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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.

May 24, 2024

On this episode of Tent Show Radio, Midwest folk group Good Morning Bedlam showcases their exciting sound & soaring three-part harmonies, then, acoustic musician Gareth Pearson, known for his distinctive fingerstyle techniques, captivates with his creative and innovative arrangements.

Good Morning Bedlam has become an...

May 24, 2024

On this episode of Tent Show Radio, experience the authentic ebullience of revered guitar master Tommy Emmanuel.

Tommy was born in 1955 in Muswellbrook, New South Wales Australia, and started playing the guitar at age four. In his twenties, he was the most sought-after performer and session musician in Sydney. By age...

May 24, 2024

On this episode of Tent Show Radio, experience a musical and cultural journal through the past 50 years of Pride Anthems.

From Donna Summer and Queen to George Michael, Erasure, Madonna, Lady Gaga and much more, these essential songs take us from disco to the present day. The story of the fight for LGBTQ+ equality...

May 2, 2024

On this episode of Tent Show Radio, experience the show that started it all as Big Top's famed house band the Blue Canvas Orchestra present Riding The Wind.

Created in 1985 by Warren Nelson and Betty Ferris, “Riding The Wind” was the first show performed on the Big Top Stage and 38 years later it remains a season...

May 2, 2024

On this episode of Tent Show Radio, the critically acclaimed, chart-topping, international outfit Gaelic Storm bring their unique, high-energy Celtic sound to the Big Top stage.

It’s hard to imagine Gaelic Storm coming into its own after 20 years of success, but that’s precisely what makes the group a true anomaly....