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.


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

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.

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.