Conscious party: Local musicians come together for Imagine Lennon benefit concert

CREATIVE MINDS: “There are a lot of people with mental illnesses that are just amazing creative souls,” says local musician Ian Reardon. He’s organizing a multi-artist concert to help Aurora Studio & Gallery offer more art classes to individuals affected by mental health issues, addiction or homelessness. Fittingly, the event falls during Mental Illness Awareness Week, and it’s days before what would be the 76th birthday of John Lennon — the artist whose music will be performed live. An oil painting of Lennon will also be up for auction. Artwork by Aurora participant Robert Ransom

WHAT: A benefit concert for Aurora Studio & Gallery, featuring music written by John Lennon (solo works and songs by The Beatles)

WHERE: Highland Brewing Co.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 7, from 6-10 p.m.

WHY: “I feel like every one of us has some kind of mental health issue in a certain sense — or is affected by it,” says local guitarist and singer Ian Reardon. “But it’s not always the first topic people go to for benefits.”

Reardon and his friends did their part to correct that imbalance last year. They staged a benefit concert for Auruora Studio & Gallery, which, through funding from Arts2People and other donors, offers arts instruction and supplies to those affected by mental health issues, addiction or homelessness.

That event celebrated the artistic output of Syd Barrett — the former Pink Floyd frontman whose untamed creativity came alongside mental instability — while this year’s follow up draws on John Lennon’s work. The legendary artist overcame drug abuse, among other life challenges.

Imagine Lennon, as the upcoming fundraiser is called, will feature sets by The Dirty Badgers, Cindi Lou & The Want To, Reardon’s band Alarm Clock Conspiracy, and about 20 local guest musicians like Bill Kopp, Andrew Scotchie, Dorsey Parker, Laura Blackley, John McKinney, Forrest Smith and R. Scott Murray. There’ll be lots of movement as the contributors hop on and off the stage, covering highlights from Lennon’s plentiful catalogue, including politically charged tunes to acknowledge election season.

Following Alarm Clock Conspiracy’s electric and acoustic sets, local act Carpal Tullar will join in. “They’re going to help us end the show with a huge band, which is going to have three keyboard players, two guitars, bass, drums, pedal steel, upright bass — a bunch of stuff. So, it’s going to be a really cool night.”

Local businesses have donated dozens of prizes for a silent auction, from musical gear and movie passes to gift certificates for food, outdoor equipment and yoga classes. Artwork by Aurora participants will also be up for grabs.

Admission to Imagine Lennon is by donation ($10 suggested). Visit for more information.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

4 thoughts on “Conscious party: Local musicians come together for Imagine Lennon benefit concert

  1. boatrocker

    For having read both “The Lives of John Lennon ” (Albert Goldman 1988) and “Life”, (Keith Richards/James Fox 2010),
    I won’t be attending an echo chamber for him and his late in life $2,000 a day habit and wimpy NYC songwriting style as a solo artist.

    Waah, if you don’t like my choice of ear candy, Baby Boomers.

      • boatrocker

        I hope Highland Brewery Co’s ASCAP, BMI and SEASAC dues are paid up.
        The music industry thugs have been sniffing around WNC recently and targeting smaller venues.
        Beatles and Lennon songs would present such an easy target, eh?

        A question for anyone with ears- how did John Lennon and Bob Marley become brand names for ‘social justice’ over the decades
        and Peter Tosh, The Clash and Gil Scott Herron get left in the ditch?

        My only answer is smarmy songwriting trumps message every time, but hey, I could be losing my hearing.

        • Kat

          Where did you hear about the PROs? I’m very curious. I hadn’t heard that.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.