Make Your Suggestions For NQC 2015 Here

Make Your Suggestions For NQC 2015 Here


Here is a quick question for everyone who just attended the 2014 National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, TN:
Now that the 2014 NQC is over, do you plan to return in 2015?

Use the comment section to tell us what you liked or disliked about the week and anything in between. You can go into detail, or simply answer yes or no.

If you have time, make a list of suggestions for the NQC board to consider in 2015.

I’d like to hear from fans, main stage artists, Music Road stage artists, exhibitors, employees of the venue, sound people, video people, members of the NQC board, Pigeon Forge town officials, etc. Everyone who was there!

The two ringing complaints I have heard from almost every person who has offered an opinion were about the parking lot logistics and flat floor seating. Here is what I would suggest to fix both of those issues:

  1. Parking – The biggest issue with regards to parking (aside from the poorly thought out design) is when a huge crowd exits at one time. I saw that nightmare first-hand on Tuesday evening when the group I was with stayed to hear the Collingsworth Family finale and then had to wait with about 5000 other people in one confined spot for a shuttle to take us to an off-site parking lot over a mile away.

NQC could diminish this congestion simply by extending the on-stage time another hour to midnight and not saving the big name groups for last to try to keep people there. People would then trickle out as they got tired rather than exiting all at once.

Now obviously, the ideal solution would be to build bigger parking lots closer to the building, but that might not be an option. What I’m suggesting would diminish the problem without requiring a change in the resources that are currently available.

  1. Flat Seating – Put elevated riser seating at the back of each of the large sections. This would solve two problems, actually. It would help people with seats in that area be able to see with only a few steps to climb, plus it would eliminate the annoying crowd of “wall-huggers” who came in each night, stood around the outer walls, and then rudely distracted those who were trying to enjoy the music by talking loudly to each other.

ADDED SUGGESTIONS FOR BEYOND 2015 (Article updated October 1, 2014):
Beyond 2015, I think NQC should seriously consider moving to Duluth, Georgia just northeast of Atlanta. Pigeon Forge maxed out its potential in the first year. There’s no room for the event to grow there.

Take a look at this comparison…

Duluth, Georgia would give NQC advantages they’re never likely to have in Pigeon Forge in the near future:
1. Major interstate access going right by the venue
2. Better parking options
3. Ample room for NQC to do everything on one campus. It’s not as big as Louisville…far from it…but it would give people breathing room compared to Pigeon Forge.
4. Room to sell at least 1500 more tickets each night
5. Far superior sight lines to the stage
6. No wall huggers

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David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

MusicScribe Comments

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  1. Reply September 30, 08:35 #1 Carol R Hensley

    Parking – why not build a couple of parking gargages on the hill above the Le Conte Center?
    The flat seating was not ideal. Risers in the back areas of each section is a good idea. The big screens did help.
    I didn’t see any other vendors {Radio, Clothing} except for the Gospel Groups. Someone in one of the groups said they missed the Youngs being there with their clothing line.
    I would have loved to have seen Joy FM there.
    The other thing was the limited space for other vendors.
    I never went to NQC in Louisville, so I don’t have the comparison.

  2. Reply September 30, 10:00 #2 coomercove

    – Better air conditioning… especially in the room where the Old Paths, Collingsworth Family, and Triumphant had their booths. I about suffocated in that room.

    – I would like the stage to be raised a little higher. I could not get any decent pictures without raising my camera over my head and blocking the view of the person behind me. I didn’t want to be rude, so I only got a couple of good photos. Risers could also help with this problem.

    – They definitely need more than one ice cream vendor. HUGE line for ice cream each time I was in the food court.

    – I liked that this NQC lacked the flea market row and I think a lot of the artists did as well. Multiple artists mentioned to me that their product sales were MUCH higher than in Louisville. I would think that not having all those outside vendors helped the artists sale more CDs.

    • Reply September 30, 10:30 admin Author

      Yes, it was stuffy in the entire building. If NQC had been a mid-summer event, I’m afraid it would have been unbearably hot in there. Some engineer must have cut one too many corners on the A/C requirements. Figuring out parking and seating issues should be NQC’s primary concern at this point, but that hot building should definitely be on their list of issues to address before 2015 rolls around as well.

  3. Reply September 30, 10:20 #3 Robert York

    Number 1 – All the talking and hanging out along the back walls. My suggestion to improve. Require EVERYONE to have a ticket or seat doing away with the exhibitor passes. The security, ticket checking was poor. Most anyone could walk in off the street. At Louisville they you had to have a ticket to enter. Maybe have ticket booths at the doors as you enter like they do at other venues. Reserve a section for the artist to sit so they don’t stand along the walls.
    Number 2 – Flat floors – I doubt that anything can be done to correct this problem. The venue was designed to do all type shows and elevated floors would limit the kind of shows that occur there. If temporary bleachers was added I don’t think folks would like to sit on that type seating. I went to numerous programs at the Grand Convention Center before it was demolished and on occasion they would bring in bleachers and they were terrible, no backs and hard seating. I think NQC has committed to adding at least 4 more screens to the venue. The added screens will certainly help.
    Number 3 – Booth Space – It is VERY crowded. In my opinion there were some booths that should not have been permitted as they were not groups that were singing on main stage. Noticed one promotion company had at lease 4 spaces. I guess they avoided the two space rule by having all their artist listed for the booth. There was a junk record dealer that had at least three spaces. Maybe have the top groups have their space in the main hallways and smaller groups have a single space in one of the different rooms.
    Number 4 – Food prices and variety. I thought the prices of food was extremely high compared to Louisville. Common ice cream $6.00 a cone. Hey folks stop at a grocery in the area and buy you a half gallon for less. (Same brand they served). If the food courts opened at least 30 minutes earlier it might avoid some of the rush. Maybe have all the food in the same area and open the larger food section for booths.
    Number 5 – Parking – RIDE THE TROLLEY – I know parking was a problem and is always going to be a problem for big events in Pigeon Forge. At lease as the week progressed they handled the situation better. There are many free parking spaces along the Parkway where you can park and catch the trolley. After all I’m rather pay a $1.00 a day and ride the trolley instead of fooling with the traffic and parking problem. I talked with several people who parked on the Parkway and caught the trolley. They might increase the trolley routes to four (4) next year so they didn’t have to go to as many hotels. I think, at least the one I road, stopped at every trolley stop along their route and ALL Hotels was served by a trolley.

    I’ve complained if you call it that enough but I think all in all with the situation they had and it being the first that both the NQC Board and the City of Pigeon Forge did a marvelous job. After all it takes a baby a year to walk and around two years to talk. Looking forward to next year, I'[ll be there my usual Mon – Wed days. At lease I couldn’t complain about my seating, I was the tip of a piece of pie and no one was in front of me.

    • Reply October 01, 12:06 Bill Lancaster

      The part you wrote about the booths is interesting to me. I have read in the past at Louisville there were so many non-artist vendors that the exhibition area looked liked a flea market. Just about everything under the sun could be found. I contacted the NQC about getting a vendor booth, and received an email that stated:


      We do not have enough space to even accommodate all of the artists that are participating in our showcases, so we are not able to accommodate non-music vendors at all.


      NQC Staff

      So to hear that non-music vendors had booth spaces is a bit disappointing.

      • Reply October 01, 13:00 admin Author

        I’m not sure where you got your information, but I did not notice any non-music vendors at NQC this year. There were just a few, and I mean very few, non-artist booths, but every booth I saw was directly related to Southern Gospel music. Maybe I missed one somewhere.

        • Reply October 01, 13:03 admin Author

          I take that back. I did see one booth for Compassion International that was not a music related booth.

        • Reply October 02, 01:27 Bill Lancaster

          What info are you referring to? The non music vendor info is from the comment above by Robert York:


          From the email I received from the NQC is sounded like the booths would only be for performing artists. Robert said that a promotion company and a used record dealer had booth space. They are both music related, but the impression I had was that only booths would be made available to performing artists and no one else. To me the wording of the email from the NQC is that without enough space for all the artists that were performing, no other types of booths would be at the NQC.

          • October 02, 08:38 admin Author

            Fair enough. I would have taken the email you received from NQC to say they weren’t going to offer any booths to non-music vendors. A main stage artist would get priority and a music related booth would perhaps get secondary priority, but they weren’t even considering non-music booths, in other words…but I can also see how you might take it as you did, too, since they specifically mentioned performing artists as their reason for not selling you a booth.

            I took Robert’s comment to be more just his opinion that booths should have been restricted to main stage artists. In the case of the promotion company with four spaces, I think Robert is mistaken on that (unless he’s thinking of one different than the one I remember). The only four-space booth I saw was where the Rick Webb Family combined their two booth spaces with two assigned to Song Garden. Song Garden is a record label representing multiple music artists, not a promotion company.

      • Reply October 02, 09:16 Robert York

        There was a company selling old records/cd and stuff that had THREE booth spaces. I know this was music related but I think Artist should have been given preference. Song Garden was the 4 space booth. I know it was manned and main stage artist used the booth I think there was also some non-main stage artist using the booth. I have no problem but in MY OPINION I think booth space should have been limited to ARTIST.

  4. Reply September 30, 11:38 #4 W.Lee Waters

    I didn’t go because as already has been expressed ie: traffic, parking and all the rest. I have visited Pigeon Forge in the past and I don’t ever see the traffic ever getting better. I would rather go to Memphis or Nashville. There are other things to do and the roads are bigger and can handle the extra traffic I really didn’t have a problem with Louisville except for the ride.. I will not go to Pigeon Forge to the NQC because of all that I have seen and heard.

  5. Reply September 30, 12:48 #5 DRL

    In the vernacular of software development, that flat floor is a feature, not a bug! This was one of the main reasons why NQC wanted to go to that venue. 80% of attendees said they didn’t want to climb stairs. Don’t expect a “fix” for that anytime soon.

    • Reply September 30, 13:20 admin Author

      Yes, the squeaky wheel is the one that got the grease when it comes that that particular “feature” at NQC.

      I can’t complain. I got a pretty good seat on Monday four rows back in one of the angled sections, a better seat on Tuesday about seven rows back in one of the main side sections, and a GREAT seat on Wednesday on the second row of a side section.

      Flat floor works fine for 30-40 rows or so, but I do think riser sections in the back would be the best compromise.

      (I don’t mean bleacher-type seating when I say “risers.” I mean temporary sections of risers with steps wide enough to handle ordinary chairs.)

  6. Reply September 30, 13:15 #6 Brad

    I was at NQC for Monday and Tuesday nights this year. This was my 5th NQC in the last 8 or 9 years. This was by far my least enjoyable experience, so I have not decided if I will return next year or not. There is no way every issue I had with this years NQC can be fixed except a move to a location that is actually large enough for this event.

    My favorite part of NQC is (was) the exhibit hall. I come home every year with at least 50 CDs. That means I spend at least $500 on product every year. Naturally, I purchase CDs from the top groups that are releasing new CDs that week, but most of my purchases are from lesser known groups that I can not find their product except directly from them. I love walking down each aisle of the exhibit hall, spotting an artist that I heard on a featured artist showcase (or on the radio, internet, previous NQC, etc) and purchasing their latest CD. That did not happen very often this year because most of those artists did not have a booth due to limited space.

    Speaking of showcases, I did not enjoy the two venue set up this year. Not only was the convention center where the showcases were held 2 miles away from the LaConte Center, but it was much smaller than the previous venue. Parking was a problem here as well, and once inside the seating area was small, the stage area was tiny, and the foyer for the groups to set up their product was also very small.

    The flat floor made it very difficult to see. My seats were toward the back, so my two options were stare at the back of the person’s head in front of me or watch the screens. In Louisville, my wife and I actually preferred to sit in the upper bowl and look down on the stage. I felt like I could see the entire event this way. Even if the group members were looking in the opposite direction I felt like I could still see what was going on. With the flat floor, if the group members moved to the far side of the stage there was nothing you could do but watch the screens. If all I am going to do is watch the screens, then I might as well save money and just watch the webcast.

    Even worse than the flat floor, was the amount of chairs crammed in together. I felt like I was on top of the people sitting on each side of me. It was so uncomfortable, that I spent much of the evening in the foyer (can’t really call it an exhibit hall), food court, or at the back of the room (no I wasn’t one of the ones talking loudly) just so I would not be crammed into such a small space.

    As bad as the parking situation was, it is actually fifth on my list of problems with this years NQC. On Monday night traffic was backed up going toward the LaConte Center, so my wife and I (along with a lot of other people) parked in a parking lot up the road. We timed our walk back that evening as 19 minutes, so I was approximately one mile. However, we are young and healthy, so the walk was not that bad. On Tuesday evening we decided to take the trolley from our hotel and this worked out great going to the concert. However, when the event was over there were thousands of people lined up for buses, trollies, etc and we could not navigate our way through and determine which line we should be in for the trolley back to our hotel. We decided to just walk all the way back to our hotel which was about 1 and 1/2 miles away.


    1. More exhibit space!

    I’m not sure how this can be done without expanding the building, but if the lesser known groups cannot have booth space then why should they even come to NQC. And if it is only going to be an event featuring the top tier groups then there is nothing to set NQC apart from other multi day events than feature the top groups (ie Memphis Quartet Show, Singing in the Sun, etc).

    2. A better location for featured artist showcases.

    The only way I know to do this is have the showcases in the one concert area at the LaConte Center. This would probably mean having them start early in the morning. Another idea would be to expand on David’s suggestion of letting the concert go longer into the evening by having a featured artist showcase after the main concert. Perhaps the top tier groups could sing from 6-10pm and then have a featured artist showcase from 10 until midnight. I don’t know how many people would stay late for this, but I know I would.

    3. Raised seating in the back of each section.

    I don’t know for sure that this would help, but it would certainly be worth a try. It would be even better if the seats in this section were not so close together.

    4. A better way to direct people leaving to make sure they are in the correct line.

    Perhaps multiple people in the foyer area and outside could direct people to exit a certain door to lineup for the trolley, another door for tour buses, another door for parking lot shuttles, etc.

    Finally let me say that I still love southern gospel music, and I want NQC to be successful. I hope all of the problems can be worked out, and I will be able to attend many, many more regardless of what city is hosting this great event!

  7. Reply September 30, 13:36 #7 Aaron Swain

    One thing I never understood each night was the people that would line up in front of the doors to the concert hall before they were open, and thereby completely bottleneck the traffic in the hall and back everyone up. This would take a while to clear up even after the doors were opened.

    Did those people not realize that the seating was not a free-for-all? Your ticket had an assigned seat on it, and no matter what time you went in, you would get that seat. No need to complicate an already interesting “exhibit hall” traffic situation by blocking the hall for those trying to get through.

    • Reply September 30, 14:59 admin Author

      Good point. You’d think they’d never heard of reserved seating before.

  8. Reply September 30, 17:10 #8 Brad Strider

    David, I was only there a couple of days and I noticed how hot it was in the building. I walked by a thermostat on the wall near one of the entrances (you would think they would hide those better)….and it was set at 73.5 degrees. That’s the reason it was too hot in there. It probably should have been set to 68-69 with all those people in the building.

    • Reply September 30, 23:17 admin Author

      Agreed, but it sure felt like the actual temps in there were higher than 73…especially in the lobby & exhibit areas. If the system wasn’t keeping up when it was set at 73, it wouldn’t keep up regardless of where it was set.

      Inside the main concert hall, it felt cooler to me than in the lobby & exhibit area.

      (Of course, I realize a mass of people moving around under a 15-foot ceiling generates more heat for an A/C system to combat than a mass of people sitting still under a 30-foot roof where the heat has somewhere to go.)

  9. Reply September 30, 21:52 #9 Ronnie W. Brunner

    Flat floor seating will never be ideal for a convention the size of NQC. But, some engineer friends of mine made some logical suggestions. All seats should be in a circle facing the center of the stage, and each row of chairs should be off-set one chair width (so you are looking between two heads instead of directly behind them)! I am sure that artist booths in the hallway creates a violation of local and or state fire codes (blocks hallway)!! Loading and unloading trollies must be done in a larger area, plus more trollies are needed before, and at the end of the evening events! Food courts should be in one area and the prices this year could be labeled as the fleecing of the Christians!! Prices in Pigeon Forge were at least 50% higher than Louisville in 2013!! We have already purchased tickets for 2015 and arranged for our choice of hotel! Perhaps the board would do better if they rode the trollies (and waited 1hour for one), sat in our seat and stared at the back of someone’s head for 4 hrs., or try to walk through the hallways with 40 to50 people crowded around one artist booth! We are confident that some of these things will get better! If they don’t we will just spend more time at Apple Valley, Old Mill, or the many shopping malls!!

    • Reply September 30, 22:20 admin Author

      I spent a grand total of $6 at the Leconte Center over the course of three days. That was for two Gatorades.

      Each day, we went to a restaurant around 4 PM and got a good meal before heading over to NQC. After each evening concert, we stopped at a convenience store where we could buy Mayfield ice cream two pints for $3! That’s the same stuff people were lining up to pay $6 for at the Leconte Center, and I doubt they were getting a full pint in those waffle cones.

  10. Reply October 01, 04:48 #10 Dan Plemmons

    I’ve never been to NQC, and after reading these comments, I’m very glad we didn’t go. I would have been miserable with the temps, and the flat floor seating.

    Why did we keep hearing people say, “There’s not a bad seat in the LeConte Center?”

  11. Reply October 01, 09:02 #11 Ron Pickrell

    I would like to see The Greenes sing.

  12. Reply October 01, 09:11 #12 admin Author

    Here’s the suggestion I would make for 2015. Suck in your gut and make the best of it in Pigeon Forge, because that’s where it’s happening.

    Then, in 2016, move to Duluth, Georgia just northeast of Atlanta. Pigeon Forge maxed out its potential in the first year. There’s no room for the event to grow there.

    Take a look at this comparison…

    Duluth, Georgia would give NQC some options they’re never going to have in Pigeon Forge.
    1. Major interstate access going right by the venue
    2. Better parking options
    3. Ample room for NQC to do everything on one campus. It’s not as big as Louisville…far from it…but it would give people breathing room compared to Pigeon Forge.
    4. Room to grow by 1500 seats sold each night.
    5. Better sight lines to the stage.
    6. No wall huggers!

    Now, I realize the showcases in Pigeon Forge might be closer next year if they complete renovations on a hotel nearby. That would certainly help, but there’s still the issue of the parking and the tiny exhibit hall at Leconte.

  13. Reply October 01, 10:38 #13 Joy

    1. My view (with middle of venue seat) was the back of someone’s head or a tv screen. Main complaint!!!!!!
    2. Parking was terrible
    3. More shuttles needed
    4. Too hot at evening concerts.
    5. Seats were too narrow to be comfortable.

    I know that sounds like a lot, but otherwise I had a good time.

  14. Reply October 01, 15:17 #14 Robert York

    David don’t know if you’ve ever been in the Duluth arena or not. I would love it there it’s close to home. As I see it having been there, you’ve got steps which NQC was trying to avoid. Hotels and Places to eat are limited in the area. You would always have to drive your vehicle to the venue as there is no public transportation. They offer no parking lot shuttle. Bill Gaither used the venue for several concerts and he moved to another venue. YES, personally I would love to move to the area, I’m just pointing out a couple of things about the venue.

    • Reply October 01, 17:06 admin Author

      I have not been to the Duluth venue. Would you say in terms of the steps in the arena that it is better or worse than Louisville? The images I saw appeared to have handrails on every section of steps, so that part at least should be better, I’d think. If there were handrails, I think the overall complaints would be less. You’re right that a lot of people thought they wanted the flat seating, but when they got it in Pigeon Forge, I think a lot more people hated it…plus they hated the chatting that the layout encouraged by design.

      A lack of hotels in the area would be a big problem, though. People don’t necessarily expect to walk, but they like to be able to get to the venue in 5-10 minutes. Of course, that wasn’t always possible in Pigeon Forge either, despite the hotels being close, because there were stoplights plus heavy traffic at times vs. interstate access.

  15. Reply October 01, 15:31 #15 Chad

    I made a suggestion to the NQC on FB one year, and they deleted the suggestion with no response. I’ve always thought that it would be nice to have the convention in Nashville.

    • Reply October 01, 18:08 Robert York

      Chad, I believe the NQC board of directors and the city of Pigeon Forge is more willing this year to look at all the problems and suggestions that folks have trying to make it better in 2015 in hopes of keeping it sold out each night.

    • Reply October 01, 22:51 yankeegospelgirl

      They deleted your comment? Why in the world would they do that? If they didn’t like the suggestion, they could simply not take it!

      • Reply October 08, 13:52 chad

        Your guess is as good as mine yankee.

    • Reply October 02, 12:31 Chris Unthank

      Nashville is NOT the place for NQC.

      • Reply October 02, 12:40 admin Author


      • Reply October 02, 22:25 Aaron Swain

        Joining David in wondering why. Didn’t they just build a new convention center there?

        • Reply October 03, 14:19 Chris Unthank

          When I get back to work on Monday, I’ll be happy to answer in more detail!

      • Reply October 06, 17:32 Chris Unthank

        There are multiple reasons why Nashville wouldn’t work – and most of them have to do with the complaints people had about this year’s convention. I’ll do a list:

        1. Parking. There is NO parking that is free or that has enough parking to accommodate 10K+ visitors for a week-long event. Where there is parking is a very long walk from either the new Nashville Convention Center or Bridgestone Arena.

        2. Traffic – Nashville has been getting notoriously bad for traffic over the last couple of years. In just the 2 years I’ve worked in downtown Nashville (I live in a suburb 25 miles away), my drive time has gone from 45 minutes to an hour and a half (and it just keeps getting longer). Three major interstates culminate in the heart of Nashville (which is where the two options to hold the event are). Getting anywhere in downtown Nashville from 4 pm to 6 pm is beyond a headache. It can be a nightmare at times just to get out of downtown.

        3. Restaurants – Nashville is quickly becoming known as a foodie town, so there’s plus and minuses to that. The eateries located in and around the 2 major venues aren’t really the kind of places the typical SG fan is going to be attracted to (think either bars, dives, or hipster coffee houses). People will have to drive to Franklin, Hendersonville, Mt Juliet, Smyrna, etc (10-20 miles outside of downtown) to find the kind of typical chains they are used to.

        4. Terrain – This may sound silly, but downtown Nashville is actually quite hilly and can be pretty steep in some places (the walk from the Ryman to the Renaissance Hotel is a doozy to say the least). Knowing the kind of patrons that the NQC has, it does not seem like the kind of area they’re going to want to be walking around in (remember they will have to do plenty of walking, because parking is very limited around the convention centers and restaurants aren’t extremely accessible).

        5. Sound/Seating – If they opt to have the NQC at the Nashville Convention Center, you’re going to run in to the exact same problems that you had in Pigeon Forge. All-level seating and stinky sound. You’re trying to put a Gospel music convention in a convention center that isn’t designed to have concerts. It’s designed to have conventions.

        • Reply October 06, 18:35 admin Author

          I realize they charge for parking, but shoot, we were paying something like $8 every time we entered the place at Louisville.

          Maybe they could do it across the river at LP Field. LOL

          Seriously, I think those long walks would be a good reason not to consider ANY downtown type of venue. I remember going to Gospel Music Week there in Nashville during the mid-1990s. The first year I went, we parked at our hotel right next to the LifeWay store and walked to the events at the old convention center and the Ryman all week. That was a pretty good hike of several blocks, and I was 20 years younger back then. The second year, we stayed in the same hotel where the event was being held and parked in the parking garage right across the street. That was much nicer!

          To your point on the venue, Bridgestone is way too big, and flat seating has proven to be a major turn-off in Pigeon Forge even though they thought they were giving the people exactly what they wanted.

  16. Reply October 01, 15:32 #16 Debbie Grissom

    I’m trying to remember the complaints that came from Louisville.. There were so many. Pigeon Forge was beautiful. I know others had traffic issues. We did not have any problem, but we did leave early each evening.. I would like to see 1.Designated smoking areas.. I have cancer and I found that everywhere outside the building was a smoking area..2. Designated seats for Media.(on a side note from the Media, All media events were at the same time on the same 2 days. We picked 2 out of 6 or 7 events. Their loss.) 3. Booth space to accommodate everyone who wants to be involved. I missed a lot of groups and friends that have been regulars for decades. 4. Bridges across the river so we can walk from the hotels that back up to the center. If the city is as quick to address what needs be for 2015 as they were on the traffic issue next year should be awesome..
    We will be there next year Lord willing

  17. Reply October 03, 11:07 #17 Jim Burt

    I am writing this morning about our recent stay at the Wilderness in the Smokies. We had purchased the vacation package Thursday thru Saturday to the NQC for many years and have always been very happy, the Galt House was very nice and shuttles excellent. Unfortunately, this year was not the case. When we arrived for our check in at the hotel, I inquired about the complimentary breakfast as to where it would be served. The hotel did not know anything about a “complimentary” breakfast. Having this discovery, we went to the Le Conte Center to talk with NQC staff. This was not successful either. After visiting 3 different NQC staff booths I was informed that no one had any information. They suggested I call the 800 phone number on the brochure which I did. I was referred to yet another 800 number which a recorded message was asking that I leave a return phone number to be contacted later. I never received a return call, at this point I gave up trying. Needless to say this was very frustrating to start our vacation. After all of this, we decided to eat at the closest Cracker Barrel. I have my receipts for this extra expense and would request a reimbursement.
    This was not the end of our exciting weekend. This hotel should not be used again by the NQC. This was by far the worst managed hotel I have ever stayed at. Our party had two rooms across the hall from each other. To list a few of the issues: Beds were not made when we returned late at night, wake up calls did not happen, rooms were poorly cleaned if at all during the day, one our rooms had the door keys deactivated on Friday (when returning to your room at midnight and having this happen is ridiculous it took an hour to straighten this out. Finally got to bed at 1 am).
    The shuttles from the hotel to the center need to run more frequently. If you missed the shuttle at the end of the concert, you had a very long wait for the next one. Fortunately, the weather was nice this year. Had we encountered rainy or cold temperatures, this would have been miserable. The trolleys that were running were insufficient and not frequent enough, there were also idle trolleys not being in service.
    Inside the Le Conte center the chairs were placed side by side locked together. Most seniors are not small people. We had people trying take 1.5 chairs which is not comfortable for us smaller adults. I know you are trying get as many people in the room as possible and still be in compliance with the fire marshal, but please consider this for next year. Food vendors only accepted cash, no credit cards…..While this may have speeded up the buying process this should be looked at as well. Not everyone carries large sums of cash these days. The audio in the evening concerts needs improvement as well. There many times we could not understand the words as it seemed we were hearing the stage monitors and not the house system, mic’s not on at all, feedback, etc. On Thursday evening the sound was so loud it actually hurt our ears. I am on the tech team for my church and understand audio and video issues that can occur. I know you are adding more video monitors for next year which will help. We left every night with a stiff neck due to looking up at a sharp angle.

    The rest rooms facilities were definitely better than Louisville.

    • Reply October 03, 20:42 Robert York

      Jim, Winderness in the Smokies was NOT on the list of hotels the NQC used for reservations. It is in Sevierville and not in Pigeon Forge. They only used motel/hotels in the Pigeon Forge City. Pigeon Forge trolleys don’t go that far out of the city to pick up folks. Seems like the problems you experienced with your hotel was not NQC’s fault. I agree with you about the seating section. Don’t know if you ever went to Louisville but those seats (except the floor seats) had arms on each seat, no padding and they were smaller than the padded seats at the LeConte Center. I know I tried to get my fat —– in the seats in Louisville and I had to squeeze into them. I also agree about the sound there could have been some improvement with it and I’m sure next year they will make quite a few adjustments. I didn’t think I would be returning next year, but changed my mind and purchased tickets and made motel reservations at a close motel that has a trolley stop in front of the motel.

      • Reply October 30, 17:05 Ann

        The seats in Louisville did not have armrests upstairs or down, nor on the floor. Neither up or down were comfortable at all but were wide enough. The sound on the webcast is just terrific – both in PF and Louisville. You could see that the performers were sweating early in their performances this year – on webcast. I like being able to see performers faces on webcast and almost NO audience noise. Steps aren’t bad for elderly – IF there are railings which Louisville did not have upstairs, they were so dangerous, saw many elderly almost fall! I’m surprised that is allowed, given all the government regulations now.

  18. Reply October 03, 11:57 #18 NEIL ISCH

    It was our first NQC and we enjoyed it very much. I was told that the handicap folks witch I am part of, was much better than in past years. I couldn’t find things to gripe about. we were able to walk to the hall every night, and even had a lady come up and offer to push my wheel chair to give my wife a little break and people were so friendly to us in anyway they could. we loved it and plan to return next year for a longer time. this year was 3 nights, next 5 nights. can’t wait.
    Neil Isch

  19. Reply October 03, 22:57 #19 Bill Bailey

    I remember thinking the same exact thing about Duluth, GA and it’s facilities. Our youth attended Jentezen Franklin’s “Forward” conference for a couple of years. The layout of all the facilities would meet the needs of NQC. However, there are few hotels closely, but plenty within a five mile radius.

  20. Reply October 03, 23:24 #20 Jim Burt

    Wilderness in the Smokies was added by NQC for the vacation packages….

  21. Reply October 11, 16:49 #21 Robert York

    Know this subject is kinda old, but I had the opportunity to speak with Clark Beasley early this week. They are looking at all the BIG C’s that have come in about the Convention. Both COMPLAINTS and COMPLIMENTS. I believe you will see the Board taking a lot of the suggestions that have been made about Pigeon Forge Convention into consideration. I also believe that NQC is in Pigeon Forge for several years to come. City of Pigeon Forge sees the financial impact that the convention has made. Only ones that are disappointed were the servers in the restaurants. THEY SAY THAT WE ARE CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP. A lot of folks wouldn’t even leave a tip on the table and a lot only left a very small tip. Those servers don’t even receive minimum wage. Their minimum wage is $2.10 an hour plus the tips they receive.

  22. Reply October 18, 09:59 #22 Michael Shane Sego

    My family and I attended the NQC for the 10 years the event took place in Louisville as it was driving distance. We usually came to 2 or three nights during the week. After this year in Pigeon Forge, I will think hard before returning again. I love the NQC. I love the Smoky Mountains! We visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon 2-3 times a year. My third trip is planned in December as I write. I will say that town is awesome!!!… but best visited when there is not a crowd. I avoid all of the convention times. The traffic, restaurants, and hotel prices are ridiculous. You can rent a cabin or Hotel in November for almost half the price during some event. I dare not try to leave that town on a any Sunday, much less during a huge event. Bad location choice as I expected. Nerve racking. I am truly sad this may be my last NQC. I enjoy many southern gospel events, even other at Dollywood, and the convention center in Gatlinburg. This was too crazy, too crowed, too hot, too far to walk, way crazy at the end of night, food too expensive, seating terrible, my wife would not sit on the floor in Louisville because she could not see. I’m very saddened by the move.

    I come from a family tradition of singers My parents sang, my parents and siblings sing, my wife and children sing in groups. We looked so forward to seeing all the groups we followed for years and years. I actually have ” albums”, yes, albums of many of the established family groups. Thanks for 10 great years. We will see how the journey travels for the future NQC.

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