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First broadcast in 1994, Tent Show Radio is a weekly one-hour radio program showcasing the best live recordings from acclaimed music acts and entertainers who grace the Big Top Chautauqua stage each summer in beautiful Bayfield, WI. In the program's nearly 30 year history it has featured artists like Johnny Cash, B.B King, Brandi Carlile, Willie Nelson, Don McLean, and many more. Hosted by celebrated New York Times best-selling author Michael Perry-who weaves stories and humor throughout each episode - Tent Show Radio features performances from renowned national & regional artists, with regular appearances featuring Big Top’s own unique brand of shows that feature songs and stories performed by its acclaimed house band, The Blue Canvas Orchestra.


Tent Show Radio is independently produced by Big Top Chautauqua, a non-profit performing arts organization, with a mission to present performances and events that celebrate history and the environment - along with their annual summer concert series - nestled in the woods on the shores of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.

Dec 29, 2019

About This Episode

Tonight the Big Top Chautauqua makes way for two women of power…the big note brassy blues of Joyanne Parker, and the retro-current all-her-own-sounds of Nicole Atkins.


Armed with a guitar and a voice that manages to sound all bluesy and brokenhearted and yet blasts like a locomotive...

Dec 23, 2019

About This Episode

Celebrate the best country and western music from the 30s through the 80s in this third installment of the popular Big Top Opry series led by Severin Behnen and Corey Carlson. The Blue Canvas Orchestra and special guests bring together the music of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Dolly...

Dec 16, 2019

About This Episode

The tent may be all tucked away in hibernation for winter, but the Blue Canvas Orchestra is brimming with the magic of Christmas. Hearken back on old memories with songs the Blue Canvas Orchestra has been performing for years, and hear some new songs too. There’ll be holiday classics, instrumentals,...

Dec 13, 2019

About This Episode

Ray Benson founded western swing band Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia 48 years ago. “We were too country for the rock folks and we were too long-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing."

Today the band holds 10 Grammy awards, 20 studio...

Dec 6, 2019

About This Episode

Shakey Graves's 2018 show at Big Top was so good, we're bringing you the whole thing! This week's Tent Show Radio is the second half of his performance.

Shakey Graves has been categorized as an Americana singer/songwriter, thanks to his traditionally rooted songs, fluent acoustic-guitar picking, and...