Big Top Chautauqua: Bayfield Summer Events

Musician performing during the Big Top Chautauqua event in BayfieldSummer is right around the corner, and the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua returns for another season of music under the stars! Big Top Chautauqua features over 60 concerts, shows, and events every summer just outside of Bayfield. Stay with Old Rittenhouse Inn and hop on the complimentary shuttle from our bed and breakfast to the concerts at Big Top. Plan your getaway around one of our summer shows today!

Big Top Chautauqua Background

Big Top Chautauqua is a nonprofit performing arts organization bringing summer entertainment to Bayfield since 1986! Around 60 concerts are held yearly at the 900-seat canvas tent from June through September. 

The organization’s mission is to provide entertaining and educational activities emphasizing performances that celebrate the history and the environment. This, in turn, significantly impacts our community, resulting in economic growth and bringing everyone together through art!

2023 Concerts and Events

Big Top presents over 60 concerts, educational programs, and events throughout the summer. In the past legendary artists like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, John Prine, and Bonnie Raitt have taken the Big Top stage. This year we are excited to feature an impressive selection of concerts and events for 2023!


From tribute concerts to headliners like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to the music of Woodstock, there is something for everyone this summer!

How to Get to Big Top from Old Rittenhouse

The Big Top Chautauqua Venue Grounds are located at the end of Ski Hill Road at the base of Mt. Ashwabay Ski Hill. Keep in mind that the grounds, merchandise tent, and dining open two hours before each show. Or enjoy free shuttle service by Bay Area Rural Transit from Old Rittenhouse Inn! Approximate pickups from the inn are available from June-August at 6:32 and 6:02 September-October. 

Year-Round Entertainment at The Backstage

The Backstage is an excellent place to get dinner and drinks before the show during the summer months! They feature a unique menu, lite fare, shareable plates, wine, cocktails, and specialty drinks. During the off-season, The Backstage is used as an alternate event venue. They feature open mic nights every Wednesday and regular performances from our acclaimed house band, Blue Canvas Orchestra

Plan a Bayfield Summer Vacation Today!

Plan your Bayfield getaway around one of the fantastic events happening at Big Top Chautauqua in 2023! Old Rittenhouse Inn offers the perfect lodging for your summer getaway, with direct access to the free shuttle to Big Top. In addition to shuttle service, we offer top-rated lodging, delicious dining, unmatched service, and Lake Superior views. Browse our cozy lakefront accommodations and visit us this summer in Bayfield!