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Upper Mississippi River
National Wildlife and Fish Refuge 1924   —— The First 100 Years ——  2024

Book a Centennial Entertainer for your Event!

  1. Charlie Maguire

    Charlie Maguire (National Park Service 1995-2003) is the first and only “Singing Ranger” expressly chosen to write and sing new songs about the Mississippi River for the U.S. Department of Interior. Already a regular on “A Prairie Home Companion” (1974-2012) Charlie was a Freeman Tilden Regional Award Winner for Interpretive Excellence in over 50 National Parks. His album HEADWATERS is devoted to the river. The songs rediscovered people and places on the Mississippi lost for decades, especially women’s history, a few of which have been expanded into magazine pieces by Charlie for Big River Magazine. Booking now for 2024.

  2. Steven Marking

    Renaissance man, stunning baritone, riverlorian (river historian), photographer and filmmaker whose exceptional talents weave through very unique projects. He currently has two shows themed on the Upper Mississippi River and the Refuge Centennial celebration:

    " A Visit from Will Dilg" (Premier performance: Feb 22-23, 2024 at The Pump House)

    "Our Mighty Mississippi"

  3. Eddie Allen

    Eddie Allen has made his home beside the Mississippi River at Trempealeau, Wisconsin, for nearly fifty years. In that time he has been writing and collecting and performing stories and songs about the people who have lived and worked and played on and along this river from the days of the birch canoe to the age of steam and beyond. Eddie has recorded 3 albums to date. Contact Eddie

  4. Jon Stravers and Big Blue Sky

    Perhaps you've heard Big Blue Sky on a memorable Friday night music cruise aboard the "Maiden Voyage" or elsewhere. Their music is from the heart and dwells on themes of living and working on the River and in the Driftless area. Big Blue Sky started as a father-son duo in the mid-90’s by Jon Stravers Sr and Jon-Jon Stravers. Their musical style includes the influence of folk, bluegrass, blues, and reggae. In their music they seek a closer connection to the planet, and indeed their musical writing comes from the inspiration of wild places and a celebration of our natural heritage and the natural rhythms of life.

    This inclusive musical effort has expanded in recent years to a 4+ piece band and continued after the tragic death of Jon-Jon in September of 2007. Their musical events include regular music cruises on an excursion boat on the Mississippi River, as well as concerts at Coffee Houses, Opera Houses, cultural events, and at various celebrations of river clean-ups in the Midwestern United States. (contact Jon Stravers and Big Blue Sky)

  5. Ben Cosgrove

    The Upper Mississippi NWFR Artist-in-Residence for 2023-24, is a traveling composer & pianist whose music explores themes of landscape, place, and environment. This year, Ben is embarking on a new composing mission inspired by the sights and sounds of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Described by the Boston Globe as “a sonic plein-air painter… [using] his piano as a paintbrush,” Ben has performed in every U.S. state except for Delaware, collaborated with groups ranging from rock bands to research scientists, contributed music to several radio and film projects including the Ken Burns documentary The American Buffalo, and held residencies and fellowships with institutions including NASA, the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, Harvard University, Middlebury College, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology. His music has been called "beautiful and fascinating" (The Maine Edge), "deeply impressive" (Independent Clauses), and "immediately evocative and fully arresting… brim[ming] with technical mastery and emotional capital" (Seven Days), and his latest album, Bearings, was released in fall 2023. For more about Ben and his work, please visit

  6. Mississippi River Songs Project

    Robert Robinson and Timothy Frantzich

    Timothy is your pirate gospel brother, and a songwriter with a voice of gold dust, cedar smoke and the darker edge of paradise.

    In January of 2022, Timothy and Minneapolis gospel great Robert Robinson drove down the Mississippi River writing songs along the way. This was a CROWD FUNDED event! The result is their Mississippi River Songs CD. They'd love to create a concert in your community. (Contact Timothy)

  7. Larry Long

    Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings Artist

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Community Celebration of Place

    FOUNDER: Mississippi River Revival

    Larry Long's a chip off the old block of American hardwoods, a singer-songwriter, spoken-word poet, rouser, seeker,storyteller, and conservationist. Like his artistic forefathers Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie before him, Long's sense of place and time is eloquently captured in his music and in the powerful community building he's done all over the country and abroad.

    Author Studs Terkel called Long "a true American Troubadour." When Pete Seeger was told that Larry is often referred to as the Pete Seeger of Minnesota, Pete replied, "I would be honored to be called the Larry Long of New York." Inspired by Seeger's work to clean up the Hudson River Larry founded the Mississippi River Revival. Long also assembled the first hometown tribute to Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma, which today has evolved into the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival.

    Long has sung at major concerts and festivals including Awesome Africa Festival (South Africa), Winnipeg Folk Festival (Canada), at the Hollywood Bowl with Kris Kristofferson, and at Madison Square Garden with Joan Baez and others for Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration.

    The demand for Long’s work sparked the creation of a non-profit organization, Community Celebration of Place. He is a recipient of the Bush Artists Fellowship, the Pope John XXIII Award, Leadership In Neighborhood Fellowship (St. Paul Companies), Sustainability Award, and In The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award for his work in forgotten communities.


    Are you an entertainer with an Upper Mississippi River theme?   Contact us to get on this list!