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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

February 15 - Fairmont, MN
March 15 - Chippewa Falls, WI
April 5 - Middleton, WI


From Warren

Wide Awake Citizen!

How’s your winter going?  We’re in the “deep freeze” up here on Lake Superior, good for dreaming and songwriting so I’m working up a new show. This summer I will debut a brand new show Take Me To The Islands an original musical celebration of the Apostle Islands. It will be another multimedia extravaganza featuring an all-star band singing and celebrating the story of the Apostle Islands. This is a people’s history of those who immigrated here, a portrait of daily life, work and play, from the Ojibwa’s arrival to present day, a song of why we all love it here. It will debut Saturday, June 28 at Big Top Chautauqua and play again later in the summer.

I will also be performing Riding The Wind, my show of the Bayfield area, and a special night, a concert with my “friends.” The baseball musical Play Ball! will play in Middleton, WI at the Performing Arts Center April 5. Hope to see you there. Check the schedule here for other upcoming gigs.

My son Rowan Nelson-Ferris is finishing up his first CD, all originals. Look for him and listen in at soundcloud. You will soon be able to buy his CD on this website.

On a very sad note, our great friend Marlena Kay Putnam died suddenly two weeks ago. She was a great fan of my songs and the queen of volunteers at Big Top Chautauqua for 22 years. Life is short, as John Hartford said, “Get it while you can!” I also lost one of my oldest friends Dave Mortensen who I grew up with and from early on shared a love of folk music.  Mort was a true friend of my songs.

Keep in touch,

Feb. 6 2014


Warren Nelson Speaking © Sophia Hantzes