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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 9, 2015

Tonight on Tent Show Radio host Michael Perry welcomes bluesy guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  Mike discusses his diastema and why he is worried his daughter’s orthodontist might be spending all his (Mike’s) money on bubble gum.

Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua ( is a non-profit performing arts organization. 2014 marks our 29th season of culture under canvas on the south shore sands of Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin. 

Tent Show Radio is a weekly one-hour variety series showcasing live performances from Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua. It has aired continuously since 1994, is available for free and hosted by best-selling author, humorist and pig farmer, Michael Perry. Tent Show Radio features regional and national acts with regular contributions by the Big Top’s Blue Canvas Orchestra, a vocal and instrumental ensemble consisting of Bruce Bowers, Jack Gunderson, Bruce Burnside, Phillip Anich, Tom Mitchell,  Jane Aleckson and  Andy Dee. with appearances by a variety of other professional musicians from around the region including Warren Nelson, Corey Carlson, MaryLou Williams, Danielle Diamond, Barbar Jean, Tom Draughon and Nori Perine.

Tent Show Radio host Michael Perry is a humorist, singer/songwriter and  Ney York Times best-selling author. His works include Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time, Coop, Truck, the essay collection, Off Main Street and a very recent work, From The Big Top; a collection of Tent Show Radio essays. Perry has written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, Backpacker, Orion and, and is a contributing editor to Men’s Health. His essays have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered and he has performed and produced three live audience recordings (I Got It From the Cows and Never Stand Behind a Sneezing Cow, Live From Big Top). Perry lives in rural Wisconsin, where he remains active as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical responder. He can be found online at