Thursday, June 5, 2014 —
Combined, the groups have more than 200 years of Southern gospel music experience. The event concludes with all the featured musicians on stage together performing traditional audience favorites.
The spirit of the Singing is not so different than the first held in 1924, when Hartley coordinated a Sunday School picnic on the same grounds.
The festival's popularity exploded in the 1960s and '70s, drawing such names as Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff and Bob Hope. Prevost said it was Smith who was responsible for inviting his "friends" Johnny and June Carter Cash in 1974 to sing for free, as well as helping to bring the Rev. Billy Graham to speak in 1962.
Smith himself served as speaker in 1991.
"Through his connections, Arthur brought in many great speakers and performers to help make the Singing the event it is today," Prevost said.
Today, the Singing 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 is the oldest ongoing old-time gospel convention remaining in the Southern Appalachians.
"The Hartley family still comes, and they still bring their picnic like they did 90 years ago," Prevost said. "Little has changed, except for the size of our audience and the technology we use."
IF YOU ATTEND
Parking (including handicapped) is available at MacRae Meadows, located on U.S. 221 in Linville, two miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 305.
Attendees are encouraged to dress casually and bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics, and concessionaires and merchandise vendors will be on site. A goodwill offering will be collected to support the musicians who volunteer their time to perform.
Camping (no RV hookups) is permitted on the MacRae Meadows field on a first come, first served basis starting the Monday preceding the event. The event is held rain or shine.
The Singing on the Mountain remains free according to the longstanding motto: "Whosoever will may come."
Call (828) 733-2013 or visit grandfather.com/events/90th-annual-singing-on-the-mountain for more information.