Conscious Party: Conscious Brews

HEADY TUNES: Asheville reggae band Chalwa is one of the groups that will play the fourth annual Conscious Brews event March 4 at Highland Brewing Co. Funds from a silent auction and $1 from each pint sold that afternoon benefit the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina. Photo by Elsa Berndt

WHAT: An afternoon of music and beer to benefit the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina

WHEN: Sunday, March 4, 1-6 p.m.

WHERE: Highland Brewing Co., 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite 200

WHY: In 2002, Karen Keating was working in an Asheville cardiologist office when she got a phone call informing her that her youngest son had been involved in a car accident and had sustained a traumatic brain injury.

“It was a whole new world,” Keating says. “He was in a coma for 10 days. When he woke up, left side [was] paralyzed and the physicians couldn’t tell me if and when he woke up what his cognitive function would be.”

Keating’s son went through therapy, was able to graduate with his high school class and is doing well as a self-sufficient adult, but once he returned to society, it was unclear how to proceed. In need of guidance, Keating sought out the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina, attended an open board meeting and was asked to become a board member. At that time, the support advocacy resource organization for individuals with brain injury and their families had offices in Charlotte, Raleigh and Greenville, but nothing west of Charlotte. Keating told BIANC officials that if they established an office in Asheville, she’d quit her job and open it — and when they did, she followed through on her promise.

Now the community development coordinator for BIANC, Keating and her friend Dennis Berndt of Hinds’ Feet Farm, a local day program for individuals with brain injury, created Conscious Brews four years ago to raise funds for BIANC and awareness of its efforts. The 2018 edition takes place Sunday, March 4, at Highland Brewing Co., and kicks off Brain Injury Awareness Month.

At the free event, local bands donate their time throughout the afternoon. There’s also a silent auction for a variety of local goods and services, and Highland will donate $1 from each pint sold during the event to BIANC, as well as collect tips over the course of the month. Berndt’s reggae band Chalwa, rockers Velvet Truckstop and guest musicians will take to the stage. Also on board are Southern rockers The Log Noggins, one of whose members has a special connection with BIANC.

“[The band] had been named something else, but they were kayaking down the French Broad and a tree fell and hit him in the head,” Keating says. “They had to pull him out [and] get him to the hospital. He sustained an injury and he has been able to come back from that and is doing great, and they decided to change their name to kind of play on words with what they’re doing.”

Conscious Brews takes place Sunday, March 4, 1-6 p.m. at Highland Brewing Co.

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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