Band focused on helping others
March 10, 2015

by  Nicholas Pescod

Nanaimo News Bulletin

Ever since it formed back in the late ’80s, reggae-blues-rock band Big Sugar has always stuck to what it does best.

Whatever it wants.

“We still just do whatever we want creatively,” frontman Gordie Johnson said.

On Wednesday (March 11), Big Sugar will be performing at the Port Theatre. Its stop in the Harbour City is one of the last stops on a lengthy tour that began in Parry Sound, Ont.

“We always enjoy Nanaimo,” Johnson said. “Any time our shows are on the Island is a highlight for us.”

Big Sugar’s set at the Port Theatre will be an acoustic only and will include multiple songs from its record, Yard Style, which was released last year.

Johnson said that creating Yard Style was very natural process that has been extremely rewarding.

“There were no real challenges. These are all people who have played together for decades but never all at the same time.”

Before heading out on tour in January, Big Sugar teamed up with World Vision Canada and came up with a unique way to sponsor an entire village in Ethiopia. The idea was that while on tour, they would encourage their fans to sponsor a child, with the hopes that enough people would sign up to sponsor the entire village.

“Halfway through the tour we already got one entire village of kids in school,” he said. “Our fans sponsored an entire village and so now we get to choose another village, which is just amazing.”

Big Sugar has picked another village in Ethiopia and has already received plenty of sign-ups.

“Every night we are getting a dozen kids sponsored at our merch table by our fans,” Johnson said. “We would rather they did that than just buy our shirts and our records. We don’t want you to just buy our stuff, but sponsor these kids and put them in school.”

Big Sugar performs at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.50 and are available at the Port Theatre box office or online at www.porttheatre.com.