In 2021 during the pandemic, I was lucky to be selected as a photographer for a musical event in Northern Wisconsin. The venue small, but powerful, has attracted the likes of John Prine, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt and scores of other wonderful musicians.
With a tent seating limited to a few hundred inside and opportunities to bring your own lawn chair for outside seating beyond the Circus Tent, this venue offers a spectacularly intimate musical experience.
The venue, located at the bottom of a ski hill just outside of Bayfield Wisconsin, is an event/musical photographers dream. At the Big Top Chautauqua, you can get fairly close with the stage as you listen to world class music. This has to be by far the greatest kept musical secret in the United States.
As the photographer I was limited to the request of the performers, some were good with allowing me to shoot the whole time and other put limits to shooting during only the first few songs. At first I really did not understand why, but as I became more comfortable with shooting there, I totally understood and actually enjoyed not having to shoot the entire concert. This gave me an opportunity to relax, review my work and listen to the rest of the venue.
What I learned was that I really loved the concerts and the variety of music offered. It exposed me to various genres that I would otherwise not have exposed myself to. I still love seeing Steve Earl but in the end, I became a great fan of "Them Coulee Boys" - A string band from Eau Claire Wisconsin. I am hopeful that this year I am rewarded with a call back. I am blessed and thank "The Big Top" for the opportunity.