A major gospel music convention is coming to Pigeon Forge in a couple of years.
The Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism announced Wednesday that the National Quartet Convention (NQC) will be held at the soon-to-open LeConte Center in 2014 and 2015.
According to a press release, the NQC is a major event in southern gospel music. The 2012 event in Louisville, Kentucky, is expected to attract around 40,000 people from 40 states to see acts like the Gaither Vocal Band, the Hoppers, the Kingdom Heirs, Gold City, Greater Vision, the Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, Triumphant Quartet and the Isaacs.
"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.
"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.
The dates of the events will be Sept. 21-28, 2014, and Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2015.
"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. 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.