by Madison V. Fisler
June 17, 2014. On Sunday, June 22, Grandfather Mountain will ring with the sounds of gospel music as the 90th annual Singing on the Mountain takes place at MacRae Meadows in Linville. The free gospel festival encompasses a day of praise, fellowship, music and more for all of the guests and all are invited to attend.
This year’s festival, however, is dedicated to the late Arthur Smith who passed away April 3.
From a press release:
Smith and his “Crackerjacks” served as music masters of the event from the 1950s through the early 1980s. He also was a close personal friend of the late Hugh Morton, developer of Grandfather Mountain and supported Morton’s efforts on various civic causes. Perhaps best known for his instrumentals “Guitar Boogie” and “Feudin’ Banjos” Smith also wrote and performed an array on inspirational tunes. This year’s festival will celebrate that lifelong ministry with music from oustanding gospel groups beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the day with a break around 1 p.m. for the sermon. The event is informal and the schedule spontaneous.
Singing on the Mountain was founded in 1924 as a Sunday School Picnic and Family Gathering by Joe Hartley from Linville. The annual event is still one of the largest and longest running events in the South.
This year’s speaker will be Leighton Ford, noted evangelist with Leighton Ford Ministries. Ford was once the vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and is married to Billy Graham’s youngest sister, Jean. Ford also served as the keynote speaker for Singing on the Mountain in 1989 and 1969. This year’s keynote message will pertain to the gospel songs that Smith wrote.
At noon, a special tribute to Smith will be made by his son, Clay Smith and his sons Tim and Roddy along with David Moody.
Artists that will be participating in this highly-anticipated event include Clay Smith, The Moody Brothers, Keith Dudley, George Hamilton IV, The Cockman Family, The Rick Webb Family, The Sneed Family, The Hurleys, The Bread of Life Quartet, Michael Combs, Patricia Smith and Ernie Penley. The event will finish off with all of the featured musicians on stage together for a performance of traditional audience favorites.
“Singing on the Mountain usually draws about 2,000 to 3,000 people, especially on years when the weather is nice,” said Kellen Short of Grandfather Mountain.
Singing on the Mountain is recognized by the North Carolina Arts Council and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area as part of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina and remains the oldest ongoing old-time gospel convention remaining in the Southern Appalachians.
Parking at the event is available at MacRae Meadows located at U.S. 221 in Linville at milepost 305. Camping is allowed on the field on a first come first served basis. Those in attendance are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics to spend the entire day singing on the mountain. Concessions and vendors will be on site and a goodwill offering will be collected to support the musicians who have volunteered their time to perform.
For more information about this event, call 828-733-2013.