The Singing Echoes, Stronger for It, Barry McDonald and the Bilderbacks will headline the singing tonight and get things rolling for the three-day Blue Springs Valley singing event.
Added facilities — plus improvements to the grounds during the evolution of the annual event at the Bryson Road property — draw gospel music fans from across the country.
Campers are lined up and officials with the annual event have been busy preparing the stage and grounds. According to Gary Epperson of the Singing Echoes, they added 70 campsites with electricity hookups during the years.
The singing is growing each year, according to Epperson. “Four to five groups will perform each evening through Saturday,” Epperson said.
Lela Epperson was born Lela Bryson — the same family which eventually established the county seat known today as Bryson City, N.C. Epperson said his family’s heritage has been traced back to the 1700s.
An old barn once stood on the property.
“The old barn was an important landmark here. We took it apart, it wasn’t an easy job. It looked like it was falling apart, but looks were deceiving.”
Referencing the old barn, Epperson said the ticket booth, a well house and other things have been built from the wood.
From the early days of the singing, when it was first started by patriarch Max Epperson in the ’70s, its evolution has progressed through two high schools auditoriums. It eventually moved outdoors in 1981, to its present location just off Blue Springs Road.
Both Lela and Max have since passed away, but the family continues their Gospel legacy.
Also on the schedule to perform are Wilma Smith, The Cookes, The Chuck Wagon Gang, The Perrys, Tim Frith and the Gospel Echoes, Matt Dibler and Family, The Lee Family, The Diplomats, Dallas Rogers, 2X2, The Primitive Quartet, Archie Watkins and Smoky Mountain Reunion.
“We draw all faiths to the singing,” Epperson said.
Blue Springs Gospel Sing is one of the largest gospel singing conventions in Tennessee. According to Epperson, this is the family tradition that they can share with so many people — the art of singing.
Singing will be held rain or shine, according to Epperson.