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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.

Jun 29, 2018

About This Episode

Minneapolis favorites Roma di Luna conjure elements of traditional Americana filtered through a modern lens, ethereal uncertainty, and an underlying passion throughout. Reuniting in 2017 after a 6 year hiatus, they paid a visit to the Big Top for a performance to remember.

About Michael Perry


Jun 22, 2018

About This Episode

Terrance Simien is an American zydeco musician, vocalist and songwriter. Simien is an eighth generation Creole from one of the earliest Creole families documented to have settled in the Mallet area of St. Landry Parish.

While in his teens, he taught himself to play accordion and formed his first band...

Jun 15, 2018

About This Episode

What do you get when you grow up in a house right next to the ticket gate of Big Top Chautauqua? Corey Carlson, of course. Weaned on all the legendary performers gracing the Big Top stage from childhood on up, and now a regular play with our own Blue Canvas Orchestra, Carlson is a prolific songwriter...

Jun 8, 2018

About This Episode

Jan Lee and Severin Behnen led the Blue Canvas Orchestra in a new show in 2017 about the queen of all the Great Lakes - Lake Superior. Celebrate the power, majesty, history, and natural wonder of Gitche Gumee through original songs and stories.

Jan Lee is the founder of StageNorth in Washburn and a...