as you think. They’re doing a big expansion project in severville right now that will help the traffic congestion. Plus they’ll have lots more to do outside of the convention. And on a selfish side I’m only an hour and a half from pigeon forge.

    • When is the estimated completion date for those expansion projects? If not completed by 2014, that could create an even bigger headache for travelers if they have to deal with road construction too!

  10. I have been attending NQC with permanent seats for about 15 years now. (I live just outside Louisville) Kentucky Fair and Expo Center is an excellent venue with space for all the daytime shows, vendor space, food court, and Freedom Hall for the main concerts, all under the same roof…with onsight parking and lots of hotels, motels, space for RV parking, and numerous restaurants nearby.
    You can arrive in the morning and never have to step outside until the evening concert is over. I can’t imagine that any other facility, even a newly built one, will have all that is available in Louisville. Louisville and it’s surrounding area have lots to do if you want to do something other than concerts during the day. It will be a great loss for this area. I will probably try it in Pigeon Forge for the first year and see how it compares. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

    • It would be possible to make the case for Louisville over Pigeon Forge on other grounds, but I do believe that the argument of more things to do outside of NQC isn’t one that could well be used to advocate Louisville. 🙂

      • About all I ever do outside of NQC when I attend is sleep (or try) and eat brunch. LOL

      • Me, too. 🙂

    • I think you will be. Louisville’s facility is a great venue, for sure, but I believe the NQC audience will love attending the event in Pigeon Forge too. After all, most of them already love Pigeon Forge.

      • Hey Gerald – I think a lot of industry folk are kind of wondering about exhibitor space and showcases that may or may not be cut. Do you know if you can expound on any of those issues at the present? I know you’re a busy man (especially this week) – but I think shedding the light on that area may help a lot of folks wrap their minds around the move as well.

      • Hey Chris…thanks for asking. As it happens, I’ll be visiting the new site later today, along with several other NQC Board Members, for a “Steel-Signing Ceremony”. I’d never heard the term until last week, but we’ve been invited to participate, so it’s a first for me.

        Right now, we’re really focused on making our last NQC in Louisville the best one ever. At the same time, over the next several months, we’ll begin the process of pre-planning the 2014 move to Pigeon Forge. I’m hoping we’ll begin to put together a “Frequently Asked Questions” page for the NQC website, that will help address many of the questions we’ve already started hearing.

        Personally, I’m really excited about the move, but I’m also excited about 2013 in Louisville. I guess you could call it “bitter-sweet”. We’ll miss the familiarity of the facility and the staff in Louisville, but at the same time, we can be very optimistic about the new opportunities in Pigeon Forge.

  11. I think this is a good move overall for the industry of southern gospel. Of course there will be doubters and nay-sayers, but as Daniel mentioned, it is a privately owned business, and they have a priority and prerogative to continue to make it profitable. Have you seen the crowds these last few years? Have you seen the dwindling number of artists attending? Something had to be done. Having been to Louisville many times for NQC and other events, I think it is a wonderful place. However, Pigeon Forge is also a wonderful place. I think it will provide a wonderful atmosphere with plenty to do beyond the walls of the convention itself. NQC needed a jump-start. Good move in my opinion.

  12. I may be trying too hard to connect the dots, but here’s a few thoughts.

    Some artists and NQC board have not been able to agree on money terms, leading to those groups not coming to NQC. With moving to a smaller venue, which likely takes less money to rent, would that free up more money for the board to offer artists? Or maybe those are two parts of the NQC budget that are entirely unrelated?

  13. I live near Pigeon Forge as I live in Seymour. As hope that I can go in 2014. But NQC has their reasons for moving it there. Let’s support them the best way that we know how and that they need. Good luck in 2014 in Pigeon Forge!

  14. Well I reckon Gerald, Steve and a few others on the NQC board won’t have near as far too drive with it being in Pigeon Forge. LOL If I decide that I wanna go it ain’t that far for me either. Seriously I think anywhere was better than Louisville because of traffic and things to do outside of the expo center was a long way off. I loved when it was in Nashville. The electricity or excitement was in the air every time we got ready to sing and I mean every time. Of course the times were a little different then as far as music preferences but man it was great when the groups hit the stage the people were clapping and ect. I think one thing that helped was that it didn’t seem like people were so far away from the stage and we could all look at the audience and see who they were not just another set of eyeballs or in the case at Louisville the whites of their eyes. I’m not talking about seeing every person but hopefully ya’ll can understand where I’m coming from on this. I love the folks in Louisville and appreciate the ones who come out to churches that the SG groups sing at but I don’t want in any way to hurt feelings by my little comments. I hope Pigeon Forge can capture some of this excitement I’m talking about.

    Gracious I about wrote a book. Geeze.

  15. While there will likely be people who decide to stay away because of the change, there are also likely those who will now be able to attend because of the move. Those will likely cancel each other out.

    Most people coming from around the country will likely not be scared away by the change. They already travel long distances, many by flying in or taking tour buses, so a few hundred miles difference won’t be as big of a deal as someone who lives in the immediate area of Louisville.

    Finally, a major consideration is not only the size of the facilities, as DBM has pointed out, but also the quality. From everything I’ve heard, Freedom Hall has major concerns in the balcony for older or handicapped individuals. Considering a vast majority of NQCers are wiser in years, that is cause for concern. I’ve heard multiple stories about the poor accessibility, and it has even led for some to shy away from attending. Meanwhile, Pigeon Forge has a brand new facility under construction. Brand new means it has to be ADA compliant. Facilities will be much more suitable for the elderly.

    Facility size could also affect the sound of NQC, which has been an issue over the years. Maybe a venue change doesn’t help this, but it shouldn’t hurt.

    Change is hard, I get it. But sometimes, change is for the better, even if we do not see it at first.

    • Josh, I think you have a great point. Based on the comments I’ve seen all over the internet, there are certainly people close to Louisville who hate to see it leave. There are also people close to Pigeon Forge who can’t wait for it to arrive. I would guess, though, that those comments are running at least a 2-1 margin (maybe 3-1) in favor of Pigeon Forge. Put another way, I would guess there are 2-4 times as many Southern Gospel fans within a 2-hour drive of Pigeon Forge as within a 2-hour drive of Louisville.

      I also think you have a great point that the new facility could resolve the long-time complains about handicapped accessibility and sound. Enough current attendees have been registering complaints for long enough that I wouldn’t be surprised at all to know that that might have been a factor in decisions made to move.

      • Louisville is actually closer for artists in the Nashville area, but, yes, your probably right that more fans are closer to Pigeon Forge.

      • Well, yes, Louisville is about 30 minutes closer for Nashville artists. However, I think that’s more than counterbalanced by the fact that there are quite a few mainstage-tier artists in the Pigeon Forge area, and I can’t think of any in the Louisville area.

        Pigeon Forge area, 1-hour radius: Kingdom Heirs, Triumphant Quartet, Crist Family, Greater Vision, Talleys, McKameys. That’s a pretty significant list, right there.

        Louisville area, 1-hour radius: None that I can think of.

        If, however, you expand it to a two-hour radius:

        Pigeon Forge 2-hour radius: Kingdom Heirs, Triumphant Quartet, Crist Family, Greater Vision, Talleys, Kingsmen, Inspirations, Primitive Quartet, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, McKameys, Squire Parsons.

        Louisville 2-hour radius: Collingsworth Family, Soul’d Out, maybe Pfeifers. (Gaither is almost 3 hours to the north.)

        I would venture to guess that the fan base within 1-hour and 2-hour radiuses is in a comparable ratio.

      • Interesting analysis! I didn’t realize so many artists live close to Pigeon Forge!

      • Well, I can speak from experience here: When I lived up north, my general impression was that a whole bunch of Southern Gospel artists lived in TN and NC – somewhere in that general vicinity. Now that I live down here and it’s part of my extended region, I pay a little closer of attention! 🙂

  16. My trip is from the Houston area. I have enjoyed Louisville but I absolutely love Pigeon Forge and I love the NQC. I usually don’t have a lot of time for other activities since I enjoy staying untill the last note has been sung. Maybe I will arrive early or stay over for non NQC activities There are items to be considered and I am confident they will addressed and a wonderful experience awaits the attendees. Heading to the airport in a bit for another great NQC.

  17. !!!! That halfway stinks! I live about 2 hours north of Louisville! :/ But, it’s only halfway because I might ending up living in Knoxville, TN pretty soon, so I’m not totally disappointed. 🙂

  18. I have never posted on here, so I hope people realize I’m sharing concerns as a younger person, and not just lodging criticisms to be unkind. The new location is nearly the same distance for me (579 vs. 580 Miles) according to Google Maps. And I drove those miles for several years now to be at the convention for the one day I am able to attend. I usually drive 20 hours in a 44 hour period to get there and back home, while enjoying one evening and one morning of convention.

    I think change is good for any event of this size. It helps bring a new feeling of excitement and takes the event to a new circle of fans who are unable to travel a distance. I am happy NQC is moving away from Louisville.

    For all of the 30+ years of my life, I have always considered NQC to be the grandfather of all Southern Gospel events—an event that supersedes all other southern gospel events. When I think NQC, I think — this is the very pinnacle! Although I live all these miles away, I have vacationed in Pigeon Forge repeatedly—more than any other place, however I am having trouble associating the 5-star image and branding of NQC with the homespun, log cabin-type atmosphere of Pigeon Forge. Has the entire world of Southern Gospel really become this small, that it’s flagship event now fits in Pigeon Forge? I know the town is growing and adding the LeConte Center, but still…! I’m just not seeing this as good for the brand and image of NQC. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Honestly, a large portion of what is associated with a place like Pigeon Forge is how its visitors bureau has chosen to market it. When I think of Pigeon Forge, I don’t think of homespun log cabins – I think of traffic. 😀

    • Joe I must agree with your point. This has been my main dispute with the hall of fame being in Dollywood. When i actually visited the hall of fame, it only affirmed (unfortunately) what i had felt about it being in Dollywood. It seems the “industry” has made moves that have connected SG to smaller sort of novelty things. However i do believe (hope) that some future leaders have noticed this and are attempting to reverse this trend.

  19. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, so selfishly I would love for it to stay here, but NQC has to do what’s best from a business perspective, and I think the move is a wise one. People would rather go on vacation for a week in the Smoky Mountains than in Louisville, Kentucky, and to combine the beauty of that location plus a week of NQC, sounds like a little piece of Heaven! I will figure out a way to go, as I always take a week of vacation the week of NQC, and will truly be on vacation, not just at home, during NQC week.

  20. Gerald, if you see this could you tell us what this means for permament ticket-holders?

    • I’m sure you will all have the opportunity to renew your tickets, for a comparable seating arrangement.

    • Rick… My guess is that, in regard to permanent-seat holders, this move will be handled similarly to the way it was handled in the move from Nashville to Louisville in 1994. I’m sure you will be given the opportunity to “roll over” your seats to the new facility.

  21. As a Southern Gospel fan it really doesn’t matter. I loved the old Nashville Auditorium, Louisville was nice, I will miss the Breckenridge Inn and I am sure Pigeon Forge will be fine. I travel from Florida so it really doesn’t matter where it is. I do have quite a few more Time Share opportunities in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, none in Louisville. If this was in July I would say no but September should be fine.

    I also find it funny that people would actually think the directors choose venues based on where they live. I personally wish they would rotate it every year like the Super Bowl. It would keep it fresh. With the Memphis Quartet show happening next year and if it is successful, some people may be forced to make a choice, I was. I am not going to NQC but I have my tickets to the MQS. I love quartet singing. The NQC really should be renamed National Southern Gospel Music Convention. Just sayin….

    • Darren,

      I might consider going along with you on the name change idea, but I’d drop the “Southern” part, altogether. Many of the most popular Gospel groups of our generation are not from the South, ie. Cathedral Quartet, Gaither Trio / Vocal Band, Collingsworths, Couriers, Signature Sound Quartet, etc. . I was opposed to the “Southern” branding when the GMA started in the late 70s, and I still don’t use the term… but I do like your idea. 🙂

  22. Since I am moving to pikeville, KY nex year I dont mind th change by NQC. One thougt here: Would dollyood consider allowing a price reuction to enter the park that week if all you are going for is to tour the Southern Gospel hall of fame and museum? I know I would not want to dish out another $70.00 for park admission if all I am doing is going to the SGF&M. Maybe have a gate straight to he museum that doesn’t allow entrence to the rest of the park..Just a thought

    • With everything right there, who knows … package deals may be made available! Having so much right there does open up possibilities like that.

    • It is unreal that you have to pay an entire admission price to DW just to see the SG HOF/M. Most people view it as just another theme park ride/attraction. Dont get me wrong, i am a huge fan of Dollywood…

  23. I have been doing some research. I have no idea if this is the NQCs intent, but the first two events that have booked at the LeConte Center are using both the LeConte Center and the Sevierville Events Center facilities at the same time. According to Google Maps, those two facilities are 8.2 miles apart. Would that be a possibility for NQC as well? I’m not sure LeConte has the exhibit space otherwise.

    • Well, if it’s a ten-minute shuttle drive, that wouldn’t necessarily take any longer than it did to walk between Freedom Hall and the exhibit hall when it was in the South Wing a few years back!

      • Do I sense slight exaggeration, or are you being serious?!

      • Completely serious. 10 minute walk at beginning of week – 15+ later in the week when your feet are about ready to fall off! 🙂

    • I should add that the LeConte and the SEC are similar sizes, both just over 100,000 sq. feet. Combined, they may be just the amount of space needed.

  24. I too am excited about the change. I have always wanted to go to Pigeon Forge and the idea of rotating locations would be great also!!!

    The facility size does concern me and hopefully tickets will be available and it won’t be sold out??

    My other concern is that attendees that fly in would have to rent a car for the week. That is a significant expense that I never incurred in Louisville as shuttles are available to/from the hotel and I enjoy walking to Freedom Hall.

    Daniel, get the scoop for us, oh great Scoop Man. 😉

    Thanks a bunch!

    • I’ve heard a number of things about the move. I think many people will find many things to love! That said, specifics aren’t being released publicly yet, because the board does want to keep the spotlight on the festivities on next year’s final NQC in Louisville. That does make sense, I think, from both a practical and a business standpoint. So I’m just staying patient and waiting for appropriate green lights before releasing any further information.

    • Pigeon Forge has a great Shuttle system already in place, that you can hop onto and ride from your hotel to the LeConte Center, shopping, and restaurants. If you fly into Knoxville, and prefer not to rent a car, my educated guess is that you will be able to take a Shuttle Bus Service from the Knoxville Airport to Pigeon Forge. I would expect the Pigeon Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau to begin releasing information about those types of services soon after this year’s NQC.

  25. Hooray for Pigeon Forge Just spent fourth weekend this year there and I live 6hrs away Most will be surprised by all the things to do. Great city with a trolley system that can handle all the needs of the NQC ==

  26. Personally, I love it being in Louisville because it’s a shorter distance for me and much more convenient than Pigeon Forge. However, if the 2014 dates are not during the school year, that would be FANTASTIC. I LOVE NQC but I’m ususally only able to come Friday and Saturday because I’m a college student. Younger generations are the church of tomorrow and I feel it would be a very wise decision to host NQC when students aren’t in school.

  27. Frankly, I’m jazzed about the change in venue. We live across the river in Indiana and I’m excited at the chance for a “real” vacation! YAY!

    I was just expressing some serious concerns I have about the safety of navigating the steps in the arena the other night. I’m “only” middle-aged and have some balance issues and those steps terrify me. I can’t imagine being in my golden years and dealing.

    Good changes!

    • For those who don’t know, Gerald shared last night during the webcast chat that the LeConte facility in Pigeon Forge is all on one level, so there will be no concerns about stairs.

  28. I started attending NQC the last year it was in Nashville. I have enjoyed it being in louisville Ky, I share the concerns of some that a smaller venue will project and reinforce the worlds view of our music being a dyeing art. I understand and respect the boards need to remain profitable. The NQC is the best example of the top quality music this genre offers. I am in the radio broadcasting industry and everyday I have to convince advertisers that this music is not all banjo’s and bare footed sangers. Many in our industry are prime examples of quality, however many are not. All I ask is that the board of NQC keep the quality bar higher than ever. Yes most of our audience is older, but young people will respond to quality and honesty.

    • At the same time, speaking solely of appearances, a sellout crowd of 12,000 looks a LOT better than 12,000 in a venue that seats 20,000.

    • You have my vote!

  29. I found a website that calculates how many chairs can fit into a set square footage, and how many booths as well. I don’t know how well the website takes into consideration the stage or walking room, but this at least gives you an idea.

    For theater seating, the LeConte Center brochure says it will hold 11,500. I’m guessing that includes room for the stage, since the website calculator says over 12,500 chairs could fit with spacious room, and if you got the maximum number of chairs (tall people oppose this) you could fit 16,750

    For booth space of 22,750 square feet, which is the total of both multi-purpose rooms and the multi-purpose hall, there is room for 109 10′ x 10′ booths, or 145 8′ x 10′ booths, according to the calculator. I’m not sure how that number compares to the current space or how many groups currently buy booths.

    I’m guessing the multipurpose rooms would be for booths only. The LeConte website says there are separate food and beverage facilities.

    • Fascinating!

    • Seems I forgot about afternoon showcases. Those would either have to be in the big room, or it would cut down on booth space. Though I suppose with less booths already than at Freedom, maybe there wouldn’t be many regional groups with booths.

  30. Let’s just tell the truth. Another convention wants the Louisville venue and will pay more money for that week for their convention. Now if that conventions does not stay or does not work out then the Louisville venue will be out of luck.

    • While I don’t know everything that went on behind the scenes, if that is indeed what happened, it’s a pretty significant risk to end a long-term working relationship for someone who comes in with more money in the short term!

  31. For several years now, it seems like the board has been trying to “fix” NQC because of lower attendance. Program changes, showcases, etc have all been tweaked with for quite some time, and now the move to Pigeon Forge. When NQC was in Nashville, it seems like all the fans and groups came and were happy and everyone had a good time. If the schedule was printed in advance, I never saw a copy. It was the good old days, I suppose. We got there, bought a program and looked to see who we were going to get to hear that evening. We walked the exhibit hall and every major group was there and stayed the entire time. It was a fan-based event or it felt like it to me. It certainly didn’t feel broken. And the move to Louisville for bigger and better facilities and better parking was a welcome change at the time because it truly was needed. While I’m a supporter for progress and communication, do you think perhaps that now, knowing the line-up months in advance and with the ability to instantly communicate our likes or dislikes about it over the internet, has the media/internet contributed to some degree to the decline in attendance? There are always discussions and disagreements over who is on and not on the main stage. Groups get their feelings hurt if they are slighted and then choose not to participate. Fans start write-in campaigns. A lot of it comes down to “I’m not going to support this if I don’t get my way.” It’s like asking someone’s opinion and then that person being offended if you don’t follow their suggestion.” Only this time, it’s trying to please thousands of fans and hundreds of groups. I may be way off base, but it doesn’t seem like there used to be this much fuss over NQC until the internet, instant communication, and a forum for people to toss in their tw0-cents’ worth. I’m not against blogs, forums, and keeping the public informed, but from where I sit, the more people cause dissention and stir the pot, the worse things seem to get. I know there are other factors for sure: economics, an aging fan base, more multi-day events than ever, etc. And maybe it’s just that all of these different factors all coincided at the nearly the same time. What is your take, Daniel?

    • There probably were just as many fans prone to complain earlier, but now with the internet – and, especially, social media – they’re hearing each other complain. When ten people complain individually, it’s ten individual, disconnected complaints; when they find each other, they start thinking it’s a cause!

      I’m sure there were many times twenty or thirty years ago when they stopped inviting a certain group. I’m sure those fan’s groups got disgruntled. Take Couriers fans; there was a day when their favorite group brought the house down at NQC, and then a day when they no longer appeared. But their disappearance was quiet, because of the Internet. So I guess the Internet is a factor.

  32. The bottom line is we can talk about this till we are blue in the face but as it has been stated it is a privately owned company and those owners can and will do with their company what they want to do reguardless of who complains or how we feel. So we either go or we don’t go but the move is going to take place. I don’t like it either and will probably in June spend my southern gospel money in Tenneessee but in Memphis not Pigeon Forge.

  33. I live in Louisville, KY and of course, I am sad that NQC is leaving. One thing that concerns me is the traffic in PF. Our family loves PF and goes there every year the week after NQC; however, the traffic there sometimes can be VERY heavy. Also, I remember the year we had to go out of the main building at NQC for the exhibits. That was not enjoyable. So many of the people who attend NQC are senior citizens, and I feel that the convenience of being under one roof is certainly an advantage to them. I have only missed one night of NQC in all the years that I have been a permanent seat holder. I hope that I will be able to continue to travel to PF for NQC. The first night that I attended NQC, I sat in the arena for six hour without moving, because I loved it so much! I just pray that God will continue to bless NQC.

    • I have been told that construction is under way for alternate routes to the center that will alleviate some of the traffic concerns.

      • There seems to always be expanding and construction in Pigeon Forge… but that’s a good thing! Just for fun, I took a drive up to Pigeon Forge … camera in hand… during the “off season” a few months ago. It was a Saturday morning, and I arrived on the strip around 10am. I took a photo and posted it on Twitter at the time. I was near the intersection of the turn to go towards the new LeConte Center, and there was not a car in front of me for as far as my eyes could see. Not one car… on a Saturday morning.

        Bottom line… there will always by criticisms and “nay-sayers” whenever change happens. The truth is, none of us will know what the traffic in Pigeon Forge will be like on the opening day of NQC 2014 until the opening day of NQC 2014. Speculation is understandable, but apocalyptic traffic dead-lock is not likely during the third week of September in 2014. The third week of October would be an entirely different story! LOL (Fall-color “peak week”)

  34. I sincerely hope that the webcasts will continue when the move is made to Pidgeon Forge. They are nothing short of great. At least 500 of us subscribed this year and I anticipate that number to increase in future years.

    As for the future, folks purchasing tickets will vote with their money on whether or not this was a good business move. I note that the NQC only committed to two years at Pidgeon Forge and I think that was wise. Time, attendance and money will tell.

  35. Here’s more on the move, including dates for 2014 and 2015 [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed.]

  36. We are so excited to welcome the NQC to Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains! Such a great addition to our events for our visitors to enjoy.

  37. In respect to area for exhibits:
    Will this mean there will be less booth space for non-professional (not full-time) groups and other non-pertinent exhibits i.e. booths that are non-musical in nature?

    It will be an extra hour and a half driving for us, but I support the move 100%. We were in Gatlingburg in October at peak season and believe me the traffic was very slow; not so much in Pigeon Forge, and with the construction plan for the convention and new routes to get there, I don’t forsee that much of a problem.

    When NQC moved from Nashville to Louisville, it added an extra hour’s drive. I got used to it. Now, I’m looking forward to an extra hour and a half to Pigeon Forge. However, I hope it doesn’t move again.


  38. Why does the convention have to be in the south? There are southern Gospel fans ALL OVER the USA.
    We have Gold City up here A LOT as well as other groups and love it! Springfield, Missouri is a mecca
    of southern Gospel music as well as other nearby areas. Why not a central location like Springfield?
    There are venues all over like Branson, and tons of things in Springfield — even the St. Louis Cardinals
    AA team who won their series last year! Ya’ll come on up!

    • Averaging out the locations of all SG fans in the US, I doubt Springfield is central. 🙂 Also, there already is a major event at Branson, featuring most groups, isn’t there?

      • Just for discussion sake, I suggested Springfield, Mo. It certainly is more “central” than Pigeon Forge.
        I would be interested to learn just where most “fans” come from. Hopefully not just the south, though I
        love the south part of the country. Should it matter if Branson already has a big event? Maybe that’s
        because it’s a great vacation destination and it would be good to use Springfield for the convention.
        Just a thought. We’ll be attending the convention in Pigeon Forge next year.

      • Of course, it’s a moot point for the time being, with a multi-year contract in place with Pigeon Forge. But it can’t hurt to think ahead for future possibilities.

      • When considering a venue, all the factors had to be considered… driving proximity for current attendees, lodging capacities, pricing, etc. . We looked at several cities, including Indianapolis, IN, which is not in the South, and came to the logical conclusion that, if a move were going to happen, Pigeon Forge was the most logical choice. The members of the Convention & Visitors Bureau there are already Gospel Music fans, and are very familiar with our genre, and the needs of the Artists and Attendees of NQC.

        I’m sure there will be some “bugs” to work out… as there always are with any move of this size… but I really believe it will ultimately be a positive move for everybody who attends.

  39. Gerald,
    Is it true it is all flat floor seating. If that is true it will be a very difficult see…….

    • Yes. The LeConte Center has “flat-floor” seating, but it isn’t accurate to say “it will be very difficult to see.” With the “center-stage” configuration, the farthest seat from the stage will only be around 120 feet back. Also, the stage will be elevated, making it very easy to see over the heads of anyone who might sit in front of you. Plus, there will be jumbo screens over each side of the stage, allowing for “close up” views of people on the platform. For information’s sake, the most “in demand” seating in Louisville has always been the floor-level seating. If it were “very difficult to see” from those seats, Permanent Seat Holders wouldn’t renew them every year, and people wouldn’t line up year after year to try to get them.