Major gospel music event books dates in 2014, 2015
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (September 2012) – The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge has its fourth major booking. The National Quartet Convention (NQC) has committed to weeklong events in 2014 and 2015.
The NQC is a major event in southern gospel music. Organizers predicted the 2012 event would bring approximately 40,000 people from 40 states and several countries to Louisville, Ky.
“The NQC is another great example of what the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge means to the local economy,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.
Dates booked are Sept. 21-28, 2014, and Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2015.
“This is great for Pigeon Forge. The National Quartet Convention represents a huge volume of room nights and restaurant business,” said Phil Campbell, president of the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association.
“One thing that really impressed the NQC staff was how quickly and effectively the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association reacted to the prospect of the convention’s coming to Pigeon Forge,” Downey said. “That interest really helped NQC decide on Pigeon Forge.”
Pigeon Forge’s quantity and variety of accommodations, the family-friendly atmosphere and the setting at the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park were major reasons to choose Pigeon Forge, according to Clarke Beasley, executive vice president of the National Quartet Convention.
The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is scheduled to open in September 2013. Groundbreaking for the $45 million structure was in October 2011. Its primary feature is a 100,000-square-foot, clear-span hall.
It is designed to attract trade shows, competitive events, special events, festivals and large assemblies in the style of the NQC.
Its first booking was for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November 2013, and its second and third bookings were with the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, which plans conferences each December and January, starting in December 2013.
JD Sumner, a gospel music legend and former backup singer for Elvis Presley, founded the NQC in 1957 and co-produced it with James Blackwood.
Lineup for the 2012 event included the Gaither Vocal Band, the Hoppers, the Kingdom Heirs, Gold City, Greater Vision, the Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, Triumphant Quartet and the Isaacs.
Tom Adkinson, APR