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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.

Apr 10, 2021

The word “legend” usually makes an appearance at some point when discussing Merle Haggard. It’s an acknowledgement of his artistry and his standing as “the poet of the common man.” It’s a tribute to his incredible commercial success and to the lasting mark he has made, not just on country music, but on American music as a whole. He performed under the Big Top in 1999 and again in 2013 to adoring audiences.  This week's Tent Show Radio is a recording of Merle Haggard's 1999 performance.

Available for free and airing continuously for 26 years, Tent Show Radio is hosted by best-selling author Michael Perry, Tent Show Radio is a weekly is a 59-minute weekly radio program assembled from the best live recordings from the acclaimed musical acts that perform at the Big Top Chautauqua Tent each summer located on the south shore of Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin.

Tent Show Radio features regional and national acts like Arlo Guthrie, Michael Franti, Punch Brothers, and Brandi Carlile, with regular contributions by the Big Top’s Blue Canvas Orchestra, a 9-piece vocal and instrumental ensemble consisting of band leaders Ed Willett, Randy Sabien, Jack Gunderson, Phillip Anich, Tom Mitchell, and Andy Dee.

Big Top Chautauqua is a non-profit performing arts organization since 1986, providing entertaining and educational cultural activities with an emphasis on performances that celebrate history and the environment. .