In recent news, the NQC has announced their main stage schedule here. This has sparked some pretty heated discussion, as the Board cut down the number of artists on each night, and in doing so, eliminated some artists from the main stage altogether. By far, the elimination causing the most controversy has been the Dixie Melody Boys. Complicating matters is the fact that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Dixie Melody Boys, and the group had hoped to stage a “mini-reunion” with their set.
A few of the other omissions are notable to me as well: Soul’d Out, Liberty Quartet and the Ball Brothers. I really feel like the Ball Brothers represent the future of SG music, so it’s a shame that they won’t be appearing this year, Liberty is the best quartet the average SG fan has never heard, and Soul’d Out is the reigning Horizon Group of the Year. The 50th Anniversary of the DMB is the most unfortunate situation though, and I hope that the NQC Board will find some way to get them a slot to allow them to celebrate such a milestone.
That being said, look, the NQC Board is also really in a no-win situation here. Every year we hear complaints about how attendance is dwindling, and how the evening concerts continually run into the wee hours and are way over the scheduled time. The “stop light” and fines have helped some, but the concerts still seem to run long. Credit the NQC for trying to address the situation. The only real way to do so is to cut back the number of artists on the main stage each night. In doing so, someone is by necessity going to have to be left out, and the artists and fans be upset by their omission. If it’s the DMB, their fans would be upset, if it’s the Pfeifers, their fans would be upset, or the Primitives, or whoever it is.
My suggestion somewhat dovetails with Kyle’s above, but I’d suggest setting aside 2-3 slots that are reserved for a single slot for the “second-tier” artists, and let them rotate years. Maybe one year you have the DMB, Primitives, and Chuck Wagon Gang, then the next year you have Liberty, Ball Brothers, and HisSong. You could even merge the two suggestions and allow the groups without a prime time slot to have the “opening” slots that year.
Either way, the NQC Board is at least trying something, and there’s something to be said for that. I’d rather see them trying new ideas than to be content to turn a blind eye and let the status-quo continue.