Posts Tagged ‘National Quartet Convention’

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge Pulls in 250,000 People, Generates Millions of Dollars in Local Spending, Taxes

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2015) – Pigeon Forge’s events center in its first year pumped multiple millions of dollars into the local economy and had an estimated attendance of more than 250,000 people.

Independent research on just three of the 25 events to date – the National Quartet Convention, the Celebrators Conference and the Fall Rod Run – estimated $24.2 million in local spending, primarily for lodging, dining, attractions and shopping.Schatz_L5C3283

Those three events delivered an estimated $2.4 million in taxes to Pigeon Forge, Sevier County and the state of Tennessee.

The first major event in the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge was the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show, a five-day show in November 2013.

It was followed by a mix of events that included religious conferences, other tradeshows, concert events, city-sponsored special events and athletic competitions.

“The purpose of the LeConte Event Center is to attract people to Pigeon Forge who will stay overnight and patronize businesses in many sectors of our economy. It is fulfilling its mission in a grand fashion,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

Downey pointed to the wide variety of events in the building as another indicator of success.

“The LeConte Event Center is flexible and adaptable to many types of events. Show producers have sought us out, and many booked multi-year contracts right away,” Downey said.

Downey labeled the National Quartet Convention as the “blockbuster event of the year.”

That event, known by its NQC initials, filled the LeConte Event Center for seven consecutive days of gospel music concerts. NQC executives said approximately 40,000 individuals came to Pigeon Forge for some part of that week.

Majority Opinion Research, an Atlanta marketing research firm, will study 10 events from the facility’s first year to determine their estimated economic impact.

Findings from just the first three completed studies estimate event attendee spending at $24.2 million, which generated more than $453,000 in Pigeon Forge taxes, more than $585,000 in Sevier County taxes and more than $1.4 million in state taxes.

“We asked NQC attendees whether they planned to return, and 47 percent of them said they planned to visit us again independent of NQC,” Downey said.

Facility manager Phil Campbell said more events will be researched in 2015.

“The cumulative picture will help us identify the types of events to pursue for open dates,” Campbell said.

The LeConte Event Center is a 232,599-square-foot facility located along the Little Pigeon River and beside the Pigeon Forge Greenway in the middle of Pigeon Forge.

Its primary feature is a 100,500-square-foot, clear-span hall. It also includes a 12,000-square-foot multi-purpose hall and up to 14 multi-purpose rooms that range from 500 to 2,000 square feet. It has adjacent parking for 1,600 vehicles.

Information about the LeConte Event Center and all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is at and



Tom Adkinson, APR




Southern Gospel Music World To Focus on Pigeon Forge for National Quartet Convention

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Sept. 8, 2014) – The attention of the Southern gospel music industry will be on Pigeon Forge, Tenn., from Sept. 21-27 when hundreds of performers and upwards of 40,000 fans unite for the National Quartet Convention (NQC).

“When the first song is sung in Pigeon Forge, the NQC will open another chapter in its long history because it will mark our return to the state where we started almost 60 years ago,” said Clarke Beasley, executive vice president.

J.D. Sumner, a gospel music legend and former backup singer for Elvis Presley, founded the NQC in 1957 in Memphis, co-producing it with James Blackwood. It later moved to Nashville and has been in Louisville, Ky., for 20 years.

The Kingdom Heirs are among the scores of acts set for the National Quartet Convention.

The Kingdom Heirs are among the scores of acts set for the National Quartet Convention.

Its Pigeon Forge home is the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a $45 million special events facility that opened in 2013. The center’s primary space will be configured for nearly 12,000 seats for the NQC, with no seat more than 150 feet from the stage.

Featured artists are a “Who’s Who” of Southern gospel music, and nightly concerts feature up to 20 acts. Among them are the Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, the Hoppers, the Kingdom Heirs, Triumphant and the Collingsworth Family, as well as prominent soloists such as Guy Penrod and Grammy Award winner Jason Crabb.

Special events during the week include the Singing News Fan Awards, a fan-voted program of Singing News Magazine, on Sept. 25, the keynote address by Dr. David Jeremiah on Sept. 26, the Cathedrals’ Family Reunion featuring several alumni of gospel’s most celebrated group and a 5K run on Sept. 27 that benefits the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located in Pigeon Forge at the Dollywood theme park.

“The NQC is the biggest prolonged group event in Pigeon Forge’s history, and everyone in the tourism and hospitality industry is geared up and ready,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The NQC already has booked a return to Pigeon Forge and the LeConte Event Center. Dates are Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2015.

Admission information for 2014 concerts is available online at, by calling toll-free 800-846-8499 and at the door.

Visitor information about Pigeon Forge is available online at and by calling 800-251-9100.



Tom Adkinson, APR







Pentecostal Youth Meeting Books Five Years at LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 4, 2013) – The Pentecostal Fire Youth Conference, which started in 2003 with attendance of 250 and this year has 6,000 registrants, has committed to five annual meetings at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

The conference, which has been in Louisville, Ky., for the past four years, has a contract for 2014-2018 in Pigeon Forge’s new events center.

Pentecostal Fire Youth Conferences are two-day events every spring that will use the 232,000-square-foot building for fellowship, worship, musical programs and youth pastor training sessions. The first Pigeon Forge dates are April 4-5, 2014.

“Our youth event has grown very quickly. We are blessed. We’re looking for a nice bump in 2014 during our first year in Pigeon Forge,” said Rev. David Webb, president of Pentecostal Fire Conferences of America, which has offices in Hodgenville, Ky.

Webb said the first Pentecostal Youth Fire Conference was in his own church in 2003 and had attendance of 250. By its fifth year, it had moved into much larger facilities and attracted 3,500. He said this year’s event in Louisville will attract 6,000.

“It is a big draw and is important to young people’s lives. Pigeon Forge is a great setting for them, and I believe many will come early to enjoy all that the city and Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer,” Webb said.

He said this year’s registrants are from 35 states. Most are from the Southeast and Midwest, but there are attendees from as far away as California and Maine.

“We were drawn to Pigeon Forge because the LeConte Center exactly fits our needs. Other big factors are the variety of restaurants and the array of lodging with various prices,” Webb said.

The $45 million LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is on schedule for completion in September.

It is designed to attract trade shows, competitive events, special events, festivals and large assemblies such as the Pentecostal Youth Fire Conference and the National Quartet Convention, which has booked weeklong engagements for 2014 and 2015.

Its first booking is for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November, and its second and third bookings are with the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, which plans conferences each December and January, starting in December 2013.

“The Pentecostal Fire Youth Conference will bring a great group of people to town who will have a significant economic impact,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, adding that the conference will use the new Pigeon Forge Housing Bureau for its lodging arrangements.

“We’ll be delighted to see its attendees start rolling into town next April,” Downey said.



Tom Adkinson, APR