LINVILLE —“Whosoever will may come.”
For 92 years, these words have welcomed one and all to Singing on the Mountain, a free gospel music festival set in MacRae Meadows at the base of Grandfather Mountain.
The longstanding tradition returns to Linville, N.C., on Sunday, June 26, featuring a full lineup of gospel music luminaries, including the Primitive Quartet, the Rick Webb Family Michael Combs, the Cockman Family and many more.
This year’s headliner and speaker is Andrew Greer, a multiple Dove Award-nominated singer, songwriter and author, who will also perform with his band during the festival.
The music begins at 8:30 a.m. and will continue throughout the day, with a break around 1 p.m. for Greer’s sermon.
Singing on the Mountain is celebrated not only for its serene natural setting, but its notable performers.
With Andrew Greer, however, that’s something of an understatement. Although he’ll be delivering the day’s sermon, he’ll also bring his unique brand of gospel to the Singing stage.
The native Texan, who now resides in Nashville, Tenn., is described as having a “soulful-folk-gospel” sound that “displays a deep affection for vintage spiritual songs.” That sound has been captured on his hymn recordings, “Angel Band: The Hymn Sessions” and “Angel Band: The Christmas Sessions.”
“Hymns are as true to my human experience as my own catalog of songs,” Greer writes in his bio. “In fact, if it hadn’t been for the impact of those indelible tunes, I may never have fallen in love with music — or been introduced to God.”
Greer has also been introduced to some of the industry’s finest, having performed with the likes of Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, Leeland and Cindy Morgan.
But his ministry doesn’t stop there. With Morgan, he co-created “Hymns for Hunger,” a benefit tour to raise awareness and resources for hunger relief organizations throughout the country, including performances at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse and Amy Grant’s Tennessee Weekend.
To learn more about Andrew Greer, visit www.andrew-greer.com.
Returning this year is the Primitive Quartet, a close-knit group that’s been touring and performing for more than four decades.
According to the group’s bio, “We count it a joy and privilege to spread the gospel through song. Our ultimate goal is … to help lead souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
But the Primitive Quartet’s goals weren’t always so lofty. At first, the idea was to catch some fish. The quartet was formed on fishing trip, when a campfire sing-along yielded some outstanding four-part harmony. “From there, we started singing at our home church and other local churches,” the bio reads.
Now, the quartet travels approximately 50,000 miles a year, performing nearly 150 shows annually.
For more information on the Primitive Quartet, visit www.primitivequartet.com.
Hailed by SOGospel.com as “America’s premiere family vocal group,” the Rick Webb Family brings its chart-topping musical ministry to the Singing stage.
With 15 recordings on three Nashville-based record labels under its collective belt, the family was also named 2010 and 2011 Artist of the Year by some 3,300 radio stations worldwide.
“For 34 years, Rick and Phyllis Webb have ministered through music evangelism to nearly 3 million people worldwide, logging over 2 million miles and witnessing nearly 10,000 people make public decisions for salvation through Jesus Christ during their concerts,” the band’s bio reads.
To learn more about the Rick Webb Family, visit www.rickwebbfamily.com.
Also at the Singing, performer Michael Combs looks forward to sharing his personal message of redemption — through music.
“After squandering many years living in the world and nearly destroying my life with drugs and alcohol, something wonderful happened in my life,” Combs said. “Or, better yet, someone wonderful happened to give me life — his name is Jesus.”
Almost immediately, Combs said, he found himself in a ministry of music.
“I never thought I would be doing what I’ve been doing for the last 25 years, but now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else,” he said.
To learn more about Michael Combs, visit www.michaelcombs.com.
The Singing will also feature performances by bluegrass-gospel stalwarts The Cockman Family (www.cockmanfamily.com) and Amantha Mill (www.amanthamill.com), celebrated recording artist Patricia Smith (abundanceofblessingsmusic.com), and Southern gospel favorites The Parsons (www.theparsonsmusic.com) and Smoky Mountain Reunion with Archie Watkins and Troy Burns (www.archiewatkins.com/Archies_Reunion.html).
About the Singing
The spirit of the Singing is not so different than the first held in 1924, when founder Joe Hartley Sr. 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.
Today, the Singing is recognized by the N.C. 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,” said Harris Prevost, vice president of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “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.”
For more information, call (828) 733-2013, or visit www.grandfather.com/events/92nd-annual-singing-on-the-mountain.