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Welcome to the online home of Warren Nelson - Songwriter, Musician, Entertainer, Poet, Historian, Radio Host and a Tent-show "Man of the Cloth" with a career in show business lasting over 40 years.

A Fairmont, Minnesota native, Warren is the founder of Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua and has led a team of talented musicians, actors, researchers and technicians in the creation of numerous large-scale, historical musicals since the 1970's.  He has had many honors bestowed upon him in his prolific career.

Here are some highlights:

1998 - Commissioned by the State of Wisconsin to write a musical for the state's sesquicentennial.

1999 - Voted "Best Folk Musician" by readers of Wisconsin Trails Magazine.

2005 - Awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree by the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and invited to give their spring commencement address.

2005 - Honored as an official Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Sciences and Letters.

2006 - Honored with the first ever Wisconsin History Award from WI Historical Society for superb storytelling and unforgettable music to make history come alive for the thousands of people who have attended its (Big Top Chautauqua’s) performances.

2007 - Named "Minnesotan of the Year" for his outstanding contribution to the arts in Minnesota by the Minnesota Territorial Pioneers.

2008 - Given the Wisconsin Governor’s Award In Support of the Arts in partnership with Big Top Chautauqua.




Performance Schedule

Play Ball's Chautauqua Debut Was A Grand Slam!

Now Booking Tour Dates: info@warrennelson.com

"Warren Nelson is at the top of his game. Play Ball Is fabulous and well worth traveling to see!" - Dayle Quigley

For full information regarding upcoming performances, be sure to visit the Media page for times and contact information. If you would like to be informed of my future appearances and plans, please send your email address to: info@warrennelson.com


From Warren

November 2014

Wide Awake Citizens!

It was a big time summer for me performing six dates at my old tent show Big Top Chautauqua.  The flagship show Riding The Wind played twice.  I performed a concert evening with my famous friends and at the top were the debut performances of my new original show Take Me To The Islands.  The Islands show was a year in the making.  The new songs sailed in singing of the Apostles and the incredible history of the people who lived, worked and loved the island life.  I’m hoping for a cd of the live performances of both Take Me To The Islands and my concert.

Other highlights were the performance of Play Ball! to a delightfully appreciative audience in Middleton, WI  in April, and  putting together and performing a Pete Seeger tribute show for the great American songster.

My main musical partners are Otis McLennon the harmonica king (formerly of Otis and the Alligators),  and Rowan Nelson-Ferris, the incredible banjo and guitar man son of mine.  We’re looking to get out and about so if you know of a theatre near you let them and me know.  We can do a trio .. or even a duo .. or any combination with other extraordinary vocalists and instrumentalists who perform with me (for instance, Jack Gunderson, Mary Lou Williams, Andy Dee, Randy Sabien, Severin Behnen, Ed Willett, Cheryl Leah, Jan Lee and more.)  If anyone has an event to be celebrated, we’re the primo celebrators!

I am in the dreaming time of writing a new show honoring the voices of those who honor the earth, air and waters.  It will be a song prayer for the preservation of the dwindling wild places  for the critters, fish, birds and people that need room to run, swim, fly and dream.

Take care of yourself and write me a letter in longhand.



Warren Nelson Speaking © Sophia Hantzes