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“Magical evening under the big blue tent.”

Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua
Ranked #2 of 34 things to do in Bayfield
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua (sha-ta-qwa) is a year round non profit performing arts organization with a rich history. We operate an intimate 900-seat, all-canvas, state-of-the-art tent theater, producing and presenting a fifty-plus night summer season of concerts, lectures, and a highly acclaimed professional local troupe which performs original multi-media musicals in the tent and on tour. Tent Show Radio, a weekly one hour program which showcases live performances from the Big Top stage, is aired on public radio stations throughout the country.Named "The Best Outdoor Concert Venue" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 2013.We partner with Non-Profit Mt. Ashwabay Outdoor Education Foundation who provide 100% of food and drink concessions.
Level 6 Contributor
213 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Magical evening under the big blue tent.”
Reviewed October 12, 2013

We have been going to Big Top Chautauqua since it opened . This is a gem in Wisconsin. We've heard Arlo Guthrie, John PRine, Willie Nelson, Emmy Lou Harris, Trampled by Turtles, Richie Havens, Greg Brown, John Hiatt, and many other talented artists as well as the Blue Canvas Orchestra and Warren Helson's original group Lost Nation String Band. This is a venue not to be missed!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank northwoodsgal61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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145 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Marquette, MI
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The Big Top Rocks!”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We saw Jonny Lang perform, and... wow! He is an amazing artist. However, part of the credit also goes to Big Top. They created clean sound that shook my chest and gave me chills, but was not overbearing or distorted. I liked the grilled chicken sandwich, too!

Visited September 2013
1 Thank MarquetteMark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
155 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Love the Big Top!”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

We had a beautiful evening while attending the Jonny Lang concert. It is a special treat to go to a concert here, in the beautiful Bayfield area.

Only drawbacks were some obnoxious people in the seats behind us, who talked through the whole concert. Other thing was the sound man didn't seem aware that the reason we came to this particular concert was to hear Jonny Lang and his guitar. The sound on Jonny should have been highlighted, but he was overpowered by the other instruments in his band.

We have also heard that the original house band is no longer employed here (even though we understand certain events occurred that may have an influence) due to the board members refusing to pay what they are worth. They had one of the worst years for attendance because of this. Don't allow corporate greed to take over, or this wonderful venue will fold.

Visited September 2013
Thank MariaMag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BemusedWI, Public Relations Manager at Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, responded to this review, September 9, 2013

That's for the feedback. Generally headliners like Jonny Lang bring their own sound engineers when on tour, but we'll definitely make sure we let him know this year's concerns next time he's here.

Our Blue Canvas Orchestra played 13 shows at the Tent this year. Be sure to catch them on the road in a town near you. They'll be playing to Michael Perry to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tent Show Radio.

Attendance was excellent this year and we can't wait until next when we put up a spankin' new tent.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“So intimate!”
Reviewed September 7, 2013 via mobile

Went to see Johnny Lang last night and it was amazing. This venue provides every single person, whether you've have grounds tix or seats, with an up close and personal show every single night!!! Thank u so much for being available to this community!! It truly is a gem

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Natajo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thunder Bay, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
219 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Any seat under the big top is great!”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

From Lyle Lovett and his large band to the Blues Brothers Review, any seat in the house is great! There is something about the combination of live music and the outdoors that just fits perfectly. Shuttle buses will pick you up in Bayfield, Washburn or Ashland. Take a couple days in the area to explore. Ride the ferry and bike on Madeline Island. Make sure you hike in the State Park. Take your swim suit and jump off the cliffs into Lake Superior!

Visited August 2013
2 Thank ancientmoods
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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