Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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National Quartet Convention Announces Move in 2014

September 09, 2012 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

With college starting up for me recently, I hadn’t found much time to blog as I settled back in to the routine. Now that I’ve found a bit of time, what better news story to cover than a change in the biggest event in Southern Gospel music? It turns out that the rumors that have popped up around our corners of the web of NQC moving to Pigeon Forge are true. Check out the press release (emphasis mine).

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.

It was not mentioned in the press release where, exactly, in Pigeon Forge that that NQC will find a home, but I’m assuming that they aim to hold the event in the new convention center being built there. While I’m not convinced that the size of that, or any of the facilities in Pigeon Forge, are a step up from Freedom Hall, I trust that a lot of time and thought was given to the decision. We’ll see what transpires in the next couple of years.

Speaking of NQC, I plan on being there from Wednesday night onward, and giving my thoughts on each night again (if not every night, then at least the nights on which I am attending). Say what you will about NQC, but the interaction with people on both sides of the stage lights is unrivaled at this event, and I look forward to joining many of you there!

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7 Comments to “National Quartet Convention Announces Move in 2014”


  1. I think the point is probably that NQC wants/needs to move to a smaller venue.

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  2. I think that the NQC moving to Pigeon Forge makes sense as PF is the headquarters for Southern Gospel Music now (my opinion).

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  3. I believe it makes sense that NQC is moving to the LeConte Center. Brand new facility and looks very nice. Definitely a smaller venue. It will be a more intimate setting. From the specs I have been able to find the main hall will only seat about 11,700. With the Memphis Quartet Show coming next year they may be anticipating a drop in attendance. I am sure $ had something to do with it. I personally love the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge area. I could not find any press release from the city to confirm my ideas.

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  4. Great move!

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  5. Melody Robinson says:

    I attended the NQC concert at Pigeon Forge Friday and Saturday night. I have been attending since 2003 in Louisville at Freedom Hall I live in Louisville and have had relatives from 3 different states come to Freedom hall actually longer than I had been attending myself, some of them go back about 20 years of attendance to convention. Usually between 25 or 30 of us purchase the tickets a year in advance to get good seats, we contemplated on buying advance tickets to Le Conte center last year as convention was leaving Freedom Hall, we all went ahead and purchased tickets for 2014 and we came. We did not come to Pigeon Forge for any other reason other than to attend the convention. So how many people followed from all over the states to Pigeon Forge, a bunch who mostly came for the concert which was so disappointing. How could anyone think that one section all seats lined in a row would or could allow everyone who came to be able to see the performers at least a glimpse of the stage then when they walk on each side of the stage that is when you look at the big screens which this year were not enough there at all . Well the down sizing of the facility was a bad idea 12,000 people attended some were turned away sold out biggest attendance since 2001 that is great but they were very poorly accommodated don’t you think. Our group decided to have Rocky Top Tours pick us up at the Condo we rented because we were not sure how to get to the center or how the parking situation was, their service was great also the accommodations at Whispering Pines was great. As far as the Concert the performers were great what we could see and hear which was not much, the worst thing the sound, the lights and the seating was the worst I have ever seen we did not know who was performing we could not see nor hear them half of the time, even the big screens were distorted, without elevated seats all we got to see was the back of peoples heads. And heard a lot of distorted music. So we did not purchase tickets for next year.

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  6. Wes Kretzer says:

    We too attended this year after many years of Louisville attendance. Folks we have moved from the major league to the minors. The Le Conte facility, as nice and new as it is, is WAY WAY too small. Our seats on the first night were horrible, we had no big screen, we couldn’t see anything, the best we had was being able to hear. So poor that we skipped to Friday night and our seats were better (at least we had a big screen within view). The hallways were totally jammed, you couldn’t visit with any of the singers, there were security people urging everyone to keep moving, the parking was a complete disaster, let it be said, my family will not attend the NQC again until they have relocated to a larger more robust facility. There were four in our group and we all feel the same way – this was really pathetic. I certainly feel that Louisville had more than it’s share of issues, especially with the steep steps into the bleachers which were so hard on the elderly, BUT, the area for the booths was wonderful at Louisville and there were plenty of bathroom facilities etc… there HAS to be another location that is affordable that offers the accommodation’s the NQC seeks!!!! AS tourist driven and fun as the Pigeon Forge Area can be, and we DID enjoy the area, we looked around and it doesn’t appear there is a civic arena or ANY type of facility in that geography that could accommodate our group. Rumor has it the NQC

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  7. Wes Kretzer says:

    I don’t know why when I post the letters for National Quartet Convention it then posts … so to finish, rumor has it they have signed a 3 year contract for this facility, and folks there’s no way things will be better. There’s no ROOM to make it better – we were using every available inch of that facility and I can’t even imagine what a nightmare it was for those that attempted to go to some of the events that were located in neighboring facilities. None of them were within walking distance that’s for sure. Going to this event has been a part of our lives for many years, and it saddens me to know we’re going to miss it for at least a few years, but there’s NO WAY we would go to this facility again. Sorry Sevierville, you REALLY stepped out of your league when you enticed a group this large to come to your town. I’m confident we aren’t alone in how we feel.

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