Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield

#6 of 39 in Things to do in Bayfield
Theater · Concert / Show
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, plays, 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.

We are nestled at the base of Mt. Ashwabay Ski Hill, 3 miles south of Bayfield, Wisconsin, overlooking Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Our summer schedule includes performances by renowned national, regional and touring musicians and runs from mid June to early September. On balmy summer nights the tent sidewalls can be lifted and people may sit outside and even up on the hillside. The sound is superb and on clear nights you can see the Milky Way and sometimes even the Northern Lights!
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Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
171 reviews
  • We went to Bayfield for a long weekend with the intent to see a show under the Big Tent. It was great fun and the venue could not be better for an intimate experience with the entertainers. Great for....  more »
  • Nestled at the bottom of a ski hill, Big Top Chautauqua offers a distinctly festival-like feel. Surrounded on one side by the hill then open to wooded areas, grassy and sandy parking areas, Big Top...  more »
  • Definitely a unique can't get much more Northern Wisconsin than this.. A huge tent, in the middle of a field, at the bottom of a ski hill...I love it. Seating is a mix of Church pews and theater style fold down woods seats, with a gravel floor! You just have to experience it once, and you will definitely want to return. Smaller venue, so all seats have a relatively good view. Outdoor lawn seating is also a good cheaper seating option. Always amazing talent and a fun crowd.
  • It has to be seen to be appreciated. 900 people. That's it. Everybody so close to stage -- incredible. Do not be confused by what may appear to be acts that are fallen headliners. This is no county fair venue. Many of the performers, I am told, come in specifically to play here. Big Top is known, and admired by musicians and fans alike. No way I can describe it adequately. Go to one show, featuring one artist you like, and you will know exactly what I mean. Brian Setzer, August 2019. Saw him. Awesome.

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