Free show brings big following

Nathan Carter

“The Great Big Sea concert is the single biggest event of the Canada semester,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the institute of international studies.

“We always try to bring in a performing group from the country we’re focusing on and I think this may be the biggest name group we’ve ever been able to bring.”

Great Big Sea has been in the spotlight since 1993 when they released their first, self-titled album.

“Great Big Sea is very popular in Canada but they also have a huge following in the United States,” said Stebbins. “We have been receiving phone calls from Great Big Sea fans in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City, Springfield and even Minnesota because people have noticed on the Great Big Sea Web site that they will be performing in Joplin, Mo. and it’s a free concert.

“All these people have called to make sure they can get in and that tickets aren’t required, so we’re expecting a very, very large crowd. We may even have to open up the balcony in the Taylor Performing Arts Center.”

Great Big Sea is from St. John’s, New Finland, located in Eastern Canada. The band plays a variety of music including sea shanties, folk rock, Celtic pub and Cajun music.

Cajun music, which is usually associated with Louisiana, originates from the Canadian provinces.

“There is a strong French influence in the Maritime provinces,” Stebbins said. “The Cajuns of Louisiana originally came from that part of Canada.”

The Great Big Sea Concert will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5 in Taylor Performing Arts Center.

Admission is free.