100 episodes

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.

Tent Show Radio Tent Show Radio

    • Music
    • 4.7 • 21 Ratings

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.

    Good Morning Bedlam and Gareth Pearson

    Good Morning Bedlam and Gareth Pearson

    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 innovative force in the Midwest folk scene. Their shows are known for their contagious energy, with members careening about the stage. With tight soaring three-part harmonies, and thumping kick-drum, they captivate their audience night after night. Every song is a unique twist on what is generally dubbed as folk music. In 2019, the folk-rock band from Minneapolis, MN claimed the first-place title at the John Hartford Memorial Festival Band Competition and were finalists at the NWSS Band Competition. Their shows are known for their wild energy and stunning harmonies. They have played at festivals alongside artists such as Shakey Graves, Sam Bush, Jason Isbell, The Infamous Stringdusters, Trampled By Turtles and others. In 2021, the band ran a successful Kickstarter in July of 2021 for their much anticipated third full-length record ‘Lulu’ where fans from around the world pledged a total of $34,000. Good Morning Bedlam has been featured on Bluegrass Today, Relix Magazine, Glide Magazine, and Paste Magazine. Now in 2023 the band is gearing up to release a brand-new EP titled Dear Day, Dear Darling in the Fall of this year.


    Referred to as "The Welsh Tornado," Gareth Pearson has emerged as one of the most exciting acoustic musicians of his generation. His distinctive style can be heard through his creative and innovative arrangements which cover a wide spectrum of genres including country/folk/classical/pop/rock/jazz/swing and bluegrass music, along with his own beautiful and often intricate original compositions, which serve in showcasing an enthusiasm and musical intuition well beyond his years. Influenced by guitar greats like Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Tommy Emmanuel and Merle Travis, Gareth Pearson strays from the traditional style of the seated and motionless acoustic performances. An extremely entertaining and inspiring performer, Pearson exhibits immense love for the music he performs while he combines fingerstyle pyrotechnics, with explosive lead runs as his exuberant style denotes a mastery of the instrument very few possess.
     
     
    EPISODE CREDITS
    Michael Perry - Host
    Phillip Anich - Announcer
    Matt Jugeinhemer - Engineer
    Gina Nagro - Marketing Support
     
    FOLLOW BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA
    https://www.facebook.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.instagram.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.tiktok.com/@bigtopchautauqua
    https://twitter.com/BigBlueTent


    FOLLOW HOST MICHAEL PERRY
    https://sneezingcow.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/sneezingcow
    https://www.instagram.com/sneezingcow/
    https://twitter.com/sneezingcow/


    2024 TENT SHOW RADIO SPONSORS
    Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.visitashland.com/   
    Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau - https://www.bayfield.org/ 
    Bayfield County Tourism - https://www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/150/Tourism 
    The Bayfield Inn - https://bayfieldinn.com/ 
    Cable Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.cable4fun.com/ 
    Kylmala Truss - https://www.kylmalatruss.com/


    SPECIAL THANKS
    Wisconsin Public Radio - https://www.wpr.org/ 

    • 59 min
    Tommy Emmanuel

    Tommy Emmanuel

    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 30, he was burning on electric guitar with several rock bands in stadiums across Europe. He could have gone on to live the rock star life. Yet, he yearned for something purer and closer to his heart. Casting off the reliable rock band engine of monstrous sonics blasting, Tommy went acoustic.

    The inspiration for Tommy’s transformation was his hero, Chet Atkins, who represented the purity of one man, one guitar, and unlimited passion for serving the song. Eventually Tommy met his hero and started a lifelong friendship which shaped Tommy’s music forever. Chet welcomed Tommy into guitarist knighthood by bestowing upon him the coveted title of CGP (Certified Guitar Player), an honor awarded only to four other humans ever.

    The real-time exuberance Tommy Emmanuel brings to every note of every song he plays is palpable and infectious. His fans are in love with his unbound talent as a guitarist of multitudes, his ability to play three parts at once, always with pure heart and real soul. He is a true virtuoso. But he seems as delighted always with the magic of the music as the audience, if not more, and his joy illuminates everything. It’s one thing to play these multi-dimensional arrangements flawlessly on an acoustic guitar. But to do it with that smile of the ages, that evidence of authentic, unbridled delight, is an irresistibly infectious invitation to feel his music as deeply as he does.
     
     
    EPISODE CREDITS
    Michael Perry - Host
    Phillip Anich - Announcer
    Matt Jugeinhemer - Engineer
    Gina Nagro - Marketing Support
     
    FOLLOW BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA
    https://www.facebook.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.instagram.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.tiktok.com/@bigtopchautauqua
    https://twitter.com/BigBlueTent


    FOLLOW HOST MICHAEL PERRY
    https://sneezingcow.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/sneezingcow
    https://www.instagram.com/sneezingcow/
    https://twitter.com/sneezingcow/


    2024 TENT SHOW RADIO SPONSORS
    Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.visitashland.com/   
    Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau - https://www.bayfield.org/ 
    Bayfield County Tourism - https://www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/150/Tourism 
    The Bayfield Inn - https://bayfieldinn.com/ 
    Cable Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.cable4fun.com/ 
    Kylmala Truss - https://www.kylmalatruss.com/


    SPECIAL THANKS
    Wisconsin Public Radio - https://www.wpr.org/ 

    • 59 min
    Pride Anthems

    Pride Anthems

    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 is linked to this music, which evokes the struggles, heartache and liberation of queer lives then and now.

    Pride Anthems creates a vibrant musical experience that celebrates, inspires and commemorates the legacy and power of the Stonewall Riots, and takes you on a musical and cultural journey through the past 50 years to today. Starring, Natalie Joy Johnson, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, and Jon-Michael Reese, with Musical Director, Brian J. Nash - Pride Anthems is a show for all ages to come together in song and celebration of how far the LGBTQ+ community has come since Stonewall!

    Pride Anthems was produced in partnership with Pride Live, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to accelerating awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community via social advocacy and community engagement to advance the fight for full equality. Their mission is to elevate awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Through their work, they strive to have a positive impact and encourage engagement from as many members of the community and allies as possible to continue the fight for full equality.
     
     
    EPISODE CREDITS
    Michael Perry - Host
    Phillip Anich - Announcer
    Matt Jugeinhemer - Engineer
    Gina Nagro - Marketing Support
     
    FOLLOW BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA
    https://www.facebook.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.instagram.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.tiktok.com/@bigtopchautauqua
    https://twitter.com/BigBlueTent


    FOLLOW HOST MICHAEL PERRY
    https://sneezingcow.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/sneezingcow
    https://www.instagram.com/sneezingcow/
    https://twitter.com/sneezingcow/


    2024 TENT SHOW RADIO SPONSORS
    Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.visitashland.com/   
    Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau - https://www.bayfield.org/ 
    Bayfield County Tourism - https://www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/150/Tourism 
    The Bayfield Inn - https://bayfieldinn.com/ 
    Cable Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.cable4fun.com/ 
    Kylmala Truss - https://www.kylmalatruss.com/


    SPECIAL THANKS
    Wisconsin Public Radio - https://www.wpr.org/ 

    • 59 min
    Riding The Wind

    Riding The Wind

    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 highlight.

    Ride the winds of time as you experience "illuminated musical history" of Bayfield and the Island Environs, with secrets of Red Cliff and Old LaPointe. Original music, evocative story-telling, and spectacular visuals lead you through a journey with lighthouse keepers, the Ojibwe, dreamers and schemers, voyageurs, fishermen, and more. Warren Nelson's original songs from this show have become classics. Come see it with friends for the first time or as so many have done, see and hear it again and again and again. Riding the Wind never loses its magic.
     
     
     
    EPISODE CREDITS
    Michael Perry - Host
    Phillip Anich - Announcer
    Matt Jugeinhemer - Engineer
    Gina Nagro - Marketing Support
     
    FOLLOW BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA
    https://www.facebook.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.instagram.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.tiktok.com/@bigtopchautauqua
    https://twitter.com/BigBlueTent


    FOLLOW HOST MICHAEL PERRY
    https://sneezingcow.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/sneezingcow
    https://www.instagram.com/sneezingcow/
    https://twitter.com/sneezingcow/


    2024 TENT SHOW RADIO SPONSORS
    Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.visitashland.com/   
    Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau - https://www.bayfield.org/ 
    Bayfield County Tourism - https://www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/150/Tourism 
    The Bayfield Inn - https://bayfieldinn.com/ 
    Cable Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.cable4fun.com/ 
    Kylmala Truss - https://www.kylmalatruss.com/


    SPECIAL THANKS
    Wisconsin Public Radio - https://www.wpr.org/ 

    • 59 min
    Gaelic Storm

    Gaelic Storm

    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. Founded in 1996, the band’s first major career breakthrough arrived before they had even recorded their first album. Appearing as the "steerage band" entertaining passengers with “An Irish Party in Third Class” in James Cameron's massive 1997 blockbuster Titanic, Gaelic Storm were widely embraced by audiences when they released their self-titled debut album a year later.

    Led by founding members Patrick Murphy and Steve Twigger, the acclaimed multi-national Celtic juggernaut grows stronger with each live performance, and as you can imagine, after two decades and over 2000 shows (13 of which have been on the Big Top stage), it is a true force to be reckoned with. With their energetic mix of Irish and Scottish traditional fare, drinking songs, and playful original material they have developed a fanatic and well-diversified fan base. Country Music fans adore their storytelling, Bluegrass fans love the instrumentals, Celtic fans love their devotion to tradition, and rock fans simply relish the passion they have for their instruments.

    Throughout their multi-decade career, Gaelic Storm has amassed more than 250 million streams, racked up numerous Top 10 spots on the Billboard World Charts, and released 13 studio albums including How Are We Getting Home?, Bring Yer Wellies, and What’s The Rumpus. With their most recent release Go Climb A Tree, their music has never sounded more representative of themselves as musicians and as live performers. In addition to Murphy and Twigger, the band features percussionist Ryan Lacey, piper Peter Purvis, and fiddle player Natalya Kay.
     
     
    EPISODE CREDITS
    Michael Perry - Host
    Phillip Anich - Announcer
    Jaime Hansen - Engineer
    Gina Nagro - Marketing Support
     
    FOLLOW BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA
    https://www.facebook.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.instagram.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.tiktok.com/@bigtopchautauqua
    https://twitter.com/BigBlueTent


    FOLLOW HOST MICHAEL PERRY
    https://sneezingcow.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/sneezingcow
    https://www.instagram.com/sneezingcow/
    https://twitter.com/sneezingcow/


    2024 TENT SHOW RADIO SPONSORS
    Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.visitashland.com/   
    Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau - https://www.bayfield.org/ 
    Bayfield County Tourism - https://www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/150/Tourism 
    The Bayfield Inn - https://bayfieldinn.com/ 
    Cable Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.cable4fun.com/ 
    Kylmala Truss - https://www.kylmalatruss.com/


    SPECIAL THANKS
    Wisconsin Public Radio - https://www.wpr.org/ 

    • 9 min
    John Prine

    John Prine

    On this episode of Tent Show Radio, we pay tribute to the late John Prine with highlights of some of his best performances under the Big Top.

    One of the most celebrated singer/songwriters of his generation, John Prine was a master storyteller whose work was often witty and always heartfelt, frequently offering a sly but sincere reflection of his Midwestern roots, writing about the lives of ordinary people in a remarkable and perceptive way. While Prine's songs were most often rooted in folk and country flavors, he was no stranger to rock & roll, R&B, and rockabilly, and could readily adapt his rough but expressive voice to his musical surroundings.

    Prine's self-titled debut album, released in 1971, was widely regarded as an instant classic and featured some his best-known songs, including "Sam Stone," "Hello in There," "Paradise," and "Illegal Smile," while 1972's Diamonds in the Rough was considered nearly as strong. 1978's Bruised Orange was a low-key return to the tone of his debut, and 1979's Pink Cadillac was a tribute to his love of rockabilly and first-generation rock & roll.

    In the 1980s, Prine broke away from the major labels to form his own label, Oh Boy Records, and working at his own pace and following his own inclinations, he produced a handful of fine and idiosyncratic albums, including 1991's The Missing Years, the 1999 duets collection In Spite of Ourselves, and 2018's graceful finale The Tree of Forgiveness. The Tree of Forgiveness was a critical and commercial success, rising to number five on the Top 200 albums chart, peaking at number two on the Country Albums chart, and going all the way to number one on the Folk albums chart. The Tree of Forgiveness would prove to be Prine's last hurrah; he died on April 7, 2020, from complications of the COVID-19 virus at 73 years old.




    EPISODE CREDITS
    Michael Perry - Host
    Phillip Anich - Announcer
    Jaime Hansen - Engineer
    Gina Nagro - Marketing Support


    FOLLOW BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA
    https://www.facebook.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.instagram.com/bigtopchautauqua/
    https://www.tiktok.com/@bigtopchautauqua
    https://twitter.com/BigBlueTent


    FOLLOW HOST MICHAEL PERRY
    https://sneezingcow.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/sneezingcow
    https://www.instagram.com/sneezingcow/
    https://twitter.com/sneezingcow/


    2024 TENT SHOW RADIO SPONSORS
    Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.visitashland.com/   
    Bayfield Chamber and Visitor Bureau - https://www.bayfield.org/ 
    Bayfield County Tourism - https://www.bayfieldcounty.wi.gov/150/Tourism 
    The Bayfield Inn - https://bayfieldinn.com/ 
    Cable Area Chamber of Commerce - https://www.cable4fun.com/ 
    Kylmala Truss - https://www.kylmalatruss.com/


    SPECIAL THANKS
    Wisconsin Public Radio - https://www.wpr.org/ 

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

SuperiorRanger ,

Love this!

Having lived ten years on the south shore of Lake Superior, I’ve learned to enjoy Big Top. Now that I’ve moved I’m so grateful to learn of this as a podcast. Now I can enjoy a little bit of Chequamegon Bay even down here in southern WI. Such a great collection of musicians, actors, singers, and characters!

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