Further information on NQC 2014

Over the last week, a number of further details have filtered out about the 2014 National Quartet Convention:

  • The Sevier County News reports that it will be moving to the end of the month—Sept. 21-28, 2014, and Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2015. (Hat tip, DBM). [EDIT, 3/16/13: Broken link removed.]
  • The NQC Board went to the still-in-construction LeConte Center earlier this week to sign the final steel beam of the structure before it was put into place. They also sang “Amazing Grace” for attendees and for local media.
  • Pigeon Forge’s Mountain Press newspaper has an extensive story on the move. [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed.] Money quote: “Other venues are expected to get used as well, Downey said, for spinoff and related convention activities.”

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42 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I’ve got a burning question about this whole thing:

    Who sang tenor on “Amazing Grace”?

    • Well, Mark Trammell and Jim Brady were both present, and they both could have done it easily enough. I wouldn’t be shocked if they just did one verse in unison, though.

      • An NQC Board doing something in unison?! Preposterous!

        Singing, that is… :)

      • :)

    • Actually, Mark jumped up to the tenor part. He can sing any part. He has the best “ear” for harmony in our genre.

  2. I believe I read that NQC said the event would be in shoulder season when traffic was less and presumably accommodation rates were lower. A chart I found online didn’t use the term”shoulder” but said the off season was January to May and season was June to December except for July and October which were peak season. That puts the convention in season or peak season. And with 10,000 or so extra people coming to town for NQC, I guess it is possible some places will move to peak season rates a littler earlier in late September.

    • Being a frequent visitor to Pigeon Forge, I can tell you that the week chosen by NQC for the 2014 move is a very low traffic week. We go up there quite often for dinner, after Labor Day weekend, and before the “color season”, which usually hits beginning the second week in October. With Steve French being both a resident, and a member of the NQC Board, he is well educated on the “traffic seasons” in the area, as well. The Tourism Department suggested the weeks that they believed would work best, and they are working with the hotels that want to be involved to “lock in” rates, to prevent the “gouging” you’re wanting to allude to. Pigeon Forge is well-prepared to take on huge task of housing the NQC attendees, and they are very grateful and excited about the opportunity to host the event.

      • Any number of people have contacted me, expressing concern about one element or another of the move. I’ve gotten to where I just say, “Several members of the board live in the immediate area, and I’m sure they know what they’re doing. They’re too smart to move it to a weekend that’s bad for the event.”

  3. Moving the NQC to a state of the arts, up to date high tech venue allows for increased audio and video opportunties in 2014 and beyond.
    The Pigeon Forge LeConte Center:
    http://www.cityofpigeonforge.com/lecontecenter.aspx
    Having the event that is called home to several artists within a short driving distance will help in the production of the convention.
    Some may say hometown was a factor. Far from the case for the major artists or organizers of the NQC.
    Some of the higher profile artists are normally 6-8 hours north of the NQC while their hometown is hours on the other side of NQC.
    Driving an extra few hours is only a drop in the bucket in comparison to their normal touring schedule.
    For other artists, it makes alot of sense to have dates along the way to help pay the freight in route to the convention.

    It is understandable for the industry or ministerial type not to have time to see the sights.
    They come on a limited amount of days or a day to do their networking and conduct business on a personal basis.
    There are more concert goers aka tourists who will buy ornaments for the Christmas tree, purchase those unique gifts, eat at 1 of 3 Cracker Barrels or have lunch at Tony Gore’s restaurant.
    Thrill seekers can do this if they have not done so all ready: http://www.adventureziplinesofsevierville.com/

    The southern gospel music concert goers are knowledgeable about making the trip to the Smokies.
    There are may well established, annual SGM events in the Smokies in the various seasons to suit your fancy.
    There are over 40 multiple nightly events that have been held for several years that the concert goers keep coming back for.
    For first time concert goers, the locals have a trolley system to take you anywhere from your hotel:
    http://www.pigeonforgetrolley.org/
    http://www.pigeonforgetrolley.org/routes/all-routes/
    Drivers can find those back roads that run parallel to the Parkway (Rte. 441):
    http://www.smokiesvisitorsmap.com/

    The Center is city owned which will allow for a smoother transition into an enjoyable event for the NQC.
    There will be several major events at the Center starting in September, 2013 allowing for fine tuning the venue for the NQC.
    http://seviercountynews.com/mike-williams/leconte-center-pigeon-forge-host-national-quartet-convention/30865
    A city owned venue will allow for all the resources of the local government to be at the disposal of the Center.

    They had the Signing of the Steel Ceremony yesterday:
    http://www.wbir.com/news/article/235290/2/Signing-of-the-steel-ceremony-marks-milestone-in-Pigeon-Forge

    All there is left is the the ribbon cutting for the Center and opening ceremonies for the 2014 NQC.

    NOTE: 2014 is two years away. Mapping date might need updating due to changes.

  4. Maybe I misunderstood, but does this mean NQC will take place over the course of 2 weeks rather than 1? If so, is this to distribute the crowd as well as the artists over more days? I would hate to just see half of the groups during my visit. Maybe I have this all wrong?

    • The two different dates given fall into two different years – 2014 and 2015.

      • Oops…if I could only read! Thanks.

      • No problem!

      • I thought the reason for NQC leaving Louisville was because The Expo wanted the usual date for another event. And now the date will change anyway?

      • I’m sure there was more than one factor involved, though the fact that they could not keep their usual NQC dates in Louisville was surely a factor. One of the articles linked above (the third, as I recall) also cites economic factors making a 11,500-seat-auditorium sound more appealing.

      • The other week offered by Kentucky was in June, which would have been too much of a departure from the usual dates.

  5. Do you know how many people were at NQC this year? We were looking over the specifications for this new center and it says it has parking for 1,600. That seems really small. Freedom Hall held 20,000?

    • I do not know. Monday and Tuesday looked to be below 5,000, at least sitting in Freedom Hall; Friday was probably peak night, and may have reached 15,000, but I don’t think it hit capacity.

      I have been assured by NQC board members that there will be parking arrangements in place by then. I do not know what the arrangements will be, though.

      • According to the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center’s website, they had 19,000 parking spaces.

        It will be interesting to see what they come up with!

      • Well, the entire KYF&EC probably does have 19,000 spaces, but the center is spread over a gigantic amount of acreage. Probably some of those parking spaces are associated with the sports auditorium on the other side of the center, and, well, once you parked, you’d need to call a taxi to get you to the center. :)

        I know how much y’all like counting; perhaps, just for comparison, you could count how many parking spaces are in the lot in front of Freedom Hall presently. I’d venture to guess it’s more than 1,600, but I have no idea by how many! http://goo.gl/maps/ql66p

      • PF also has the trolley system that runs through town, which I’m sure will be heavily publicized.

      • A little clarification is needed to be fair to both KYF&EC $ The Center.
        During the better times of doing business, KYF&EC was designed for muti-purpose use with drive-in traffic at the same time.
        You had the Freedom Hall could be hosting a rock concert, a trade show in the exhibit halls and conference room. You could have a University of Louisville hosting North Carolina in a football game at the stadium across the way. Up to 2010, you had a 6 Flag theme park using the same parking lot.
        It would unlikely at all would all in use at the same time on Saturday. It just a show and tell why there were 19,000 spaces.

        Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is designed to be connected by a trolley system allowing tourists to leave their cars at their hotel while be transported to various location in the three towns.

        Three things NQC has going for them that three bookings in late 2013 allowing nine months for adjustmenrts.
        The gift show in November of 2013 will be a big test for the venue.
        Lots of time to get it done.
        There will new hotels within walking distance coming to the neighborhood of the Center.

    • I was there and in the upper level Friday night. The middle upper sections were fairly filled up, but the corner sections were closer to empty. I don’t think the upper level was even close to 50% full.

  6. Perhaps I’m just missing something, but I do not see anything about the auditorium where the actual concerts will take place. I see the exhibit hall, and the different conference rooms and stuff. Am I just not seeing it or are they still planning the auditorium part of things?

    • What the LeConte calls its exhibit hall is what presumably will be used as the auditorium for main stage events.

      • With no auditorium or arena, I assume it means all the seats will be on ground level unless temporary risers are brought into the exhibit hall. It NQC wants to sit 10,000, it means 100 seats wide by 100 rows deep. But I admit it’s impossible at this point to say accurately what the setup will be for concerts, showcases and exhibits. An evangelist is holding a conference there in 2013 so maybe that will give an idea of potential setups for NQC.

      • Gerald Wolfe stated last week that all seats would be ground level. The LeConte website says it will hold 11,500.

      • So…where will the exhibit area be? :)

      • The side rooms, most likely. The interesting thing to see will be how that works itself out. Will groups be able to set up all week or only part? Will all showcase groups be able to set up a booth?

        I’m guessing you’ll no longer see booths selling hospital beds, though…

      • …and that last part won’t exactly be a bad thing. :)

      • It might a little too early to ask about specifics.
        It is not a hurry up and wait situation rather a wait and see what develops for all us.
        The 2013 convention is alot closer than the 2014 NQC.
        The distribution of information process has not changed.
        We know the dates and the location.
        NQC has told us that housing clearinghouse and the ticket process will be in place by the time the 2013 convention rolls around.
        Information will probably be distribution in the same format as in previous convention.
        Nothing really has changed in the process except our anxiety levels.
        Someone I know and Someone I pray you know once said, “Peace, Be still.”
        Booths in an large event might be a fun thing and gives anegoist opportunity for people on the fringe is not always the best course of action.
        A good communicator is sell anything out of a telephone booth.
        I would like to have my favorite artist or organization to have a 10, 20 x 10 booth if that what it takes.

      • Actually, the seating diagram I saw last week was 12,000 seats with a center-stage configuration.

    • Right from the source, on his Facebook’s page, Gerald Wolfe in response to a comment by Eric N Lisa Ammerman… on 09.20.12 at 7:38 AM

      “The seating capacity of the new LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge is 12,000, with a “center-stage” configuration.”

      Mr. Wolfe stated elsewhere on his Facebook’s page to watch the NQC’s site of Facebook’s page which will be coming in the future as happenings develop.

      It would not hurt to check Mr. Wolfe’s page from time to time.

      • Fascinating! I guess that would make more sense to have it in a center-stage configuration. Will give those with a back-row seat a much better view than if it was an end-stage configuration.

  7. I skipped nqc this year and spent the week I. Pigeon forge! After hearing the announcement I paid attention to traffic. It was pretty easy going and light all week with a slight pickup frida due to a city wide car show. If the trolley system is advertised right it will work .

    • Hey Mark… take a ride back up there this week, to get a better idea of what the traffic will be like in 2014.

  8. I remember when NQC sent out a survey a couple of years back asking the fans about their preferences for location and dates. As I recall, about half of the fans wanted it to remain in Louisville regardless of the dates, and the other half wanted the dates to remain the same regardless of the location. As it turns out, they are changing both the location and the dates.

    Speaking of date changes, why doesn’t NQC happen during the summer when the kids are out of school? One of the biggest complaints I hear each year is that there are very few young people attending NQC. Hello! They are in school during NQC! Duh! It would make sense to have NQC during the summer vacation months when entire families could attend. I’ll bet the attendence would be better! Speaking from personal experience, I would have attended NQC much earlier than 2009 if it had been held in the summer instead of September. I had to wait until my son graduated before I could go. I meant to ask Gerald Wolfe about this last week and just plain forgot about it

    • Well, if they moved it now, it would be a point of conflict with the Gatlinburg Gathering, another event held in the same vicinity that was moved to summer so as to not conflict with NQC (I assume).

    • As a parent of school-aged children, I would love to have the event during the Summer school break, but the NQC has always been in September or October…or at least it has for as long as I’ve been going. We have always taken our children out of school for at least two days of NQC. We think it’s a great educational experience for them, and their teachers and school administrators have always agreed.

      All of us would always like to have everything perfect for what works for us, on a personal level, but there’s a much larger picture we have to consider when making decisions for an event as large as the NQC.

      • We also have small children and we would all love to attend NQC during the summer break. Sept and Oct cause only one of us to be able to attend. A family trip would be great! Especially someplace fun like Pigeon Forge.

  9. I hope the new facility will be warmer than Freedom Hall. Been sick since I left Freedom Hall. Air conditioning blowing on you would freeze you out at Freedom Hall. Consequently, my wife and I moved upstairs to find a seat where the air didn’t blow on you. Even the display area was cold. I had to eat fast before my food got cold.